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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

So I've unwrapped the tape around the ends of my spreaders to inspect and low and behold the tips are wooden! I didn't expect that. Nor am I certain why one of the previous owner decided to wrap them - I mean, wood is pretty soft on the sails, no?

Anyway, because they're wrapped they've been full of moisture for years and have rotted. I need to replace them. Have a look at the attached.

But the problem is, I don't know what they're called! I see a lot of spreader boots online, but that's the thing that goes OVER what I'm looking for. In other masts around the marina I see this fancy doo dad that you put the shroud in, turn 90 degress, and they won't slip out. Seems pretty neat.

Anyway, any advice at all would be appreciated. Thanks!

Trevor
 

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Wow! I've never seen anything like that, and my spreaders ARE wooden. I wonder if that was the original spreader tip or was it a retro fit? What is the boat?

They obviously work. I suspect the wooden ends have a tenon that fit into the aluminum spreader tube. If you make some duplicates (you easily could), the only thing I would add is a stainless steel through bolt midway between the notch for the wire, and the shoulder where it meets the tube.

Wooden spreaders were usually designed with a rivet in that area to resist the tendency of the ends splitting. The grain is weak in direction of the forces from the wire. There also added a metal strap or similar in the notch that would resist the wires abrasion on the softer wood. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Hey Tom,

I'm not sure if these are original or not but with your reaction, I'm guessing they're not. Glad you haven't seen anything like it, that makes the two of us!

I understand your first point regarding the bolt midway between those two places, but I'm not catching the metal strap. Could you explain that a little more?

I've attached a photo of the whole thing and as you suspected, they do extend into the tube a fair bit.

My boat is a Mirage 27.

I'm ok in the workshop, but I'm not sure I want to fabricate something that's under such loading. I was hoping to find a suitable off the shelf replacement, but I'm not having much luck. The boat goes in the water in 7 weeks, so I'm really hoping to find something before then!

Thanks!
Trevor
 

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Carve up a couple of chunks of coco bolo or apple or similar. Replace the old wood spreader tips if the aluminium is ok. New shape may address the internal shape of the usual spreader tip cover.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, you're right, they are indeed called spreader caps.

I'd love to buy a modern version. I figured step 2 (finding them) would be easy once I had the name, but I unfortunately haven't found much of a source for them online. I've emailed a few companies asking and one has gotten back so far saying they don't have anything like it.

I'm cautious to whittle my own since that's a high loading and important part.
 

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At the risk of being slandered I would suggest that the cap is just protecting the spreader and wire stay, there is no up or down force on it. The cap keeps the stay in place...maybe like the bridge on a guitar? You need to use decent wood to prevent cracking.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The only real load experienced is compression and I haven't done any math on how much. The risk of failure probably isn't a de-masting, but still wouldn't be a great day. I'll see what the other companies (or others who post here) can come up with as far as finding an off the shelf version, but if my only resort is to fabricate something, than I will.
 

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I'm not trying to convince you to do something that you are not comfortable with Trevor, but keep in mind that the original wood pieces lasted a few decades.
 

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Those are called 'spreader tips' or 'spreader tip fittings' they are ready available in aluminum which is probably what they originally were made from. You can make them in wood but the ones that you had were an awful design. You can also get a short length of aluminum bar stock with the same diameter of the O.D. of the spreader tube. and make them from that bar stock. It would be pretty easy with a hacksaw and a file.

As Tom suggested, if you do make them from wood there should be a bolt that the shroud wire bears on, and the sides of the groove should be lined with sheet metal or fiberglass. The wood should be sealed with epoxy so the wood tenon can't swell and split the spreader tube.

While you are right that the spreader and fitting is largely in compression, if the windward spreader tip splits and the shroud dislodges, if there's any breeze, you will lose your rig faster than you know what hit you.

Jeff
 
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I thought the correct answer was in post #2, what didn't you like? If you don't like the modern version, whittle your own.
Looks like home made to my eye too. I would buy the correct composite or cast parts and not use a wood turning with wire running through the ends cutting with the grain either.

Trevor if you decide to make new wooden ones consider Jeff's recommendation to add a stainless steel bolt for the shrouds to rub on instead of cutting into the wood and also think about changing what fastens the wood to the spreaders from screws to an eye bolt and eye nut so stainless steel rigging wire can be set to keep the shrouds more securely in position.

You can usually find them a rigging stores and your local marine salvage lots:
https://www.usedboatequipment.com/ads/spreader-tips/

You local rigging store can fit them for you if you take the spreaders down and bring them to them plus will inspect them to ensure the wood on metal has not caused excessive corrosion and embrittlement. If the wood has caused too much damage to the ends of the spreader tubes then they may need to be replaced. Around here it's about $400 to $700 for a set of new spreaders and tips.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I would buy the correct composite or cast parts and not use a wood turning with wire running through the ends cutting with the grain either.
Excellent source, seastar, thanks! We don't have any rigging stores here in Newfoundland and every time I walk into a marine store with sailboat parts they always look at me like I have 10 heads.

You can make them in wood but the ones that you had were an awful design.
Jeff, just to be clear, if I do resort to making them myself the shape of them are fine. I would just need to add the boat for the shroud to ride on, line with sheet metal, and also add the eyebolts for the rigging wire (elegant addition, by the way SeaStar)

Thanks all!
 

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Excellent source, seastar, thanks! We don't have any rigging stores here in Newfoundland and every time I walk into a marine store with sailboat parts they always look at me like I have 10 heads.



Jeff, just to be clear, if I do resort to making them myself the shape of them are fine. I would just need to add the boat for the shroud to ride on, line with sheet metal, and also add the eyebolts for the rigging wire (elegant addition, by the way SeaStar)

Thanks all!
Actually the shape of your old wooden ends are not'fine'. The cheeks of the tips are outside of the bearing point on the spreader and so more likely to split the wood than a smaller part that had full bearing.

The eye bolts are unnecessary. Typically spreader tips simply have a hole in each tine and then lash a small mousing between the holes with seizing wire.

Jeff
 
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Actually the shape of your old wooden ends are not'fine'. The cheeks of the tips are outside of the bearing point on the spreader and so more likely to split the wood than a smaller part that had full bearing.

The eye bolts are unnecessary. Typically spreader tips simply have a hole in each tine and then lash a small mousing between the holes with seizing wire.

Jeff
I was thinking safer to get the seizing wire back to the spreaders in case the wood fails. Smaller boats are't even going to have the tips but just a notch in the spreaders with a hole in the spreader to run the seizing wire through. The seizing wire could also help lock the bolts in place so they won't spin out serving a dual purpose of seizing the tips and locking the bolts.

I know potentially overkill but...
 

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I have an innocent question Jeff. If the shroud 'dislodged' as you put it, I would expect that the lower shroud would keep the rig standing just fine. This is a 27' boat, the stress on the upper mast shouldn't be that extreme. I am not suggesting that Trevor should risk the possibility, only that you may be overstating the situation.

Submitted respectfully, Paul
 
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