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chopsy 02-24-2004 03:58 AM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
Good morning all,

The neighbor''s boat burned to the waterline and in turn scorched my boat pretty good. I had a 10'' teak bowsprit. Now it looks like a has-been from a Boy Scout campfire. Anybody have an idea of where to get a piece of teak, appropriate as a bowsprit, at least 7 inches square and at least 10 feet long?

Thanks in advance,

Paul G.

RichH 02-24-2004 07:11 AM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
Better to rebuild using a laminate of teak and str. grained honduran mahogany or yellow pine, etc. (alternating layers).
Teak although fairly rot proof is a wood that is subject to ''splits'' and ''chunks'' when under stress due to the irregular grain pattern.
A good quality hardwood dealer commonly has 5/4 stock that can be pre-(face) planed to enhance the glue joint adhesion ..... glue together, then just whittle away with a jackplane and draw-knife, then transverse internal ''thoughbolts'' for added strength, plug the holes, etc.!
A 7+x7+X120" straight grained piece of teak will be quite expensive.

Jeff_H 02-24-2004 08:41 AM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
Teak makes a ppretty poor material for a bowsprit because of its weight and unreliable strength. Teak glues up very poorly and so laminating a section out of teak is a less than perfect idea. I believe that the current thinking on laminating teak suggests using resorcinol glues. Resorcinol needs perfectly mated surfaces and a lot of pressure to establish a proper glue line.

There are companies that import balks of Teak. Conglin in Brooklyn used. I would look at a copy of WoodenBoat magazine. While not as rot resistant you can also try to find balks of Angelique and Ipe which have teak like qualities but less than Teak prices. More traditional bowsprit materials are clear fir, hickory, ash, or oak in that order.

Sorry about your loss.

chopsy 02-27-2004 09:43 AM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
Thanks to both for the advice. I have talked to our surveyor and he suggest Douglass Fir laminated at least once. Fir seems much better suited to my limited budget. Thanks for setting me straight.

Another question..... the flames from the burning house boat were really tall, in turn the heat reached to the top of my 56 foot mast. My mast is box section, epoxied sitka spruce in 1-1/2" slabs. I can see hairline cracks all the way up the main mast where the epoxy must have gotten hot and relaxed the joint. Our surveyor tells me this mast is trash now (he has not seen the mast yet)and guestimates a new one at $20,000. Can you guys think of a reason why a fairly handy woodworker could not dismantle this mast and put it back together, saving some 15,000 bucks in the process?

paul G.

dpboatnut 02-27-2004 10:31 AM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
From my woodworking experience, the advice on the bowsprit is probably wrong, and the cracks are likely reapirable.

For the sprit, you''re going to have a tough time getting your 7 inch section to stay together if there''s only one joint. You''d still be dealing with wood in a ''timber'' format, which is going to have some very powerful differential movement. Either go with a single hand selected stick or multiple smaller laminations, on the order of size of a commercial ''glue lam'' beam or smaller.

For the box section mast, it shouldn''t be too tough to kerf the full depth of each joint along its length. If the mast is built with rabbeted side cheeks, the joint at the bottom should keep the mast together, other wise do the kerfing in segments to keep the pieces attached. Wet the kerf with ''neat'' epoxy, and then fill it with fiber-strand reinforced epoxy. For appearance, re-kerf the joint to a very shallow depth and glue in matching-species splines to cover the epoxy kerfs. All this assumes you''ll get the mast on the ground, of course...


geohan 02-27-2004 11:15 AM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
The lengthwise mast-cracks repair suggested by dpboatnut is exactly what I would advise with a minor addition. I would leave 1/32" of wood at the bottom of the kerf to keep the thickened epoxy in place and would limit the length of alternate kerf sections to 2 or 3 feet. Depending on how things looked at the time I might also hedge my bet by applying a bit of clamping pressure to the unkerfed sections just to keep everything in shape. If you have any cross-grain cracks, graving pieces will be required. They are easy to fit with epoxy, holler for details. Good Luck, George

msl 02-27-2004 02:57 PM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
I hope it is not offensive or heresy to ask if you have considered an aluminum spar and a stainless bowsprit to replace your loss (if the other boat''s insurance would cover it)??

chopsy 03-01-2004 06:12 AM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
Thanks for the suggestions, WOW! that is a load off my mind. I think I can do that work. Will the new epoxy (in leftover alternating kerfs) bond well to the just cured epoxy (initial alternating kerfs) in the joint without a problem? What is a reasonable time to wait before doing the leftover remaining kerfs? Also, would a hand-circular saw with very good blade and rip fence make suitable cuts for the kerfs?

As for a stainless bowsprit and aluminum masts .....uh .....uh .... what is aluminum? I don''t think there is ANY on my boat....oh wait, Yes I have an old can of Grain Belt beer that nobody will drink.

pathetic jokes aside, Aluminum would be a sensible solution (sensible...not a word I usually use). I couldn''t even guess the price of a new one one. I suspect it is equal to or more what it would cost me to build a new spruce one, provided I was able to retain all of my old fixtures and could find the wood. Perhaps I could find a reasonable used one? I do truly perfer the wood.

Thanks all for the clever repair advice. I will contact you for more when the project begins.

Paul G

geohan 03-01-2004 02:23 PM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
As for the set up time for the epoxy, read the instructions since there are fast, medium and slow hardeners available and all are somewhat temperature sensitive. When you make the second set of kerfs, run them just into the cured sections to enhance the old-to-new bonding. A skill saw is what I would use to make the kerfs. It''s rip fence may not ride the rounded corner very well and you may need to clamp a board along side to help support and guide the saw. Good Luck, George.

dpboatnut 03-01-2004 02:51 PM

Fire damage to my bowsprit!
Indeed, inexpensive but fresh skil-saw blades are perfect. The ideal surfaces inside the kerfs will be a little rough and maybe even slightly hairy. Avoid good carbide blades, which could leave lots of polished wood surface along the kerf''s sides. And burning is the worst form of polish, so avoid that, too. I''d get a dozen cheapies and change whenever the sawing got noticably stiffer.

Do make your guide/rip fence robust and accurate if you intend to chase the epoxied kerfs with second cuts for splines. For those cuts I would use a decent carbide blade, a little wider than the disposable blades, but still an alternate tooth bevel cross-cut profile for zero splintering. Oh, and mask up (at least) if you''re sanding or sawing the epoxy!

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