Spars, Mast Hinge, Part 8: Installing Base of Hinge to G-10 Step

The halyard organizer plate, the base of the hinge, and the anti-compression block installed on the G-10 mast step
Now that I had installed and painted the new G-10 mast step, I could install the components that would permanently sit directly atop it, namely the halyard organizer plate, the base of the mast hinge, and the anti-compression block. First, though, I had to focus on the 1/4 inch hex bolt that would help to secure the G-10 step to the deck. This hex bolt would also serve as the terminus for the centerboard line within the mast compression post in the main salon of the boat.
The chrome plated bronze loop/nut had long ago lost most of its chrome plating. I cleaned the remaining chrome flakes from the bronze with 150 grit sandpaper
During the gluing of the G-10 step to the old mast base/step, epoxy had oozed into the 1/2 inch hole in the center of the G-10 step for the centerboard line.
Therefore, I had to re-drill this hole with the long, 1/2 inch bit.
At this time I also made sure that the other 1/2 inch holes in the other components were nice and smooth.
I used a small, 50 grit sanding drum on my Dremel to smooth the edges of the 1/2 inch hole in the halyard organizer plate. Recall that this 1/2 hole was not original to the plate. My friend had created this hole with his drill press.
After I had completed this work, I laid out all the components in preparation for installing them on the G-10 mast step.
You'll remember that I had made two different shims for the anti-compression block. The G-10 block was 3/4 inch, but the space between the upper and lower plates of the stainless steel mast hinge was about 7/8 inch. I had kept the gel coat on one of the shims, and I had removed it on the other. Below we see the flip sides of the two shims. The one on the left is of course the sanded one. The one on the right has, for the most part, been left undisturbed (just like its other side with the gel coat).
The unsanded, gel coat shim was a perfect fit. This, however, was now causing me some concern. I would be using butyl tape to install these pieces. I began to think that, with the butyl tape added into the mix, this shim would be a little too thick.
Therefore, I decided to use the slightly thinner, sanded shim. This proved to be a good decision.
Now I could focus again on the 1/4 inch, hex head bolt that would pass all the way through the G-10 step and the deck. I had to install this before I installed anything else, since the stainless steel halyard organizer plate and the base of the mast hinge would cover it.
First, I conducted one last dry-fit.
Then I pressed butyl tape into the recessed hole. If you're not familiar with butyl tape, then I urge you to check out Maine Sail's Compass Marine website. I have a link to it on the homepage of this blog. I used a total of six rolls of butyl tape from Compass Marine during the refitting of Oystercatcher, and I'm a firm believer in it.
I then applied butyl tape under the hex head of the bolt.
After I had slowly pushed the bolt all the way through the G-10 step and the plywood reinforced deck, I installed the bronze loop/nut on the end of it.
Originally, there was no lock nut or washer in this set-up. I decided to use a lock washer to discourage any loosening on the part of the loop.

Afterwards, I filled the hole with butyl tape so that the recessed area around the hex head was completed sealed.
Then I laid down strips of butyl tape in the area where the halyard plate organizer would soon go.
On top of the butyl tape I placed the plate.
Then I laid down strips of butyl tape on the bottom of the base plate of the mast hinge.
I placed this plate on top of the halyard organizer plate, and then I laid down strips of butyl tape on the fiberglass shim (pictured bottom).
I then placed this fiberglass shim on top of the base plate of the mast hinge.
Thereupon, I laid down strips of butyl tape on the bottom of the anti-compression block.
This block I then placed on top of the fiberglass shim.
Now it was time to screw all of this together. In preparation for this, I cleaned the four, 5/16 inch machine screws with acetone. This would ensure that the butyl tape would adhere well to them.
Then I wrapped small piece of butyl tape around the heads of these flat head screws.
When it came to installing the screws, I took it easy, tightening one just a little bit, then another, and so on.
I did this in an attempt to distribute the butyl tape evenly through all these spaces.
The multiple layers of butyl tape proved to be somewhat stubborn, so I ended up removing the four screws so that I could take a more aggressive approach.
With my foot atop the components I gave them all of my weight.
This helped a lot with the distribution of the butyl tape. The screws now started to do their work.
From the edges of the components butyl tape began to ooze.
Nevertheless, there was still quite a ways to go in this small battle against this sticky and rubbery adversary. My temporary installation of the top plate of the hinge revealed this.
Butyl tape can be slow-moving and ornery, so I decided that I would wage a war of attrition against it by letting a dead car battery rest its leaden, dead weight upon the anti-compression block for a day or two.
This turned the tide in my favor. The butyl taped slowly gave up the fight, and before long it looked as if I might be able to slip the second pin in the hinge plates.
The last 1/16 inch, however, was still a struggle.
For a period of about one week I would go out to the boat each night and give each screw a few turns. I used a vice grip on the end of a large Phillip's head screwdriver to give myself some leverage. Each night I was able to get another turn on the screws, and by the next night a little more butyl tape would have oozed from the joints.
At last the battle was won. Why, you might ask, did I bother to put butyl tape on all of these components? Because I didn't want water seeping down into the mast compression post. This would create rot and all sorts of problems that I had no interest in seeing in my newly refitted boat.
Now that I had completed this task, I could focus on the next one - the cutting of the base of the mast to the appropriate length for this new G-10 mast step and hinge. How I did this for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, is the subject of my next posting.

No comments:

Post a Comment