Sunday, January 25, 2015

Boo Boo's Spars

Updated ...
All I want for Christmas is a Dyer sailing dingy, I said out loud half in jest to a friend at the marina, he got on his phone and I heard him say, "you still have that Dyer dingy for sail, how much? He looked at me and said $300 about 4 miles from here. I told Vicky and off we all went. A 1991 Dyer Midget sailing dingy minus the lower mast section, the boom and sail and oar locks. It came with the upper yard (to the mast), the complete rudder, daggerboard and a set of oars. I snatched it.

Once I glued up some straight grained fir that I bought at the local lumber store I brought it to shore to my makeshift shop, the concert picnic table behind the cruisers lounge and laundry. After squaring up the stock for the round mast with hand planes I drew out a taper for the upper two thirds of the mast.

With this very crude but simple jig I was able to draw lines that tapered the "square" to the desired top dimension, 1 3/4". The base is 2 1/2"

Next is to cut the corners off, making 8 sides to the spar staying away from the lines. It was very tough using a jig saw for this operation, but a man's got to use as best he can what a man "has" to use.

Certainly not the greatest bench, but enough. The scenery was excellent and the distractions from cruisers were many, but I got by.

 I then carefully planed all eight sides to an even width right to the lines. This gave me the taper I wanted and much closer to the "round" I wanted. I'm sure I could have come up with a way to draw lines on all eight sides again for a perfect 16 sided spar but I chose to knock down the 8 high spots by eyeball with the hand plane.

It was definitely close enough with 16 sides to dig right in with the truly grunt hand work, sanding against the grain with a cut opened belt sander pad. I think it was 50 grit.

Then of course some proper sanding down with the grain to bring to finish.

With the fitting and shaping of the mast step I was ready to move onto the rectangular boom. 

My crude but effective set up to use a round-over bit for the boom and an evening beverage for a good day work.

The oak jaws on the boom were pretty straight forward other than I had riveted the end prior to getting the bronze fitting, which is held in place with nothing "but" the rivet, so I had to re-rivet twice.

Prettying it up with the leather work and we are just about done. I also made a couple of teak cleats for the mast and boom, threw on a few coats of varnish ...

... spliced some rope work to complete the running rigging. I had bought a new sail from Dyer along with the proper bronze fittings I was missing, but they sent me the wrong part which caused a very long delay leaving me frustrated not being able to set the sail.

The parts finally came in and I hurried to rivet on the yard hook strap eye with the two inch copper nails.

Christmas came very late for me this past year but worth every minute I had to build the missing parts.


  1. I guess I am too dense to figure out how you used the little marking tool to draw the tapers on the spar blank. Can you tell me?


  2. Hey Bob, sure. The glued up piece was 2 1/2" square it's whole length. I put marks on one end to represent 1 3/4" square.I then used a straight edge to draw more lines that when planed down would give me a tapered square to the point I wanted the taper to start. I went about 2/3's of the way down. I had a taper, but it was still square. In order to keep the next set of 45 degree lines equal distance down the taper I used that simple jig. By keeping the two pins touching both sides all the way down, the pen/marker moves inward as the taper get smaller thus keeping all 8 sides equal. In the first picture you can see the jig starting to move the pen more inward as the jig has to change angles to keep touching both sides as it gets thinner. Hope that explains it.

  3. Thanks Ken - that makes it clear!



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