Make my own battens? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-16-2008 Thread Starter
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Make my own battens?

The sails to my new old boat, of which I have two sets, and which I admit are in poor condition are missing the battens (well, I have 2 in one sail set (one of those is broken in half).

Do I need to buy battens specifically or can I make my own?

If I make my own, will any light, stiff material do as long as I insure that the edges are smoothed & rounded? For instance I was thinking light plexiglass verses wood.

Rich
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Rich-

I wouldn't use plexiglass. If the stuff cracks or snaps under the strains of use as a batten, it will quickly shred your sails.

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You can make your own battens. I did. I don't know as you'd want to use plexiglass. Plexiglass will break in Very Bad Ways under stress, with sharp, pointy edges, IIRC. You can buy batten material. (Don't know where.) A friend at our sail club gave me a big, long piece of it for one of our sails. A pencil, a small, portable vice, a hacksaw, a flat file and some rigging tape and Bob's your uncle .

Hint: Better to err on the side of slightly too long than too short. You can always file it down to size. I was told you want the batten mildly difficult to get into the pocket, but not exceedingly so.

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I found this when I googled battens material sail.

Article on battens

I had no idea this was such a complicated subject. I think that battens may be a case where as long as it fits good and is the right size I'll get 90-95% of the benefit. I don't think I'm going to worry too much about taper and whether or not it's soft or hard or whatever. I think a trip to Home Depot and Lowe's is in order.

Anything else? Any particular type of wood that is preferred?

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I just made some from white oak. I sailed with them last weekend and they seem to be fine. I just pretty much made them fit the pockets; roughly yardstick shaped. Sanded smooth, no finish. White oak puts up with some wetting/drying well. I would not use red oak. I would have considered ash as an alternative.

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I have not checked this out personally but was told that sail makers have batten stock, sheets of the stuff in stock.
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On a larger boat, fiberglass battens may make more sense, since the weight and stiffness of hardwood battens, compared to extruded fiberglass ones, may not be as appropriate. Many sailmakers will have batten stock for sale.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
On a larger boat, fiberglass battens may make more sense, since the weight and stiffness of hardwood battens, compared to extruded fiberglass ones, may not be as appropriate. Many sailmakers will have batten stock for sale.
This is his boat:


-Andy
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I see we'll need the extra heavy duty batten stock then. If he had his boat type in his sig... it would make things so much easier.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 20 Old 08-16-2008 Thread Starter
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If I knew what my boat was I'd be happy to put it in the sig. Hmmm How about 16' daysailer since that is a nice generic description. Still don't know who made it or what the model is. :-)

There, let's see if my new signature comes up. I thought it would immediately be applied to all my past posts, but alas, 'twas not so....

16' daysailer
Southern NH
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