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Making Yards,


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My preference is start with square stock, make it into an octagonal piece, then round and taper from the end of what is to remain octagonal to the ends.  This can be done by hand or by rolling the stock while giving light pressure against a disc or belt sander.  If you have a lathe, it is much easier to control the tapering while taking it from octagonal to round.   



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  • 3 weeks later...

Real spars are made much as amateur said. An adz is used to square the tree. Next, the taper is marked on the top face. An adz is again used to taper it. Once the taper is made on both sides, it is rolled onto it's side and the taper once again marked and cut on the other two faces. Now you have a square log with both ends tapered. A special tool called a sparmaker's gauge (highly technical tool here) is used to mark these things evenly the whole length of the yard. (mast, boom, gaff, spinnaker pole etc. Even oars could be made this way, any round pole type object)



The spar is then 8 sided. Another gauge of pretty much the same construction will mark for 16 siding of the spar. Only the biggest of spars need to be 32 sided before being made round with planes by eye. Odd how they first square a log before returning it to it's round shape but that's how it was done.


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I don't think many folks still build masts like that anymore. It's material intensive and good spar wood isn't cheap. I helped my brother build spars for his boat and I intend on building them for my boat using what's called a bridsmouth construction. If you google birdsmouth mast building you'll find something about it. Uses much less wood than a solid mast, is equaly strong and significantly lighter. All important things in a sailing vessel no matter her size.

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