Cast aluminum spreader base repair?

agcowvet

New member
1970s Cape Dory 25. Direct replacement not available, updated version available at rigrite for $280 (!)

I do not know how this broke, this is a boat long on the hard that I am attempting to revive. The small piece had screws in it, the large piece did not (but was held by the bolt.)

Can this be welded? Experience with same? Other options? Mast profile of Spartan CD-3, Kenyon E, or Dwyer DM-450

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El Borracho

Verified User
6,659
2,635
Pacific Rim
Glue it together and take it to your local foundry. They will use it as a pattern and cast a new one. Last time I did something like this it was less than $50.
I did not know that was generally available in the first world. Good to know. Alloy does shrink considerably in casting (6%?) but tape or Bondo can be used to add material where vital — like around the socket and where it cracked.

Also a welder with a scrap pile should be able to bang out a roughly similar one pretty quick. Especially if that recess on the back is not needed..
 
I would get some quotes, certainly looks like it can be welded but with things being the way they are might cost more than a new one in labor. Also could be fabbed or cast. Best bet would be a nice shop to weld it up but you never know.

Would note small foundries are like boat shops a dying breed, the local one here in PT has a owner who is about as nice as you can get so still does what he can to help people.
 

sailak

Super Anarchist
2,872
47
AK
No one is going to touch that $50. Most people and shops have to work for a living.
Maybe a local vocational school or high school shop would if they are still allowed to interface with public

I wouldn't attempt a weld on aluminum cast rigging. If it was a flagstaff holder or something maybe... Just a quick look at sendcutsend.com shows a 1/4" plate of 6061 aluminum with 4 holds looks like around $20. Weld a pipe section to it and good to go but it would look different, so maybe replace the other side too.
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,641
5,607
Canada
Don't try to weld an aluminum casting. Sheesh. Especially a 30 year old one.

Sailak's advise is far simpler. Flat aluminum plate. You can cut it with a jigsaw and a good bi-metal blade. Drill 4 holes. Bang it with a hammer to conform to mast shape. Weld on a stub of pipe to hold the spreader end. Welding is the only bit you can't do at home.
 

LakeBoy

Random Internet Guy
I'm with Sailak & Zonker. Make a replacement. Either aluminum or stainless steel.

Are the spreaders straight out from the mast or aft swept? If straight, would it be possible to simply put a hole through the mast and a single tube serving as both spreaders? Affix the mast position on the continuous spreader with a couple of washers and cotter pins in the spreader.
 

Blitzen

Member
I'm with Sailak & Zonker. Make a replacement. Either aluminum or stainless steel.

Are the spreaders straight out from the mast or aft swept? If straight, would it be possible to simply put a hole through the mast and a single tube serving as both spreaders? Affix the mast position on the continuous spreader with a couple of washers and cotter pins in the spreader.
That's exactly how Lightning spreaders are set up - with a stainless bar.

Nickels Boatworks (google for online store) has them - but you may need a longer bar. They also have delrin collars and spreader tips.

Allen Boat Company has them as well - but not an online store.
 

agcowvet

New member
Straight, not swept, but tangs for lowers mount on the through bolt. That's why the back is relieved a bit. Don't quite trust that to a setup like the Lightning, but thanks for the ideas!
 

pdqsailor1

New member
21
11
Toronto
Cast aluminium can indeed be TIG welded.. also a patch of thin aluminium plate can be placed over the top and permitter welded for additional strength - a hole will need to be bored for the base... If all else fails a new one can be fabricated from a plate and tube welded to each other and a bit of machine work.. its not that complex a shape or a fitting.. You can also check on some stanchion bases which are quite similar to this fitting.. When TIG welding typically a bit of a V grove is ground and the rig welding fills up the groove then it is ground flush on the top and the same thing cane done from the back side.. then you end up with a very strong part... be warned welding services are not inexpensive... it takes many years of skill to be a good welder..
 

Naldini

New member
14
0
Seattle
Some interesting opinions on here and to me they all have merit - replacing is 'easier' than fixing but depends on budget. If this were me I'd try to fix the existing component (but have access to a stick welder). It's actually possible to stick weld aluminum (DC-EN only I think? have never done it myself though), seems to not be pretty but it works. Don't know why the age of the casting would matter for welding it but I'm not experienced with this kind of stuff (aluminum/metals in general).
Otherwise it seems like this piece is pretty simple (flat plate mated with a piece of pipe?). It would still require some welding but a new piece could probably be fabricated fairly easy from either aluminum or maybe stainless steel (with a plastic spacer/washer to prevent corrosion)?
Good luck OP
 

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