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Discussion Starter #1
Getting ready to pull the stick on the Yankee 30 and know I need to replace at least one spreader. I have a nice piece of teak. Any reason I shouldn't use it to fabricate spreaders?
 

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islander bahama 24
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There's really no reason not to make them out of good straight grain teak. However traditionally they would be out of good soft wood like spruce, ceder, or Douglas fir. The most important however is straight tight grained see what the original spreaders are made of and try to duplicate it
 

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You can get aluminum spreaders for the Yankee 30 rig from the original manufacturer. Check the Yankee 30 list, I think the mast was made be LeFiell in CA.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There's really no reason not to make them out of good straight grain teak. However traditionally they would be out of good soft wood like spruce, ceder, or Douglas fir. The most important however is straight tight grained see what the original spreaders are made of and try to duplicate it
Interesting, and counter intuitive to me. Why softer wood? I would think you would want to use a harder, more weather resistant wood.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
You can get aluminum spreaders for the Yankee 30 rig from the original manufacturer. Check the Yankee 30 list, I think the mast was made be LeFiell in CA.
Thanks! Gotta love this site...learn things all the time.

Don't know what the "Yankee list" is, but emailed LeFiell with a inquiry.
LEFIELL MARINE PRODUCTS
If they make them, It will feel freaky to order a factory replacement part for the 40+ year old boat. Certainly a first for me, didn't even consider it!

Are Aluminium spreaders necessarily better than wood? As with most things, I'll bet there are pros and con's. One pro for wood is that I can make them. However, I'd be happy to buy aluminum if the price isn't prohibitive.
 

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islander bahama 24
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Interesting, and counter intuitive to me. Why softer wood? I would think you would want to use a harder, more weather resistant wood.
The soft woods are traditionally used due to lighter weight straight grain and more flexible for spars hard woods won't flex and are actually more likely to break under sailing loads than soft woods.
 

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The soft woods are traditionally used due to lighter weight straight grain and more flexible for spars hard woods won't flex and are actually more likely to break under sailing loads than soft woods.
Yup, I think as teak ages, it would tend to split and crack under the stress of the rigging. Softer woods are lighter and will flex more and not crack or split. Since they are aloft they tend to dry fairly quickly so rot is not as much of an issue, like it would be on a toe rail. That said, they do tend to rot out near the fixtures that will hold the moisture against the wood.

Aluminum is a good option as it will likely last longer than the boat, but the original ones lasted this long and would be cheap and easy to make. It is harder to get good spruce than it once was, but if I had a good source that is the way I would go. Should last another 40 years or so. That is about as long as I expect to be sailing. Though who knows I might be climbing the mast to replace them when I am 90!
 

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If you decide to go with wood spreaders, given the limited availability of old-growth (tight grained) spruce, "pattern grade" South American mahogany is a good choice.

While not as light as spruce, it is very tight grained and in "pattern-grade" straight grained and essentially defect free. Exceptional dimensional stability, good workability and easy on the tooling. $6.00-$12.00 / bd-ft depending on your source. A chunk 5/4"x4"x96" is 3.3 bd-ft. Check in your local area for "custom mill-work" who will probably have what you need without having to deal with shipping and minimum orders.
Most shops will sell you a single piece to DIY.

Teak while very resistant to abrasion and rot (High silica and oil content) is IMHO over rated and over used in marine applications. Good decking material as used in old ships, but poor dimensional stability, hell on the tooling (high silica content) and tough to get an adequate glue joint (oil content).
 

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yeah teak no good here...think what old wood spars are made of mostly spruce or fir...

you want light and flexible....

a lot of give is involved in spreader design, even in aluminum or glass...

I have to fix my port upper spreader on my boat, slightly cracket ath the mount bolt at the mast..but since its glass its an easy epoxy putty seal and maybe a wrap of glass there and Im good to go
 
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The best wood for spreaders is aluminum. Preferably from an old growth aluminum forest. Won't rot, needs no care, durable, lightweight, and can be recycled.
 

