Replacement bowsprit

Bejasus

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lookingfor some advice. 1980 45ft grp heavy cruising ketch, all the wood on the vessel is in teak, toerails, bright work, interior etc.
I have discovered rot in the bowsprit and am looking for the best way to replace this. It is a fairly large piece on which the pulpit is supported, both foresails are attached and large cleat.
What would be recommended in type of construction? One piece or laminated and what choice of wood to use?
Unfortunately I do not have any decent pics to hand but hopefully these may give an idea.
 

tillergirl

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I think I would be thinking of some nice clear sitka spruce. It is difficult to get an idea of dimensions but it doesn't look that massive so one piece looks feasible. Won't match the teak, but it will have the spring you need.
 

Bejasus

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thanks TG, doesn't really need to match the teak as the current one is painted and it doesn't trouble me too much to repeat that. Sitka Spruce was on my list too, but just wondered what alternatives to consider, and if laminated may prove to be stronger than solid if done correctly.
 

Bejasus

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ok, so now assuming using either Sitka Spruce or Douglas Fir, would I be better with a solid piece cut to shape, or laminated using either epoxy or resorcinol and should the laminations be vertical for strength. Remembering the two attached foresails and a bobstay and whisker stays will be fitted and the pulpit and anchors mounted on top.
I understand there may be issues with a solid piece of Douglas Fir since the old inner growth may want to separate from the newer outer growth. At least that's what I am reading and also that it may be difficult to work with when laminated due to grain issues.
Needless to say, I am not a wood expert, especially when it comes to a piece like this.
Appreciate the replies.
 

westernman

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ok, so now assuming using either Sitka Spruce or Douglas Fir, would I be better with a solid piece cut to shape, or laminated using either epoxy or resorcinol and should the laminations be vertical for strength. Remembering the two attached foresails and a bobstay and whisker stays will be fitted and the pulpit and anchors mounted on top.
I understand there may be issues with a solid piece of Douglas Fir since the old inner growth may want to separate from the newer outer growth. At least that's what I am reading and also that it may be difficult to work with when laminated due to grain issues.
Needless to say, I am not a wood expert, especially when it comes to a piece like this.
Appreciate the replies.

Don't laminate with epoxy - that does not take kindly to any degree of flexing. Even a small bowsprit like yours will flex a bit.

Resorcinol is much better for that.

A properly laminated piece will be stronger than a solid one.
 

Seanick

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As you have a large amount of weight up there already-anchors, pulpit, furlers etc etc you dont need to be concerned about the reletivley small weight of the bowsprit itself, nor flexibility as it is so well supported and quite short.
Therefore I would go for durability and consider teak or iroko. Only laminate if you cannot obtain the timber in large enough sizes. A single piece will be plenty strong enough. Don't over complicate a very simple issue!
Spruce (not very durable) and columbian pine would be suitable if the piece of timber was not so locked in by the other fittings and could be removed regulary for inspection and coating, as in a 'normal' reeving bowsprit.
 

Silent Lady

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Bowsprit

What about a piece of Pitch Pine.

Wikipedia.

In the past, it was a major source of pitch and timber for ship building, mine timbers, and railroad ties, because the wood's high resin content preserves it from decay

Just a thought. Lot of it about at reclaim yards.
 

srp

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Don't laminate with epoxy - that does not take kindly to any degree of flexing.

Can't agree with that, having done some tensile testing of solid epoxy test pieces. It displays a remarkable degree of elasticity. Epoxy thickened with microfibres would be my first choice.

I would laminate a bowsprit, preferably from quarter-sawn timber. Cut and assemble so the growth rings are arranged vertically (when viewed from the end).

If you're not sure which timber to use you could always use alternate laminates of different species. As it will be painted you might also consider coating the whole thing with (un-thickened) epoxy to improve its' weather resistance, or even covering it with woven glass cloth to increase the strength.
 

Delfin

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Don't laminate with epoxy - that does not take kindly to any degree of flexing. Even a small bowsprit like yours will flex a bit.

Resorcinol is much better for that.

A properly laminated piece will be stronger than a solid one.

I'm not sure I agree with that either. A laminated piece will be stronger than one made of a single piece. If you are concerned about flexing you could use a polyurethane glue, like Gorilla glue. If you clamp the patooties out of it when laminating it will be as strong as epoxy would be. If you use fir, just make sure it is old growth - anything less will not have the resin content which is essential for this application. It will be shockingly expensive.....
 
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