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Iron Band at the Heel of Masts

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Underhill described (in book on Leon) an iron band around the heel of a mast presumably to prevent splitting. So I put these on (see picture below)  Then I tried to find out what these iron bands are called.  I used my modest ship library and the internet to make a pretty thorough search and came up with nothing.  Not only did I not come up with a name, I didn't come up with any references to these iron bands at all.  Therefore I am wondering were they used all that frequently.


Any info on these bands will be much appreciated.





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17 minutes ago, druxey said:

Mast hoops.

Mast hoops are the loosely fitting bent wood rings to which the luffs of sails are fastened and which permit the sails to be hoisted up and down the masts.


An iron ring around the heel of the mast is properly called "an iron ring around the heel of the mast." However, when speaking to landlubbers, sailors call it a "gronicle." Sailors call anything without a name a "gronicle." Lubbers don't know the difference. :D 

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Your answer has applicability far outside the nautical world.  Therefore I would like your permission to quote you in fields far astray.  For example, if my wife asks for the potato masher (we have three types of them in the drawer). then I can respond with Do you want the gronicle or one of the other two,   And she can respond in kind when I ask her for a wrench.


Thanks, Doug


PS on a related subject was this iron ring standard issue on ships of all sizes and origins?

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5 hours ago, druxey said:

Sorry, Bob; but Steel defines 'mast hoops' as follows (Rigging and Seamanship, 1794, Volume I, page 6):


HOOPS are strong circles of iron driven on masts and yards.

Balderdash! What does Steel know? Those are called "mast bands," not hoops, west of the Mississippi, at least. :D 


I've seen my share of mast heels, a few in larger vessels and I've never seen one with a metal band around them. I've never seen a coaked mast's heel, though, but I'd expect that a mast made up of coaked parts banded together would definitely have a band around the heel and those bands are driven onto the mast like hoops are driven on barrels. 


I've not found a specific name for this band in the few old nautical dictionaries in my library. In the absence of a specific name (as apposed to a generic one: "mast hoop" or "mast band,") I propose a new name: "mast shoe." Masts have "coats" that seal the hole in the deck they pass through. It follows then that a metal band covering the heel of a mast would be a "shoe," no? :D 


Or a "gronicle." 

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Et Al - Thanks for your creative contributions.  I take this moment to announce that I am going to remove the mast hoops / mast bands / muffler belts / whatmacallit / gronicles from the heels of both the foremast and the main mast.  My motivation for this is Bob's comment  "I've seen my share of mast heels, a few in larger vessels and I've never seen one with a metal band around them"  In addition no one else mentions ever having seen them.  Since Leon is unlikely to have had a coaked mast, the rings are now history - they were my second exercise in silver soldering so they still had value.


Bob, this is the second time I've followed your lead - the first was with the likely use of a built up mast step for Leon - I just hope that you are not a roboNRGMSWmember giving random answers to questions!


Thanks all, Doug

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