To strip my mast bare - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-21-2010 Thread Starter
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To strip my mast bare

Been searching the forums both this and other sites. One guy here said he just stripped his mast and left it bare and it wasn't bothering him. Anyone else have similar experience? I also ran across this on another site:

"We repainted our alum. mast but used a different approach as suggested by a rigger. He suggested we wet sand the mast, wash it off, treat it with alum. prepainting solution and paint it with Krylon clear enamel. He suggested the clear enamel because it is a faster application because none of the fittings need to be masked off. It took us less than a day to complete the job with three coats of paint. Total cost about $40. Jay Tracy "

Any riggers out there share this opinion? I know I should probably paint it, but I know me and paint, and I kind of like the way bare aluminum looks.


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post #2 of 17 Old 04-21-2010
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first you need to un buckle your belt if your wearing one. then either un button or un snap the....

oh sorry stripping the wrong mast


to me bare AL looks fine. i dont think you gain much with trying to seal it with anything but clear anodizing. now anodizing is basicly thick oxidized AL. sand it down and leave it bare, or even better get it soda blasted.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-21-2010
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Aluminum masts are anodized to prevent corrosion. If you remove the anodizing by sanding it will corrode fast. Painting aluminum generally requires a zinc chromate primer to bond to the aluminum. Then you can overcoat it with almost whatever you want. I have not heard of a clear coating that will stick but who knows? That would be a great solution if it lasted.


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post #4 of 17 Old 04-22-2010 Thread Starter
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is zinc chromate primer clear? It would be a clear enamel like rustoleum, which I have heard is a decent alt for expensive two part paint. Think that will stick on the old stick?


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post #5 of 17 Old 04-22-2010
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no gil zinc primer is not clear. its is the standard primer to use on AL before you put on a paint. for clear you only really have 4 choices

1 leave it bare, it will get a thin coat of oxide, but should be okay.
2 clear anodize, would last a long time, but very pricey
3 clear enamel, dont now how long it would last, almost the same as bare may last a little longer
4 clear powder coat, pricey and there are issues with the temps involved
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-22-2010
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We had very good success on a mast a few years back, sanding it down to bare aluminum, washed it down with good old vinegar (really!!), Primed (584?IIRC)and painted with Awlgrip. It has stood the test of time, and it now about 10 years on still looking good. We chose white.

We were advised to spray as thin a coat as would cover, to avoid cracking the paint down the road as the mast moved, bent and vibrated during hoists and tacks.

The two part is expensive, but really you won't need a lot of paint and you could roll and tip it if you use the correct reducers and activators.

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post #7 of 17 Old 04-22-2010
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"is zinc chromate primer clear?"
Usually gray or silver. And aluminum primer is often "light slime green". Aluminum starts to form a protective oxide coat immediately on exposure to air, so before you can pick up a paint brush it is already forming a coat which will prevent most coatings from bonding properly. Aluminum primer is designed to make a chemical bond with the AlOxide and it really is the way to go for reliable long-term results.
Unless you pull the stick and have it anodized at a shop, which will save weight and last at least as long or longer.
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-23-2010
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Something that has not been mentioned is the type of boat you have. If you have a daysailor and have the ability to easily step/unstep the mast - the Krylon method may be more feasible.

If you have a larger boat, in the water, etc. - I'd spend a little more time and do it right.

FWIW - I have 2 masts for my Lightning - one newer for racing and an older one for daysailing that stays up most of the time. I painted it with Krylon (satin black) 2 years ago with minimal prep and it still looks fine.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-07-2010 Thread Starter
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Oh yes, She's a 1978 Orion S&S 35 foot Sloop. Thanks for the answers all. If anyone sees this and has experience with stripping a mast bare and letting it ride, let me know. I am going to finish stripping it, then get her ready for the next step soon.


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post #10 of 17 Old 06-07-2010
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Most riggers are gonna say, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Sounds like your friend may have himself between a DIY and/or a YARD depending on what damage may have been done. Who looked at the mast b4 decision had been made to strip/paint? And why? Unprotected aluminum in salt water is not a good idea.
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