RS600 – Sanding the Mast, just need to be careful

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This should be the final state, but it isn't.
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Been sanding the Mast in the evenings, enjoying the evening sunshine. The picture above is actually of the starboard side of the mast before we started rather than after. It is right on the limit of what can be retrieved as in a few months time it would have started to peel the actual laminate away. Fortunately the outer skin is still intact. (No carbon splinters if nothing else)

The other side which needed sanding.

To do the sanding we followed the same process we used for sanding the 14 bowsprit. But given for the top section at least there was so little varnish we choose to use 240 Grit sandpaper instead of 120. The rule of thumb on the 14 pole, was when the dust turned black stop sanding. Problem, is we started out with black (Carbon) dust.

But after an hour of careful sanding we had the top section completed with a good even finish and no old varnish left to be seen.

For the rest of the mast we decided to go back to 120 Grit sandpaper, as with the 14 pole we worked down the length so that we were always bringing new varnish under the sandpaper, while slowly clearing the laminate from behind. This gives a more even finish and minimises any flat spotting. There was varnish left near the track, so we had to use the chisel to work the last of the old varnish off the mast.

Mast cleaned waiting to dry off to go into the shed.

Once the old varnish is sanded off the next step is is to get rid of all of the dust. The first stage is simply washing the mast off with water. Given there are lots of holes in the mast the inside also be full of dust. A chunk of time with the hose pipe and a cloth eventually gets rid of the dust.

Last prep step is to remove and replace the tape protecting the mast track. Because we had to sand up the the edge of the track, we re-masked the track so we left the areas which had been sanded exposed so the Varnish would stop any anodisation.

As we don’t do this professionally, we don’t have a ‘clean’ room so we have converted ‘the shed’ into a makeshift work shop. We’ve cleaned it up, but dust will still be a problem.

Sneak preview of next blog, this is the first coat.

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