S1M Mast material

I was thinking a rebuiling my ugly S1M mast. it has a few “repairs” and I figure the off season would be a perfect time. I can see my Scarf joint flexes, as the paint has cracked and flaked off around the joint. so I was thinking of going one piece.

I was hoping victor sells one peice masts, he does not…so I need a hunk of sitka 3/8" x 1" x 51" min dimensions.

any ideas?

I was in the hobby ship and I picked up some 1/4" birch ply and was going to try a ply mast, cut my strips and laminate. just for S&G’s and see how it turns out…but I think the birch ply, will be heavier than a single piece of sitka…

Thoughts??? Suggestions

Aircraft Spruce and Specialty sells beautiful sitka spruce strips suitable for masts. If you order, look into their “scrap pack” of spruce offcuts – it’s a lifetime supply of beautiful wood for boat modellers.




I agree w/above post and know what you mean when you say 1 piece, but to ensure a straight mast, our TanglewoodMYC members have been laminating narrow strips of spruce. Maybe three pieces to get thickness and one piece along front. Flip grain of center piece. Make sure stock length is a little longer than mast length.

Setup a good and straight fixture and have plenty of clamps with straight blocking.

You will be shocked with the prices, but it is strong for it’s weight. That is why Howard used it in the “Spruce Goose”.

Nice site, and the prices are not that bad. if I took a cap strip and had it cut 60" x 1" x1/2" as a true single peice. its only 8 bucks or so…and the scrap pack for 37 bucks has me intrigued… but then begs the question, will I get lucky and get the pieces I need? or will I end up with “franken mast”

I like the idea of make the “T” to help ensure straightness IE the grains working against each other.

I took my 1/4" birch ply into the wood shop today at work, and did some cuts…

I cut 3 strips 1" wide so essentially i’d overlap two strips to get my 1/2" thickness. so I have a plywood mast 1/2"x1" blank which I could sand to shape. the laminated ends would be fore/aft

the second cuts I did were 4 strips 1" wide. so again I get the 1"x1/2" blank with the lamination running right left.

but the idea of putting one of the strips 90* gave me something to think about as well… but then the questions arrives, since I am trying it with ply, and the wood is already oriented at 90* planes, would I get any benefit from the having the leading edge rotated. Again when using a single peice and not ply, I can see the benefit, but would it be overkill for me using ply?

just thinking out loud.

Mark -
I’ve had good luck with simple and inexpensive straight and close grained pine. Any wood, if not protected will eventually “bend” a bit. Diamonds will help straighten it out from minor bending, any tightgrained wood will resist warping bending. I lay mine down on particle-board base covered with wax paper, drive finish nails along straight edge and place mast between them, then epoxy. Let cure, remove, flip over and epoxy remainig side. Do this as soon as possible after ripping and you should have minimal (if any) bend/warp and at a much lower cost. Even using Sitka I would get it sealed as soon as possible after ripping to size.

If you purchase a single piece, it may or not be as straight as you would like.

It is important to have a straight & sturdy fixture because that determines how straight the final mast will turnout.

It is suggested that initial shaping be done on a table saw after glue-up is complete then some sanding to finish. Trying to sand the full length may lead to non-uniform results in shape and bending.

Regarding your question on weight, take your old mast and new mast to your local Post Office. Most have an accurate scale in the lobby. I have weighed my full up Soling this way (2 oz over) and many parts as I built 2 Footy’s this Spring.

Good luck.

I have a postal scale… so that’s not an issue, I’m just bouncing ideas around I don’t plan on replacing until winter. but I figure toying around with some ideas and chunks-o-wood now won’t hurt. I did make one out of solid bamboo(floor grade) but the mast alone weighed more than the stock mast with main and boom attached…

well I broke down and got the bundle of wood from aircraft spruce.

very nice wood, well packaged. I should be able to make a nice mast…or 20…