[Public-List] [EXTERNAL] Public-List Digest, Vol 3920, Issue 2

Gordon Laco mainstay at csolve.net
Tue Sep 17 09:36:50 PDT 2019

… and all that discussion of appropriate woods reminds me of another repair in my Folkboat days. 

One time in the midst of a multi-day long regatta, we broke our lovely sitka spruce spinnaker pole.  I jumped into the car as soon as we were ashore to buy wood with which to replace it.    All the local lumber store had was the usual construction materials… but also a 10’ piece of 3”x3” maple.   Maple.  

I bought it and got to work with a power plane and brought it down to the tapered dimensions of the broken pole.  We slapped the old pole ends on it raced with it the next day, and TOUCH WOOD carried that pole for the next fifteen years (I properly sanded and varnished it later…).

Nobody would ever recommend maple for use in boat building, certainly not for a spar,.  Maple has a low rot resistance rating, might have been considered too heavy… I recall people’s eyebrows raising whenever what I made it of was mentioned… but there it is.

Gordon Laco 

> On Sep 17, 2019, at 12:17 PM, Greenhouse, Matthew A. (GSFC-6650) via Public-List <public-list at lists.alberg30.org> wrote:
> Hi Gordon,
> Interesting discussion (although tangential to the advantages of aluminum). Sitka spruce is used extensively for masts. For spreaders, a key property is the compressive strength parallel to the grain. One can find this for a number of woods here: https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr190/chapter_05.pdf  See table 5-3a.
> You are right that white oak is about 30% stronger than Sitka spruce in this regard. This just means that, if one were to make two spreaders of equal strength, one of oak and the other of spruce, then the oak spreader would need less cross-sectional area.
> Cheers,
> Matt
> From: R Kirk <isobar at verizon.net>
> Sent: Monday, September 16, 2019 6:35 PM
> To: public-list at lists.alberg30.org
> Cc: mainstay at csolve.net; Greenhouse, Matthew A. (GSFC-6650) <matt.greenhouse at nasa.gov>
> Subject: Re: [Public-List] [EXTERNAL] Public-List Digest, Vol 3920, Issue 2
> Gord… Wasn't Sitka once used extensively for masts at some time? I'm not sure. But I agree white oak is very rot resistant and great for spreaders. Hearts of Oak and all that. I wonder why Whitby switched to aluminum. Costs? Easier to construct? At any rate, Isobar had its original white oak masts that lasted for years. I was going to make new spreaders when I took the mast down one year but found them in good shape. I just refinished and painted the tops white... Bob
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gordon Laco via Public-List <public-list at lists.alberg30.org<mailto:public-list at lists.alberg30.org>>
> To: Alberg 30 Public List -- open to all <public-list at lists.alberg30.org<mailto:public-list at lists.alberg30.org>>
> Cc: Gordon Laco <mainstay at csolve.net<mailto:mainstay at csolve.net>>; Greenhouse, Matthew A. (GSFC-6650) <matt.greenhouse at nasa.gov<mailto:matt.greenhouse at nasa.gov>>
> Sent: Mon, Sep 16, 2019 5:20 pm
> Subject: Re: [Public-List] [EXTERNAL] Public-List Digest, Vol 3920, Issue 2
> Sitka spruce?  I don’t think any boatbuilders in any period in history used that wood for spreaders.  Too soft, too rot prone; white oak is what Whitby used... earlier, black locust or elm.  Spreaders require very hard wood, very stiff with high durability.
> If a boat had Sitka spruce spreaders, that would be an error by a well meaning but ill informed subsequent owner.
> Sorry for the over-long rather adamant response... rigging classic yachts is my trade.
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