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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > cutting down aluminum masts
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-04-2013 11:42 PM
Griffinroydonald
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

The mast I have cut down have had bolt on caps with most held in place with self tapping screws in about 8 places.
08-04-2013 10:06 PM
xort You sure the cut needs to be at 90 degrees?
Might be a reason the old mast has an angle cut with plastic wedges

What does the bottom of the alum mast currently have? Any metal shoe to re-enforce the bottom?
08-02-2013 05:18 PM
liveitwell
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

You folks are quite a wealth of knowlege. Thank you. The masts are set inside stainless steel brackets The ends of the masts are capped but on an angle that had plastic wedges placed under to level it out. My masts curently are three feet shorter as are the spreaders. This makes the cutting perfect. no rigging replacement no Chain aloft to extend the forstay. Im still open to suggestions. I have three feet to play with so I can practice cut it several times. Does anyone know if there is any bad news about not haveing an end cap welded to to bottom end?
07-31-2013 04:51 PM
Tim R.
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

A manilla folder works well as it will easily wrap square around the mast and then it is very easy to run a sharpie against the edge. I used this technique when I cut down the mast on my Pearson.
07-31-2013 04:25 PM
Griffinroydonald
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

I have cut down several and have an easy way. I use wide masking tape and run a level band around the mast. I measure to make sure it is straight. I cut with a jig saw with a fine tooth blade. The rough edge in filed down by hand and cap installed. I mark the holes and drill away. I have had good results with this and it has kept me from replacing a mast.
07-31-2013 12:30 AM
rugosa
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

Measure twice, cut once
07-30-2013 10:09 PM
DonScribner
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

LiveIt,

Throw it on a chop saw with a carbide blade. I am a skylight designer (not rectangles). We use aluminum extrusions of the same alloy as masts. Many of the fabricating steps involve chop saws and clamps. Be sure to block it up, make it parallel with the fence and the table and be sure the saw is squared up as well. Clamp it in place. Take your time cutting through the material and don't sweat it if you're off 1/8". That's what turnbuckles are for. After cutting, clean it up with emery cloth. The burr will be on the bottom of the material. That means the inside on the top and the outside on the bottom. Most of all, don't freak out. We do this ALL THE TIME. Just be careful. Be sure to wear goggles and no gloves.

Don
07-30-2013 11:18 AM
pdqaltair
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

Knutterikt was dead-on. No pipefitter would have though about it for 2 seconds, he would have simply reached for his pipe wrap.

In fitting a new mast there are numerous structural questions, and without sounding condescending, if this required pause I have to believe there are other subtleties involved. What will the new mast rest on (the old block will be wrong)? Do the spreaders need moved or changed in length? Spreader angles? Is the shroud base changed? How do the weights of boats compare? How do you intend to lift and place the mast? Are you replacing the standing rigging--I assume you must be, as the terminals are certainly different. I'm not saying you must use a rigger, but I would certainly talk to someone who understands the engineering and the practicalities. How to cut the mast is the simple part.

And I would consider what adding 3 feet to my rig would do, as an option. You've certainly saved some weight aloft, so I bet she would stand it. But I'm sure you have considered all of this; changing all of the rigging and sails is real money.
07-30-2013 10:56 AM
chucklesR
Re: cutting down aluminum masts

Get a laser marker from any DIY store, set it to the proper angle /level then use it to mark the mast properly with no guessing.
07-30-2013 10:50 AM
imasaluki Once you cut it with a hacksaw, use a metal file to make the end completely even. Use a level to verify levelness in several directions across the end.
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