Posted by: Wayne | December 4, 2010

Match sticks

Sorry for the lack of updates over the past two weeks.  Since the last post I have acquired a table saw and power planer and have begun work on the main mast.  I am building this using the “birdsmouth” method.  This involves cutting 8 identical staves, and then cutting a vee notch into one edge using the table saw.  Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of the setup I used to get this (it involved a pair of feather boards and two blind cuts at 45 degrees).  When finished, I ended up with eight sticks that looked kind of like this:

Pieces of eight, squalk!

I erred on the side of caution when setting the blade depth, so most of the staves had a little “nub” of wood at the center of the notch.  This was removed with a chisel:

Trimming the nub out of the notch.

I used a power planer to thin the staves somewhat (from about 21 mm down to 18) and taper them (from about 36mm at the foot to around 29 at the head).  I enlisted the aid of my lovely wife to glue things together.  Even still, four hands were barely enough. Six or eight would have worked better. I glued 6 of the 8 joints, dividing the two halves with plastic.  This will let me separate the halves to seal the inside and fit blocking at the heel and head.  Clamping was accomplished with a half-dozen hose clamps and a mess load of zip ties.  Even so, it was quite “entertaining” getting 8 strips of wood 4400mm long to line up neatly at the same time.  It’s a good thing kids weren’t downstairs at the time. Maria doesn’t want them learning Anglo-Saxon just yet. Needless to say, no pictures.  Here is the mast in its current state:

Mast head.

The other half of the mast is out of the frame to the right.  Yes, it is long.  Yes, it will fit up the stairs.  It will also clear the bricks heading out the door, but by less than 10mm.

Inside the mast, viewed from the heel.

That’s all for now.  I will probably take a bit of a break from boatbuilding and start again after Christmas.


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