by Jerry Petersen
I acquired a 1954 Shepherd 24 Hardtop earlier this year and used it on the pre-MAC2000 cruise without problems. When I started preparing the bottom for a coat of paint this fall, I found the transom boards to be loose and the bottom one had a bad crack. I originally planned to limit my fix to replacement of only the bottom transom board, but upon its removal, a badly rotten bottom transom frame was exposed. After removing all the transom boards, it was clear that the entire transom frame was beyond repair; hence total replacement was called for.
Evidently, Shepherd build their frames out of layered four-quarter mahogany planks screwed together without sealing any of the wood. This was not very farsighted!! It assured that the inner frame surfaces would stay moist and that rot be a sure thing in the timeframe we now have for using their classics. I guess back then, if a boat lasted ten years, that was good enough. Fortunately, the keel, stringers, and chines are white oak and seem to be in excellent shape.
As the photos show, I currently have nothing but a gaping hole at the stern of the boat! I will be replacing all of the original unsealed mahogany transom frames with white oak frames sealed with CEPS. It will be an all-winter project. There are lots of bends and curves, hence Im taking my Carol K GarWood utility that I had at the 2000 Rendezvous, to Mt. Dora in March instead of the Swingin Shepherd. My project deadline is to have Shepherd ready for the Tennessee River Cruise in conjunction with the ACBS National Meeting in Chattanooga, TN in September 2001.
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