Deconstruction 2 (Mast Project)

When last you saw us, we looked like this: Once the mast was secure on the dock and the storm passed, it was time to remove the mast step.  In order to do so, we first had to remove the compression posts below decks. In the picture above, the compression posts are the pieces of wood standing vertical.  They have a curve to them that makes them wider at the top.  Note the bar sitting across them at the top.  The mast step is bolted to the deck via the holes you can see (sort of) in the picture, but two of the bolts come through the mast step, through the deck, and through the compression bar, where the washers and nuts appear.  Of course, you can’t see that, because the compression posts are right underneath those nuts.  This is the whole reason we have to take everything apart – because we couldn’t tighten the bolts from the top and we couldn’t get to the nuts from below. The compression posts are well supported by the bulkheads (one of which is cracked, remember?) and so we commenced to scraping paint away where we thought the fasteners would be.  Then we dug out the bondo-type filler someone had packed on top of the screw heads.  Then we tried to move 50 year old bronze fasteners in damp, swollen wood.  Every fastener was an adventure. Turns out the compression posts were attached to the bulkhead, but also to the door frame for the head.  We ended up struggling 24 of these fasteners out of the two posts. Once we had all the fasteners out, the posts creaked their way free.  First the aft post… Note that the wood is darker at the top – that’s where water has been leaking in.  The[…]

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