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jarcher 05-08-2011 01:18 PM

Painting an aluminum spar
I am considering buying a new mast that has a lot of peeling white paint. Its aluminum, and i have never painted anything aluminum before, so I'm soliciting opinions. What is the proper way to prep this? What paint should be used?


tommays 05-08-2011 04:05 PM

Come up with a creative way to hold it that wont jack up the nmast or your work

make it naked

DON'T sand to aggressively there is not a whole lot of extra metal

Put on a coat of over priced yellow stuff

Put on some over priced primer in less than 24 hours OR do the yellow again

Try and find some way to get all the stuff back on without dinging the paint which takes 14 days to full cure :eek:

Perfection or Awlgrip is Like Ford and Chevy ;)

Do a bunch of sailing and enjoy it

Than spend a bunch more money because all the other stuff looks shabby compared to the mast

SVPrairieRose 05-08-2011 04:18 PM

A perfect description!

Faster 05-08-2011 04:43 PM

... and there you have it!!

jarcher 05-08-2011 04:46 PM

Thanks Tommays!

A few questions if you don't mind.

When sanding, do I just use sand paper? If so what grit? Can I use a mechanical sander or is that too aggressive?

About the comparison to Ford & Chevy, do you mean they are both equally bad/good, or did you mean one is better than the other?

How do I apply the paint? Spray or brush?

I can actually wait the 14 days. This spar will replace an existing, much heavier spar. So I have a mast in the mean time...

tommays 05-08-2011 05:54 PM

I sprayed it But I have the stuff and know how to drive it and had a room with a explosion proof fume hood

I am roll & tipping the cal 29 hull As it's just To big to spray safely in my driveway :eek: Even with the tent

I went with perfection because of the yellow Vin-wash as the Awlgrip version of it requires putting on some otherstuff and then washing it down with a hose which was out of the question in the indoor place I was painting in

I am using Awlgrip on the Cal 29 hull due It being made in the color we want :D

I striped it really careful and then did a light sanding with my random orbit sander to skuff it up good

The Perfection and Awlgrip are and equal PITA to apply correctly :)

Both the paints are and equal PITA to put on right :)

There is no sanding between the yellow and the primer but the primer has to be wet sanded a bit as will the coats of the paint after they dry 24 hours

It will take two or three coats of color

When you here prices of 100 dollars a foot to paint a mast there NOT over charging as it's a lot of hours to do a good job

Faster 05-08-2011 06:22 PM

While I have no doubt that Tommays did things the 'proper' way we had success painting a mast with Awlgrip on one of our last boats. We sanded to bare metal, did a vinegar wash (read mild acid) and then applied Awlgrip's 584(?) primer and a topcoat. We were advised to coat the mast as thinly as would provide coverage since it was a fairly flexible rig and a thick coat of paint might tend to crack. We sprayed with a borrowed HVLP setup with a pressurepot gun (similar to what bathtub refinishers use)

I saw the boat last year, more than 10 years after the job and the mast still looked pretty good.

Boatsmith 05-08-2011 07:12 PM

We sand the mast , paint it with the yellow Interlux primer then 545 white primer and finish with Awlcraft topcoat. Awlgrip and Awlcraft are much better paint IMO than perfection

jarcher 05-08-2011 08:38 PM

Wow, I didn't realize it would be quite a big project. The mast is currently painted white, I have no idea what kind of paint is on it. There is actually only one section where the paint is peeling, and that is around a splice that was made.

Is it possible to just sand and paint the peeling portion?

Also, thanks for pointing out that a more flexible mast needs thinner coats of paint. This mast is pretty whippy.

mikehoyt 05-09-2011 01:02 PM


That looks like your J24 mast - a Hall spar if I remember correctly. I am repainting the spreaders only on my J/27 this week. Since I happen to have Brightsides, Pre-Kote and 333 thinner already on hand I will be using that.

What method did you use to remove old paint and oxidization? Sanding only? Random Orbital Sander? What grit?

My mast is also Hall Spars so should be same process.

(Roll and tip for me since I don't live in a bomb shelter)


Nut Case
J27 #150

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