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mast step installation

Discussion in 'Canoe Sailing' started by DAVID EDGERLY, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member


    I an attempt by my feeble mind to provide something perhaps useful, here's an image of an Old-Town-style mast step in case you want to make something that looks similar to what they provided. This is from the '30s, I believe. Length is 11 3/4", width is 2 1/16", and height is 1 3/4". Depth of the square mast hole is 3/4".

    I make no warranties- expressed or implied- about this mast step, its materials or construction, its finish or mode of attachment, or even the statements made herein.

    Attached Files:

    • step.jpg
      File size:
      49.9 KB
  2. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    I figure it would probably take maybe 30 minutes to an hour to remove an epoxy-bonded mast step. If you have a phobia of routers, you could always take a bit more time and cut it down with chisels or planes. Once that's done, the rib surfaces would be ready for a little clean-up sanding and varnish. This is a far smaller and easier job than replacing a rotten deck, keel, gunwale, stem, a bunch of rotten rib tops or even re-caning a seat -and people here do all those things on a regular basis. Properly glued down with Tightbond, the process would be about the same, as Tightbond-to-bare wood can also exceed the grain strength of the cedar ribs. Epoxy is a superior moisture intrusion barrier, a better gap filler and takes less clamping pressure, making it a superior adhesive for boats. Cedar is fairly soft and you can generate a stronger connection with both higher tensile strength and higher sheer strength by spreading the load out over a larger area, rather than concentrating it on three or four very shallow mechanical fasteners.

    The man asked a question. I gave him step by step instructions of how I would tackle this specific installation given the limitations and conditions he mentioned. I also explained how it could be removed if ever needed. If that bugs anybody, I could care less. It would be nice if life could always be warm and fuzzy, but warm and fuzzy doesn't always get the job done.
  3. TNWilliamson

    TNWilliamson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Okay, guys, so how did OT attach its mast steps at the factory, and I am curious about exactly where the step was placed.
    When I was a kid I sailed OT canoes at camp. They had leeboards and no rudder. We used a paddle for a rudder. It took 2 kids to sail the canoe, one to manage the sail and one to steer. With a bona fide rudder it could be easily single handed. Was the rudder attached with pintles and gudgeons? I'd like to see one up close.
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Old Town used various techniques depending on the era and style of canoe. The most common approach was with two screws through the step, ribs, and planking into the keel. The earliest ones used bolts with the nut on the inside. The image at shows one from 1919 with a bolt and a screw. The fiberglass Wahoo model from 1972 shown at had the step fiberglassed into the floor of the canoe. The step was always placed directly below the mast ring in the seat so the mast would be vertical.

    The rudder was usually attached with special pintles and gudgeons as shown at on the bottom of the page. Their sailing rig evolution is shown at and the information at gives an overview of how an Old Town from 1931 was typically rigged. Please reply here if this doesn't answer your question.

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  5. Robert P. Ross

    Robert P. Ross Ross Bros

    Sailing Canoe Hardware Mast Ring Lee board Gudgeons Pintels

    Sailing Canoe Hardware Mast Ring Lee board Gudgeons Pintels

    Here is a nice assortment of reproduction sailing hardware. Included is most of what you might need to rig a canoe for sail. Finial details are mostly trial and error and or personal preference. Most the hard parts are here. This is a single lee board system. This hardware came back to me via a boat builder I have a long history with. What you see in the grouping is what you get. I do have additional hardware available.

    Thanks for looking.

    * Mast seat ring
    * Upper and lower gudgeon's and pintels w/top pintel removable pin and chain
    * Two blocks w/strap eyes built in
    * Two blocks with out strap eyes
    * Lee board thwart bracket

    Currently unavailable from Old Town it is out of stock.

    Robert P. Ross
    Ross Bros.
    PO Box 60277
    Florence, MA 01062

    Attached Files:

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