Pre Stitching Spars Standalone Chunks

Spars I

Completing all my spars is another thing I am doing prior to stitching up the hull. Only reason is to not have to work in a cramped area once the hull comes together.

Once all the spars are varnished, I’ll hang them from the ceiling where they are out of the way.

For reference…I’m working from the CLC timber package.

Gluing Up

I’ve already posted about cutting the scarf joints for my mast staves. I found a table saw jig was the way to go. The boom and the yard (gaff) scarfs were already cut by CLC. The bowsprit was delivered as two pieces that needed to be laminated together.

Staggered mast joints : Mine are NOT staggered since the timber package lengths pretty much dictate where my joints will be. I have seen posts about these joints needing to be staggered for strength. If this were a significant requirement I would think the wonderful CLC manual would say so, but it doesn’t. I also contacted CLC and they mince no words in saying that, if glued properly, these joints do not at all need to be staggered. “Glued properly” is the trick and that means mixed with Cel-O-Fil and not ‘severely’ clamped where most of the glue is squeezed out. I also prep my surfaces with a coat of unthickened epoxy to help avoid a ‘starved joint’. Apparently raw wood will soak up glue and so prepping with unthickened epoxy ensures that the thickened epoxy stays in the joint where it needs to be. For what it’s worth I also spread thickened epoxy on BOTH faces to be joined. I have read to do only one face, but I’m guessing that’s to avoid wasting epoxy. I’d rather waste it.

Marking & Cutting

The manual mentions several ways to make these cuts. I’m doing all mine with a circle saw, getting close to my marks and then using a hand plane to finish up. I am very pleased to have gotten some great looking tapers this way. When building Thister’s spars I struggled a bit and don’t think I did a great job. But at that point I had never really used a hand plane and, in retrospect, I realize I wasn’t making good marks either. In other words, didn’t know what I was doing.

Mast Staves : I fretted over these marks for several days. Not sure why, but I just wasn’t getting it. I’d read the manual and look at the plans and still scratch my head at what this thing was supposed to look like. I finally gave up and put a call in to CLC. The person I got wasn’t immediately familiar with the Pocketship mast and needed call me back. Not 30 seconds after he hung up, it clicked. And then it seemed like the most obvious thing the world. I called back, apologized for being dense and went to marking. The trick was, as is usually the case, not to think too hard about it. I have a coffee cup that says, “Hold on while I overthink this.” It doesn’t really help.

I mentioned that I feel I didn’t make good marks while building my first boat. One thing I am doing differently this time is not relying so much on the kit’s templates. First boat, I just clamped the templates on and went to marking. This time I am taking more care to ensure the templates are clamped straight and centered on the blanks. Seems obvious, yes.

Another thing that I think is helping are the long angle iron benches that I built. Not everyone has 20′ pieces of angle iron laying around but I did and…THEY. ARE. GREAT. Continuous clamping surface, straight, flat, long. My saw doesn’t wobble at all during cuts. Very nice.

The Other Pieces : The marks for the other spars were more straightforward for me. I have cut my tapers on the boom and mast staves but not yet for the yard and bowsprit.

All spars glued, mast staves cut.

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