Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mast Step Update

I puzzled over how to cut the mortise in the latest (and greatest?) main mast step. The step is too wide for my mortising machine and I wasn't looking forward to drilling and chiseling the mortise.

Then, in a brief exchange with my brother-in-law, I realized I could cut the step in half length-wise, use the dado blade to cut half the mortise in each half and glue it all back together.

And so, that's what I did. It worked quite well. The mortise fits the tenon on the mast and the foreward edge of the mast is positioned where it should be. Can't expect any more than that.

The step is white oak with maple spacers. The step measures: 65mm x 135mm x 300mm.


  1. This would be a good juncture to rout or otherwise gouge out a drainage groove so that water doesn't sit in the bottom of the mortise - maple is fairly prone to rotting when in contact with water, so you'll want to keep that area fairly well drained (sealing with epoxy will have limited benefit since the mast will naturally chafe the surfaces it impinges and expose raw wood, allowing water infiltration).


    1. Thanks for the reminder. The previous steps have drain slots in the bottom. I probably would have remembered to cut them in this latest one but a reminder doesn't hurt.

  2. Hi Bob, I like to rig my Pathfinder also with a Balanced Lug main + mizzen, witch sail plan do you have? mine is from Duckworks, 13,75 sqm, I think it's to big, what do you think?
    Regards Ralf

    1. Ralf, I asked John for a balance lug yawl sail plan using my 105sf (9.75sqm) Goat Island Skiff balance lug for the main (my theory is that I can only sail one boat at a time...). John drew up a balanced lug yawl using a Scamp sail (100sf/9.3sqm) for the main. The mast step for the smaller sail plan is just aft of BH-2. I agree the sail plan offered by Duckworks seems too big.

      Write to John for the details and drawing. I hope to launch in the late spring.


    2. Hi Bob, in the moment I think about a 12sqm main lug, with
      an extra mast partner, to be able sailing with out the mizzen,for short after work sailing on our little lake. For extended sailing I will use my Bay River Skiff mizzen. I am very curious to see how your rig works.