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Sparbuilding

Learn the steps to building both solid and hollow spars.

Pond yacht construction in the shop

Tuition: $875

Note: This is a special six-day course ending Saturday afternoon.

Wooden spars are a sight to behold and complement almost any harbor in which they are found. This week with boatbuilder Pat Mahon will guide you through the process of building solid and hollow spars. Building your own mast and boom, combined with fabricating some simple hardware, is a wonderful project that can save you money, and bring you the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

One of the projects undertaken by students in this course will be the mast, gaff, and boom for a William Garden 12’6”catboat. The mast will be built using the eight-stave, bird’s-mouth method used by many boatbuilders for its simplicity and strength. You’ll also turn out, for other boats, some solid-wood spars that will require little or no gluing and can be easily shaped with hand tools.

We will start the week talking about wood selection, cutting scarf joints, building a spar bench, gluing up with epoxy, and sharpening hand planes. Time will be dedicated to looking over plans and having a real understanding of how masts function and are supported.

Pond yacht construction in the shop

Throughout the week, Pat will touch on other spar construction techniques. Different spars as well as hardware details will be discussed. Time will be spent on the water looking at how different rigs work in their environment. This should lay the foundation for whatever rig style you choose. The course will close with a few coats of varnish and a discussion of maintaining your new rig for years to come. This week promises to be a full one, so come ready to make plenty of shavings and turn out beautiful wooden spars.

My week at WoodenBoat School was a magical time. Everything was taken care of beautifully. The feeling of warmth and welcoming is pervasive throughout the school. My sailing instructors were delightful. I became more and more comfortable on the water as my course progressed. I knew nothing about wind, only to be fearful and respectful. But now I watch it, study it, and understand it. Thank you all so much.”

E.F., Lexington, Kentucky
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