Fitting & shaping the Masthead Sheave Plug.
To solve the increasing inside diameter issue, when I epoxy the masthead plug in, I will stand the mast on its head, the epoxy will flow down around the masthead plug shaft, filling any gaps.
The procedure will be to push an “epoxy plug” into the mast, (remember, the mast is filled with crumpled aluminum foil) pour in epoxy & wood dust mixture, tape around the joint, stand the mast on its head, The epoxy & wood dust will flow down around the masthead plug. I have 17″ of height to the peak of my garage roof, so my mast will just fit.
When I made the mast, I used a belt-sanding jig to round the mast. The result was a round mast, but there are lots of cross-grain sanding marks. I am going to now re-sand the mast, with the grain, to end up with a smooth finish.
I mark the mast with a pencil circle…I will sand each stave and the marks will tell me which stave I have sanded
This part is where I “sand-off” an afternoon…the procedure is to move up and down the mast, sanding as I go…Each stave takes maybe 10 passes of the sander to sand off the cross-grain marks.
After I have sanded the mast with 80 and then 150 grit, I pin the masthead plug to the top of the mast and sand it flush with the mast.
I now brush off the sanding dust and vacuum the mast & masthead plug.
I take out the Masthead sheave plug to epoxy separately. I re-arrange my mast supports, one on each end. I use a metal bar, inserted into the top and bottom of the mast to hold the mast in the brackets. This way I can rotate the mast and epoxy all its sides.
I clamp the Masthead Sheave plug in a vise to give the top part a coating of epoxy. I will not epoxy the shaft and the bottom of the plug. When I epoxy the mast and the plug together, I want the epoxy to soak into the wood on both pieces.
I am epoxy coating the mast for two reasons. One: While sanding the mast I had noticed that some of the joints were not filled…the was sanding dust in the joint. To insure that all of the mast stave joints are epoxy filled, and Two: to seal the wood so no water will be absorbed.
The screwdriver is used to help turn the mast 180°. Why do this? Gravity makes the epoxy flows around the mast and settle on the bottom
My solution to drips is to rotate the mast 180° and then brush the drips out. I rotate the mast every 30 minutes until the epoxy is too set for the drips to form.
I also brush off the drips that have formed on the Masthead sheave plug.
A Note: after turning my mast a few times, I decide to epoxy coat my Traditional Small Craft Association membership card…I just got it in the mail today. The epoxy is now a little stiff, and does not flow over the card evenly, but now the card will last forever.
After the epoxy cures, the next step is to give the mast and masthead plug a light sanding, then varnish them. It will be easier to varnish the plug and the mast in the rotating rig separately. I will glue them together after a few (too many) coats of varnish have been applied…probably one a day for a week or so.