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Very old Shepherd - any ideas?

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lauritstherkildsen
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:03 pm

Very old Shepherd - any ideas?

Post by lauritstherkildsen » Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:47 am

Hello!

My endeavors into the wooden boat world recently took a turn down (or up?) a lesser traveled road.

I have acquired a few Chris Crafts over the last 6 months that I am planning on restoring. But then - by chance - I was offered to buy a very elegant looking 17' Shepherd. My curiosity got he best of me, and she is now sitting in my driveway.

She has clearly seen her fair share (and then some) of boat "restorers" over the years, and I'm now left with the task of figuring out what parts of her is original and what is "post production add-ons". I know that the aluminum on her keel - and the black sikaflex kind of goo that she has been waterproofed with - isn't something she was born with.

As far as both I and the previous owner knows she's build in 1937. I have no concrete confirmation regarding this though. I have been looking online for some information regarding the placement of the hull number, and I have only found numbers under her wooden intake scoops. "53". That's all it says. (and actually, on one of the scoops the number "3" was upside-down so that I initially thought it was a "8").

When I measure her, she might be a bit longer than 17 feet. Perhaps she's a 17.5 or 18.

She has been badly damaged at some point in her life, and who ever patched her up (there might have been more than one of these incidents) perhaps didn't have the time to do the repairs with the same accuracy and elegance as she was originally constructed. It's very easy to point fingers at a bad repair, but I don't know the history behind it, and if that "repair" hadn't been done 20-30-40-? years ago there might even be a boat today!

So, long story short, I know this is a Chris Craft forum, but I also know that there is a lot of knowledge out there, and I really really need all the information I can get regarding my new fling.

By the way, her engine - a Fireball 90 - is believed to be the original one, and it is currently residing in the capable hands of Robert Henkel in Michigan.

I will try to upload some pictures as soon as possible.

Thanks guys.

Best,

Laurits

lauritstherkildsen
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:03 pm

Re: Very old Shepherd - any ideas?

Post by lauritstherkildsen » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:21 pm

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipM ... 1mOW14Mmpn

I think you should be able to see the pictures here. Otherwise please let me know.

I any of you would like me to take pictures showing other parts of the boat, just let me know and I'll try to take some.

Thanks again.

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Captain Nemo
Posts: 645
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:40 pm
Location: Lyons, NY

Re: Very old Shepherd - any ideas?

Post by Captain Nemo » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:07 pm

Congrats on your recent acquisitions, you must be very ambitious. :) You could start your Shepherd research with www.shepherdboats.com looks like a good place to start.
Boats are to be made of wood, otherwise, God would have grown fiberglass trees.

lauritstherkildsen
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:03 pm

Re: Very old Shepherd - any ideas?

Post by lauritstherkildsen » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:48 pm

I am. I'm too young and naïve not to be. And my grandmother used to say: "Lediggang er roden til alt ondt" - directly translated to "Inoccupancy is the root of all evil". Basically the Danish way of saying that "the devil makes work for idle hands".

The shepherdboats.com was one of the first pages I visited. According to that page, the hull number could be stamped in the stem of the boat or under the wooden intake scoops. Unfortunately, the stem has been replaced some time back - my guess based on the screws and other components would be 20-30 years ago - and the number is therefore lost on that piece of wood. So the number that has been stamped on the back of the wooden scoops might be the hull number even though it doesn't really look the same as the example listed in the FAQ on the shepherdboats.com. It doesn't say "17 (or 18)/053" or "37/17/053". It just says "53"

If my boat is indeed hull number 53 ever build, it might not be that unrealistic that she is actually from 1937. And as far as I can tell from the hull registry on shepherdboats.com, that would make her one of the oldest surviving Shepherds.

Compared to other Shepherds, her engine compartment vents are a bit different. However, I do believe that the deck and transom planking are the original wood, and so therefore the vents must be original as well.

If she is indeed build around '37 in Canada, the supply of mahogany must have been in short supply due to the great depression, and that could be the reason for the short planks from the helm station and forward. It could also be a repair. That's one of the many questions I'm hoping to find an answer to.

So if anyone out there has an idea, a clue or just a comment, please let me know...!

-Laurits

lauritstherkildsen
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:03 pm

Re: Very old Shepherd - any ideas?

Post by lauritstherkildsen » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:05 pm

A little update on the old Shepherd:

The short planking from the helm station and forward are definitely the result of a coarse repair a long time ago. Short pieces of roughly cut planking has been inserted in the middle of the forwardmost original planking. Since this is the same on both sides of the boat - and since the old mahogany frames in this area has been replaced with very coarsely fitted new frames of oak - it is safe to say, that the boat has had some sort of very substantial damage to the area just around the windshield. My guess - and it is only a guess at this point - is that she was left unattended on a rocky shoreline banging against the rocks or that she was in some sort of car-crash. I'll try to send some new pictures once she has been "undressed".

Some of the "new" wood is already infested with dry rot, so it'a probably an older "fix". Also the seams in the "repair" was filled with white sikaflex. The sikaflex doesn't seem to have been covered in varnish at any point, so the boat was probably abandoned sometime after the "fix" but before varnishing. If the boat has been left alone in a barn somewhere while being completely stripped of any varnish, than that could explain the deterioration of the wood.

I have decided to try to save as much of the old mahogany. It is my assessment that it has lost a lot of it's structural integrity due to cracks, (very!)heavy sanding, weathering and old age, and a safety-concern arises there from. I think, that the solution to the problem is going to be to create room for a thin sheet of marine plywood behind the original planking so that the combined structural integrity of the hull will be as good as new - or perhaps even a bit better. Basically a 3M5200 bottom, sides, transom and decks.

How will that effect the judging at a boat show, you recon? I know, that the 5200 bottoms are accepted today without "penalty" in the scores. But what about sides, decks and transom?

Best,

Laurits

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