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Old 11-15-2010
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determining the age of a mast

Howdy folks I was hoping that a may get some advice....I was recently rumaging along the marshy banks of the I.C.W. in northern florida when I ran across what I believe is an old sailboat mast. Its about 23' long and made of cedar its about 6" in diameter at the top and is round except for about the last 6' which becomes square but appears to be broken off at the bottom and is about 16" across the square bottom and appears to be an old piece of wood. I use old pieces of driftwood to build furniture but wanted to find out a little more info on this interesting piece before I hacked it up.If it is a mast Is it possible to date this piece or find out what kind of boat its from? Any advice of knowledge you guys may have would be greatly appericiated
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Old 11-15-2010
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Old 11-16-2010
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There are ways to tell how old the wood is by doing core samples and comparing tree ring growths in known tree populations. It helps to know where the tree grew in order to do this, so you are not in luck. Along the ICW, there's no telling where it's actually from. Something as hefty as you describe may be a mast from something like a large catboat or other workboat. It seems a bit short to have come from a skipjack or bugeye.
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Old 11-17-2010
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I've seen out-riggers on shimp boats about that size... The PO must have gone to a set of steel out-riggers and tossed that wooden one to were it lays.
This Mast (too you) could be a treasure if it is good... No splits? No rotted Knots? No rotting around where the fastenings use to be? No termites or other wood borers? If it "NO" to all of those questions, Yes it is a treasure of a find.
Have a cat boat? or slim it down for other day sailers? A top mast for a schooner? Or a flag pole in your front yard? Multable uses when your imagination is at work.
Have it inspected for any flaws and make good use if it... Wood will last for ages when it is taken good care of...
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