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islander bahama 24
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Just an inside to all I'm a retired shipwright I built my first for profit boat at 15 for john Weyerhauser the man that started the company
 

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The best wood for spreaders is aluminum. Preferably from an old growth aluminum forest. Won't rot, needs no care, durable, lightweight, and can be recycled.
I once saw a group of tree hugging protester trying to protect an old growth aluminum forest, they all stuck their tongues to the aluminum trees, a funny sight to see


A kD vert grain DF might work well
 

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Argyle has spruce spreaders. They did suffer from some rot near the fixtures at the mast but I was able to address it pretty well penetrating epoxy.

If you decide to stay with wooden spreaders, the best thing for wooden spars is old growth Sitka Spruce from the Pacific Northwest or possibly old growth Douglas Fir from PNW or Maine/Canadian Maritimes. Doug fir is heavier but more rot resistant. Spruce is what has been traditionally used because of it's strength to weight ratio, and it is more susceptible to rot, but as has been said, rot is less of an issue aloft. Yardarms, cross-trees and gaff booms on classic sailing vessels were typically spruce.

Oh, and Aluminum does rot/corrode, and somewhat quickly if you don't isolate dissimilar metals, so nothing is worry free.

Old growth fir and spruce is available and it is obviously more expensive, but in my experience, it's still not as expensive as teak. There are several companies that are licensed to harvest naturally fallen old growth trees, both in the US and Canada. The wood is typically used for musical instruments, fine furniture, and, specialty construction. Our marine uses fall under specialty construction.

I replaced the bowsprit on Argyle with a piece of old growth Douglas Fir from PNW for < $800 total including shipping about 6 years ago. The piece was 8'x7"x7".

If you do go with a wooden spreader, use clear penetrating epoxy sealer (CPES) as a primer and use a lot of the stuff in any holes you have to put in the piece. If the spreader mounts to the mast with through bolts, fill the bolt holes with CPES by putting some tape on the bottom side of the hole, filling and letting the CPES be absorbed into the wood. Also, try to minimize any holes you have to put in to the wood. If something isn't going to be under loads, consider attaching it to the spreader with a medium strength sealant/adhesive like 4200 or 4000UV. If you do have to screw something in to the wood, screw the item down like normal, then remove the screws and fill the screw holes with CPES and let the epoxy cure. You can do a second application of CPES if you like. Then put the hardware back on the spreader but bed it down with butyl or a caulk like 4000UV, just like you would on the deck. The point is keeping any and all water out from between the hardware and the wood and especially away from that screw hole.
 

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yeah aluminum has no issues at all it so damn good especially around improperly bedded and or stainless stuff bonk

x2 on the sitka spruce, make sure you know where you get it from, as any wood that is $$ a good background check on the supplier mught surprise you get the good stuff.

My old scarfed herreshof masts were spruce...they were fixed using old methods and new with west systems...but they were 60 years old and were as flexible as new

in fact they were so fleixible they survivded a slight height miscalculation in ft lauderdale at one of the bridges...it bent and banged and survived like no other! ajaja

PS I WAS NOT LAUGHING AT THE TIME BELEIVE YOU ME
 

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a couple of shorts of clear, kiln dried fir would be a whole lot more available and cheaper than any exotic woods. Hardwoods are inappropriate for uses like spreaders - ever heard of a teak mast or boom?

By the way, wood spreaders usually rot on their undersides for some reason.
 

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a common trick is white on top and varnish below...that works quite well, a lot of people also paint the mast tip white...too

cheers
 

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Getting ready to pull the stick on the Yankee 30 and know I need to replace at least one spreader. I have a nice piece of teak. Any reason I shouldn't use it to fabricate spreaders?
I'd use spruce especially if that's what was there originally.

You should be able to find enough clear stock in a short piece of spruce spar material or get a piece sent to you for not a lot.

Wood spreaders usually have a special socket where they fit to the mast designed for the woods strength. Aluminum would require a different socket.
 
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