Is Poplar Strong Enough?

by Bob
(Cape Cod)

I am building an optimist dinghy with my grandson.

I have materials for the boom, but I am wondering about the mast and sprit.

I can get a 2 inch poplar pole and a 1 inch poplar pole.

Would these be strong enough for the mast and sprit respectively?

Thanks for any advice. Bob

Comments for Is Poplar Strong Enough?

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Aug 04, 2012
Optimist Mast and Sprit
by: Mike

Sorry Bob but I must agree with Ben, Poplar is not particularly durable, it’s not really suitable for use outdoors.

It also has low shock resistance and bending strength, so definitely not suitable for the sprit.

It is also a fairly soft ‘hardwood’ with a low density so I suspect it would wear quickly where the sprit and mast rub.

Better to use a spruce such as Sitka or scots pine.

However, much as I personally would prefer a wooden mast and sprit, it might be worth your while having a check to see what second hand rigs are for sale.

A lot of kids start off with a basic rig, then get the racing bug and want a hot racing rig, so they put their old rig up for sale.

You might find that when you cost out the price of timber, sail cloth, fittings and your time that it is cheaper to purchase one of these basic rigs.

Aug 04, 2012
by: Ben

I'd say no.

Poplar is rot susceptible.

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