Not many boat owners are looking for a spar that is 100 feet long. But for some vessels, like large, traditonally-rigged schooners, a tall spar is the only way to go. One of the places you can go to have one turned is the Spar Shop in Washington State. As a unit of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority (GHHSA) in Aberdeen, Wash., a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) public development authority that owns and operates the tall ships Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington, the Spar Shop provides training opportunities for at risk youth and supports living history programs focused on maritime heritage.
With its two sawmills, the shop specializes in turning traditional wooden masts and spars as well as custom columns and poles.
They work with tall shipowners, maritime museums and movie production companies and have built spars for the sloop Providence, schooners Virginia, Amistad, Bill of Rights, the brig Lady Washington and others. Using the largest tracer lathe in North America, the shop can turn logs up to 40 inches in diameter and 122 feet in length. Their saw mills can mill logs as large as six feet in diameter and more than 100 feet in length.
The company also offers custom fabrication services for movie sets, commercial buildings and museum exhibits. In partnership with GHHSA they offer a resource for researchers and boat builders who want to learn the intricacies of traditional wooden mast and spar building.
For more information visit www.thesparshop.org and www.historicalseaport.org.