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Seasoning wood for masts

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  • Garth Battista
    I went out into our woods today with my chainsaw and felled two future masts: one spruce and one larch, each about 5 or 6 at the base tapering to 2 or 3 at
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 21, 2001
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      I went out into our woods today with my chainsaw and felled two
      future masts: one spruce and one larch, each about 5" or 6" at the
      base tapering to 2" or 3" at 20 feet. I intend to season them and use
      them as masts on whatever boats I get around to making (Chebacco, I
      hope, maybe a Sparkler, too).

      Anyone have tips for properly seasoning these things?

      How long should I let them dry?

      Should I strip the bark off and roughly plane the surface, or season
      them in their natural package?

      I've heard you should seal the ends with latex or tar -- true?

      I've got a good airy garage/barn where they can live indoors -- is
      that preferable to outdoors seasoning?

      Any advice at all would be appreciated.

      All best,
      Garth
    • filmokentucky@aol.com
      The old standard was: season for a year with the bark on, then a year with the bark off. I think this varied according to the diameter of the stick. In
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 21, 2001
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        The old standard was: season for a year with the bark on, then a year with
        the bark off. I think this varied according to the diameter of the stick. In
        addition, you need to keep the air circulating all around the wood. The ends
        can be sealed with thick paint or wax. Seasoning it in a barn might speed up
        the process since it wouldn't get wet each time it stormed. I hope this is of
        help. Dan
      • David Ryan
        ... Beuhler offers a recipe for season trees for use as masts (he s a big proponent) in his book Backyard Boat Building Easily paid back its cover price with
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 21, 2001
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          >I went out into our woods today with my chainsaw and felled two
          >future masts: one spruce and one larch, each about 5" or 6" at the
          >base tapering to 2" or 3" at 20 feet. I intend to season them and use
          >them as masts on whatever boats I get around to making (Chebacco, I
          >hope, maybe a Sparkler, too).

          Beuhler offers a recipe for season trees for use as masts (he's a big
          proponent) in his book "Backyard Boat Building"

          Easily paid back its cover price with tips and tricks while I was
          building the LSME.

          -D



          CRUMBLING EMPIRE PRODUCTIONS
          134 W.26th St. 12th Floor
          New York, NY 10001
          (212) 243-1636
        • fraser.howell@ns.sympatico.ca
          My chebacco has a sold mast which was a red spruce. I cut in the winter, barked it right away, roughly shaped it, and stored it in shop loft, where it wouldn t
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 21, 2001
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            My chebacco has a sold mast which was a red spruce. I cut in the winter,
            barked it right away, roughly shaped it, and stored it in shop loft,
            where it wouldn't get out of true. I launched the following summer, in
            July. The mast weighed then about 50 lb. Four years later (now), it
            weighs 40 lb. It is plenty strong, although it is slighly undersize, it
            has held up well. The mast flexes quite alot, about 6 or 8 inches at the
            top before I put in a reef.
            The problem with a tree mast for a gaff rig is that for the scope of the
            hoist the sides should be parallel, or there will be lots of play in the
            jaws as the gaff gets hoisted towards the narrow end of the log. That is
            a lot of wood to take off. There should be no reason not to take it off
            as soon as possible. There will be less wood to season. When roughing
            out the mast leave it a little oversize, about quarter inch, as it will
            shrink. It will probably split, opening up one or two deep gaps of about
            a quarter inch wide. This is not a structural concern. a couple of years
            later, when the mast is drier, you could fill the gaps with PL1 or
            sikaflex.
            I didn't season the ends.
            Cheers
            Fraser Howell
          • Claude Conn
            Fraser is right about roughing to shape before seasoning. I would recommend leaving a little more stock on for sizing and straightening after drying. Also it
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 22, 2001
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              Fraser is right about roughing to shape before seasoning. I would
              recommend leaving a little more stock on for sizing and straightening
              after drying. Also it should be stored so that it is laying supported
              straight and with air circulation on all sides. The ends do not have
              to be sealed if you have enough extra (5-6 inches each end) for
              trimming later.

              This is the pure way to build a mast, but after some experience. I
              prefer a laminated mast now. Good luck.
              Claude, On the languid banks of the beautiful Thunder Bay River, now
              flowing but too shallow for sailing. (sorry Peter)


              --- In bolger@egroups.com, fraser.howell@n... wrote:
              > My chebacco has a sold mast which was a red spruce. I cut in the
              winter,
              > barked it right away, roughly shaped it, and stored it in shop loft,
              > where it wouldn't get out of true. I launched the following summer,
              in
              > July. The mast weighed then about 50 lb. Four years later (now), it
              > weighs 40 lb. It is plenty strong, although it is slighly undersize,
              it
              > has held up well. The mast flexes quite alot, about 6 or 8 inches at
              the
              > top before I put in a reef.
              > The problem with a tree mast for a gaff rig is that for the scope of
              the
              > hoist the sides should be parallel, or there will be lots of play in
              the
              > jaws as the gaff gets hoisted towards the narrow end of the log.
              That is
              > a lot of wood to take off. There should be no reason not to take it
              off
              > as soon as possible. There will be less wood to season. When
              roughing
              > out the mast leave it a little oversize, about quarter inch, as it
              will
              > shrink. It will probably split, opening up one or two deep gaps of
              about
              > a quarter inch wide. This is not a structural concern. a couple of
              years
              > later, when the mast is drier, you could fill the gaps with PL1 or
              > sikaflex.
              > I didn't season the ends.
              > Cheers
              > Fraser Howell
            • R Coy
              ... log home designers and by building a couple of log homes. 1. Airing in a barn is good if it isn t real hot. It keeps to logs drier than being outside and
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 1, 2001
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                --- Garth Battista <garth@...> wrote:
                > I went out into our woods today with my chainsaw and
                > felled two
                > future masts
                > Anyone have tips for properly seasoning these
                > things?
                >
                > How long should I let them dry?
                >
                > Should I strip the bark off and roughly plane the
                > surface, or season
                > them in their natural package?
                >
                > I've heard you should seal the ends with latex or
                > tar -- true?
                >
                > I've got a good airy garage/barn where they can live
                > indoors -- is
                > that preferable to outdoors seasoning?
                >
                > Any advice at all would be appreciated.
                >
                > All best,
                > Garth
                >
                > Garth my advice is based on what I have been told by
                log home designers and by building a couple of log
                homes.
                1. Airing in a barn is good if it isn't real hot. It
                keeps to logs drier than being outside and allows you
                to strip the bark off of the tree.
                2. Tar the ends. This assists in not allowing the
                tree to dry to quickly which will cause it to splinter
                and acquire longitudinal cracks.
                3. 1 to 3 years will be necessary to properly dry the
                logs.
                4. properly support the logs so they do not bend as
                they lie there.
                5. support them out of the dirt if possible as this
                will aid in reducing the possibility of rot and
                staining.
                6. I don't think planing when green is a good idea but
                I don't remember why.
                7. Time is your friend. Let it work slowly to dry
                them out.

                Roger


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