December 30, 2019
Before continuing work on the spars, I wanted to come up with a way to suspend the spars between the sawhorses so they would be free and clear for primer and paint. The boom was no issue: it was small and light enough that I figured I would just hang it from small line led through some screw holes at each end, and to the saw horses. This would allow the boom to swing, which I wouldn’t want for sanding, but for spray painting it would work fine. For now, I left the boom as is pending final sanding.
The mast was tougher, as it was too heavy to hold with small line, and in any event there weren’t enough holes at the ends to secure the line even if I’d wanted to do it that way. I could have built wooden inserts that fit inside the mast, and then used those to secure it to the sawhorses, but that was frankly more work than I felt was necessary or desirable.
After a failed attempt to build a simple internal support with a stick protruding to the sawhorse–this failed because the wedge inside the mast didn’t hold as I’d hoped, and the stick ended up looser than intended–I came up with a plan to secure a square piece of hardwood (actually a leftover stair baluster) inside the mast, with screws through the inside of the mast track. There were already holes in place at the bottom of the mast that I could use, but I drilled two holes as needed inside the track at the top of the mast.
When suspended between the two sawhorses and clamped at both ends, this held the mast solidly with the track facing down, which is how I wanted it for ease of painting. I arranged the mast kitty-corner in the shop as needed to accommodate its length and the sawhorses, while still leaving just enough room for me to maneuver around at the masthead end (where the sawhorse was almost at the doorway to the woodshop) as needed so I could work on all sides of the mast.
I sanded the epoxy filler in the screw holes left over from the spinnaker pole track; this came out well and didn’t require any further work.
Everything was set up as I needed it, so next I sanded the mast and boom a final time, this time with 120 grit paper. Although there was no visual indication that the previously-sanded spars had oxidized over the couple days since their last sanding, this final round of sanding would ensure clean, bright metal to encourage the best possible adhesion of the anti-corrosion metal primer. The finer grit also brought the prepared surface to the desired level of roughness (or smoothness) for the primer.
With metal, one can’t use rags for solvent-washing after sanding, as tiny fibers might catch in the rough metal and create a tiny wick that could exacerbate primer failure and corrosion later, so all I could do at this stage was vacuum the surfaces thoroughly to remove dust.
Afterwards, I strung up the boom to hang it, bottom side up, from the two sawhorses. I added vertical pieces to raise the boom’s height and make it easier for me to paint.
After final preparations and getting the paint ready, I spray-applied two coats of the protective anti-corrosion metal primer to the spars. As always, spraying rendered the shop otherwise uninhabitable, so I called it quits for the day.
Total time billed on this job today: 6 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 26°, cloudy. Forecast for the day: Cloudy, chance of snow late, 27°