1953 Shepherd Sportsman 22′ Varnish Stripping Update

My wife keeps asking, “Why is it taking you so long to just strip the varnish from that Shepherd?”

Well, 22 feet long, almost 3 feet from chine to gunwale translate into lots and lots of surface area. Lots!
And, whoever varnished her last made sure the stain penetrated the mahogany, and then must have applied something like 18-20 coats of varnish.

I have complete a first pass on port and about 40 percent on starboard. Once the balance of the starboard side and the transom are denuded of all varnish and bottom paint, I will begin another lap using the Circa 1850 Heavy Bodied Stripper and stainless pot scrubbers to pull the stain out of the wood.

I have exhausted 3 gallons of Circa 1850 to this point, and expect to go through at least another 2 gallons before I have the topsides and transom down to truly bare wood.

As you see in the clip, and as is our custom, the spray rails have been released. Doing so is the only way to inform ourselves about the condition of the topside planking behind them. We are also afforded an opportunity to examine the fasteners – stainless square drive here – and toothpick the fastener holes with waterproof Gorilla Glue so the new fasteners have something to bite on after we have drilled new pilot holes and countersinks.
Even though they appear to be fine, never, ever will we use stainless fasteners at or below the waterline, or anywhere else on a wood boat save for hardware installation. Stainless is completely unforgiving, and they weaken very quickly when exposed to water, especially in an anaerobic environment.

For the same reasons we will likely replace the chine fasteners as well, but first it is slop on, scrape off, slop on, scrape off… So much fun.