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How to Taper Masts?


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25 replies to this topic

#1
mkmossop

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I'm not sure how I'm supposed to taper the masts for my model. I've thought of sanding, but seems like that could leave it pretty uneven. Should I take them in somewhere to get them tapered?

 

Thanks for any help :).



#2
Remco

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With a chisel or better a miniature plane with the stock held in a jig. Is the stock you use round or square?

 

Remco


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#3
Jim Lad

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The answer may be - it depends! :huh:

 

If you're starting with a square billet of wood, then you can mark the taper out and plane down to the taper first, then when you round your spar the taper is already worked into it.

 

If you're starting with a round dowel then, assuming you don't have a lathe, many people chuck the dowel in a drill press or a hand held electric driss that has been clamped in a fixed place and then use files and sandpaper to taper the rotating dowel.

 

John



#4
druxey

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The most reliable way is to taper a square stick, plane it octagonal ('eight-square') then round it with sandpaper strips pulled back and forth around the diameter.


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#5
mkmossop

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Hey thanks for the replies :).

 

I'm using round dowels... so I guess I'll try the drill press method and hopefully not screw it up, lol.



#6
Timothy Wood

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Personally, I work with dowel or a piece of square stock and work it down with a miniature plane.  I don't believe there is an advantage in either case, both are very easy to do.  Just remember to take very small amounts of wood off with the plane, it takes time but it's the best way to procede.  It's also important that your plane is razor sharp and adjusted properly before you attempt to taper your mast.  Do sample cuts on a "Test" dowel or or square stock before you tackel the real thing.  Always take your time and remove small amounts of wood and check the diameter often.

 

Tim


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#7
Modeler12

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You might check another thread here on this forum. http://modelshipworl...ation-on-lathe/
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Jay

 

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#8
Juan Carlos

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i used the dowel in the drill chuck trick and it worked very well.  then i used square stock and it worked too.  the wood gets hot.  i did not use gloves because the heat made me stop and check the work more frequently.



#9
mkmossop

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Personally, I work with dowel or a piece of square stock and work it down with a miniature plane.  I don't believe there is an advantage in either case, both are very easy to do.  Just remember to take very small amounts of wood off with the plane, it takes time but it's the best way to procede.  It's also important that your plane is razor sharp and adjusted properly before you attempt to taper your mast.  Do sample cuts on a "Test" dowel or or square stock before you tackel the real thing.  Always take your time and remove small amounts of wood and check the diameter often.

 

Tim

 


Hmmm... do you rotate the wood along the lathe or move the lathe along the wood?

 

You might check another thread here on this forum. http://modelshipworl...ation-on-lathe/

 

Wow cool... I think I'll give this a go first and see how it works... thanks!


Edited by mkmossop, 25 February 2013 - 09:36 AM.


#10
tony

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A tool I find handy for tapering is a Stanley knife blade for cutting carpet.It is curved and you can either use as a scraper or as a blade for cutting.

Tony


current build MAYFLOWER

Edited by tony, 06 March 2013 - 10:26 AM.

mayflower


#11
dcicero

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I did a presentation on masts and spars for the club I belong to.  (Shameless plug for the The Nautical Research and Model Ship Society of Chicago.)  I've attached the presentation.  I use a small lathe made by Harbor Freight Tools, a digital caliper and a file.

 

Hope this helps!

 

 

 

Dan

Attached Files


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#12
Geoff Matson

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Dan

 

Thanks for posting the file. I am sure it will be useful


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#13
bhermann

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For those who work exclusively by hand (or those of us not to be trusted with power tools :)), I included a brief description of some of my tapering methods in my log.

 

http://modelshipworl...2130-164/page-3

 

Check posts #33 and 34 for the details.

 

Bob


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#14
Geoff Matson

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Bob

 

I am going to try you method on the bowsprit of my Constitution. I do not have a lathe. The bowsprit has some awkward areas to taper and I think the your method will will work out great for me.


Geoff
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#15
mkmossop

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I used the dowel-in-drill trick tonight and it worked very well and was quick. I used a rough sandpaper to get it down to size quickly, and then a much finer one to finish it off. It may not be as accurate as some people like, but it did a good enough job for what I want.



#16
amateur

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I also used Bob's method.

I found it useful to mark the centre of the dowel with a small pinhole before starting the tapering.

That helped to keep the whole thing more or less centered.

 

Jan



#17
Brian the extraordinaire

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Just go out and buy a decent sized lathe.  End of story. 


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#18
normanh

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Never had any sucess with either a lathe or plane so I cut the dowel to the required length, mark the with a flet pen dot to the required  finished yard diameter, then mark off the taper profile on the dowel. Rough shape the yard with a small fine file, usually resting the dowel in a small notch on the edge of my bench, file and rotate the dowel slowly to get the profile finishing with various stage sanding with good quality abrasive papers, not cheapy sandpapers. Must have made 30 odd by this method to date its accurate and fast. I check the diameters using a vernier and I can get within 0.2 mm normally or better without much fuss.Considering I have yet to find a concentric dowel.


Norman

 

 

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#19
Modeler12

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Try this

mast 14.jpg


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Jay

 

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#20
Ken-O

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Interesting discussion, as I was wondering how to give my masts the proper siz since the beginning of my first build. I was planning to buy a lathe, but I do not have any experience with it. I have no idea if they are easy to work with or even what brand is the best buy. Maybe I will try to do it with sanding paper only, although I think it will not give a satisfying result.






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