As a continuation of my Drascombe manufacturing work and fittings service, for late 2024/early 25 I will be undertaking the repair and refurbishing of damaged and neglected masts and spars.
This Spruce mast illustrated is off a 1971 Lugger, it was brought to me just before Christmas and has now dried out sufficiently to start work on it. It has had a splice repair done which looks sound despite looking strange being much lighter in colour than the mast and there are deep marks and stains which will still show since some are deep and from rusted mild steel screws.
However, I’ll do my very best to save this spar.
Let’s start by getting the old hard crusted varnish off and down to the wood. My preference is to start with a powerful stripper, rather than attacking it with a power sander or other abrasive tools.
The stripper I use is not available to purchase at retail outlets, it’s very corrosive and in the wrong hands dangerous and is only supplied to registered business .So great care is needed.
I wear old boots, an overall and double gloves when using the application brush and scraper. Always use a plastic container for the stripper and old paint brush to apply the stripper and work in small areas. Let the stripper do the work, it will start to bubble as it removes the varnish and do not leave it longer than 10 minutes before using the hand held cabinet scraper to strip off the residue of varnish and stripper.
With the mast cleaned with water and let to dry it’s the time to start the sanding process. I use a high speed air palm sander with 100 grit discs to start and moving up to 180 grit.
Making good progress now, it’s not an easy fix but the grain it starting to change colour and 80% of the damage now sorted
Inevitably for this 50 plus year old mast there will be a little discolouration and colour blemished remaining, but it will be sound and fully spray varnished.
This is after the first spray coat of sprayed thinned varnish, the few colour blemishes are evident.
Following the drying of these primer varnish coats it’s time to use 240 grit paper to prep ready for the final 6 coats applied ’wet on wet’ and turning the mast very regularly to stop the varnish running into streaks. For this process heat if required in a fan assisted drying area to keep the flow of air moving, this stops the dust from the spray settling onto the work surface.
The mast is now completed and cured in the spray booth, so it’s time to fit the new main and foresail halyard cleats to the base of the mast just under the whipped collar that sits against the main mast thwart and the 2 small bullseye at the head of the mast to take the pennant lines.
With this mast brought back to life after years of neglect, it’s time to get it packed and ready for Martin to deliver it to my client David in Cumbria.
So for JLJ followers, if you have a mast that has seen better days, is mainly sound and good but needs to be stripped back and re varnished professionally, then for November 2024 to April 2025 I will be taking bookings now to have masts in for this process.
Booking is essential since I can only tackle one mast at a time along with the mass of other Drascombe Joinery work going on at NP224LA