How do I get the soft eye splices in the ends of the shrouds to fit over my Gunter mast?
You can have this problem if the top section of the gunter mast which the shrouds loop over is a little oversize, or if the eye splices are a little too small, or both. Gunter masts were made by a number of different suppliers so there are bound to be small differences in top section size. The same applies to rigging which often is a replacement of the original galvanised wire. Also the soft eyes are always a sort of pear shape, so never fit the round top section perfectly.
If the shrouds are in poor condition and need replacing, ask your rigging shop for new ones with slightly larger eyes that are a snug fit over the top section.
If the shrouds are in good condition, then the best option is to reduce the size of the top section of the wooden mast or topmast plug slightly so the shrouds fit snugly. I would suggest removing the excesss wood with a sharp chisel, a rasp or even rough sandpaper. Keep checking to see if the shrouds fit so you don't take off more than you need to avoid any risk of weakening the mast. Don't forget to re-varnish anywhere you have removed wood to keep the mast in good condition.