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tapering masts


Snow
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Hi guys and ladies

I'm still on the furniture stage on the deck of my amati adventure but this will be finished in a couple of weeks.

I was wondering of ways to taper the masts , I've considering buying a lathe but i am looking at other ways., as the one i want is about $ 400. Has anyone got a way of tapering masts mine are about 600mm long and 8mm wide .

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I use my drill press on lowest speed then clamp a wood block to the table with a selection of holes to prevent the free end from wandering.  Cut the dowel rod a little longer on both ends to clamp in the chuck.  I then used a good digital caliper to keep track of the tapering and various grits of sand paper,  slow but methodical.

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A drill press....wonderful idea, wish I had one big enough.

 

Snow, 600mm is a fairly long mast at 8mm diameter.  I've tapered them at 450mm by clamping the dowel in a regular drill, hold it between my knees and in one hand coarse sandpaper, the other a rasp.  Using both hands keeps the wobbling down to a controllable level too.  Drill at lowest rpm though!  For a mast, don't worry about the chuck marks on the wood, this area goes below deck anyway.  Upper masts though will need more care, yards too.  Same method though, just a bit different technique.  You'll see how after the mast ordeal.

 

At 600mm and 8mm, you're probably looking for less than 6mm at the tip.  This should be achievable in about 15 minutes.

 

Good luck and let us know how it came out, OK?

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9 hours ago, Dan Vad said:

And for my way of tapering masts. However, you need to start with square stock.

 

So right, grain is straight, dowels have a twisting grain and you think its straight then down the road you find the mast begins to have a slight lean n the direction of the twist of the grain learned that the hard way when buying cheap dowels.

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I've learned to do it by hand (i.e. no power tools), either by taper square stock with a knife then sanding, or just sanding down a dowel. In fairness, the largest ship I've built is a topsail schooner, but doing it by hand makes sure I don't overdo it. I just put on an audio book or baseball game and work away.

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All the power-assisted methods work well, but they're rather expensive if you're only making a few models or smaller spars.  I've found that a curved scraper, one of those that looks sort of like a "schmoo" (I'm showing my age), works very well on stock that starts smaller than about an inch or so.  The curved edges cut very fast with little danger of mis-cuts and don't make sawdust either, only shavings.  I've also found for smaller sizes a hole-template is a big help.  It checks the size and the roundness at the same  time.

 

Chazz

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