Looking at Sam Rabl's old 'Boatbuilding in Your Own Back
Yard' got me thinking that, in the same way plywood is
partly an alternative to scarce, great timber for planking, it
might again do the same for hollow, wooden masts.
Masts with plywood siding were used widely in
designs for homebuilders ca. 1950, I think. Haven't the book
but Edson Shock's 'Small Boat Building' might have them too.
Found in Pop Mechanix type designs. Rabl shows a few.
For his 'Pelican,' a salty looking 24' concrete keeled,
raised deck cruiser, the 28' mainmast has a 5" x 3"
section made up from 1x3's sandwiched inside 1/4" plywood.
It's tapered in front just the top seven feet. There are
five small hardwood blocks along the way. The top 3' is
solid. It is not free standing. 'Picarron's'
mainmast is the same idea, but skinnier, 24' x 2 5/8" by 3".
Today, replace powder and nails with, mostly, epoxy.
Scheme for self aligning, < 20' hollow, freestanding mast:
Materials = 3' stump of 4x4 and several small blocks;
lumberyard1x4's, scarphed to length; half
sheet 1/4" plywood; small plug for top; glue; a few nails; clamps.
1. Make accurate 4" plywood strips. Lay out and cut whatever
for'n'aft taper looks good.
2. Glue an end of each 1 x 4 stave flush onto opposite
sides of the short 4 x 4 plug. When set, they'll be mostly
very wobbly; but very solid at the bottom.
3. Using only about 4 oz. epoxy at a time, leisurely plank
alternating sides from bottom up. Push, clamp, and fix the
timber in line with the plywood edge. Have butts land on blocks.
4. Plug at the top.
6. Probably needs 3 coat of resin.
This strikes me as maybe kind of a mess, but simple and
cheap, The perfect Square Spar for your stylish Square Boat.
- Does anyone have more on this type of mast?
- Which rigs must rotate.
- Had any fun with Bolger's athwart axis mast, said to help
airflow on all points of sail? These'd be even simpler
solid, just something like a 2x6 standing flat the "wrong''
way, or using plywood, rather light for the size of the
- Anyone tried the 'HolloWood' tubes?