MASTer of my Domain

A sailboat needs three large dowels: two for the oars and one for the mast.  Yesterday I spent hours working on the mast, and it isn’t complete.  Making them is simple.  Cut the corners off a 2×2 to create an octagon.  Then cut those corners.  Then sand.

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Simple does not mean easy, though.  The mast is eight feet long, so every cut (and there are about ten, total) must put the jigsaw blade throught eight feet of wood.  Sanding also takes a while.  Finally, mistakes happen.  If you twist the jigsaw blade slightly, you end up taking too much wood.  Such mistakes are visible because the mast is one of the most visible parts of the boat.

There are alternatives.  Wood closet rods work fine.  They cost about $10. I’ve only found them in 6-foot lengths or under, which is too small.  The first mast I used was a closet rod.  If you are short on time and eager to put yourself in the water, definately use a closet rod.  I still prefer the slow and tedious way; not because of the $8 savings, but I prefer the look of a hand-cut mast.  It has a jagged, “Hey I made this” feel.  I also prefer having a pine mast on a pine frame.  There are fewer choices in the world of closet rods, and I have yet to see a pine rod – not that I’ve been searching. Finally, mistakes happen and you may wind up needing to purchase another rod.  The cost adds up.

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