Looking for some advice on how to the rub strip from my Keith Steele boat. It looks to be nailed on. It is coated with a lot of paint so I dont know if I should expect to encounter screws as well. I briefly tried to tap a screwdriver behind the rub strip to pry it but the wood on this boat is so, so dry that I was sure I would damage it badly if I forced it. Any thoughts?

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Assuming the rub strip is plywood try using a sharp wood chisel with a mallot and peel off the individual layers with it.  Be aware of the nail/screw locations so as not to smuck up the chisel.  When you get down to the last layer that may be glued to the sides switch to a belt sander to remove the remaining wood. That should remove the nails/screws too with minimal damage to the sides.

Hope this helps,


Borrow your neighbors power planer , once you get close finish with belt sander.

Oh wait, so y'all are saying that it is glued to the boat? I was hoping to remove it, refinish it and put it back on. No?


First things first, you'll need to determine if it's glued to the sides.  Use a 2"-3" wide putty knife or one of those flat pry bars to see if it's going to come off.  Ditch the screw driver.  

If you want to remove it in one piece and it's glued to the hull try applying heat with a heat gun to soften the glue.  You use a propane flame to apply heat and you'll cook the wood too.

The only other choice is to refinish it on the boat, which might be the simplest way.

FYI, Rub strips aren't really needed with trailers with fenders.  They were added in the old days to protect the sides from tire rubbing as the boat was transported to and from the rivers.  



PS:  How about a picture of what you have there?  It always gives us a better idea of what you are up against.

Thanks Dorf! I appreciate your response. I have another thread going with some pics of the boat. (Drift Boat Project #3) I am just in the very beginning stage of the restoration but my plan is to bring it back to original condition as much as possible. Having said that, I am leaning towards epoxy and glass on the outside for a number of reasons. Therefore, I really need to remove the transom trim, chine caps, rub strips, gunnels, etc. I'd like to refurbish as much of the original as possible rather than making new pieces, although I can make them from new wood if necessary.

Here is a pic of what I have stripped so far...

Attached is a picture of the how the rub strip nails are spaced on my 1966 Keith Steele boat.  No sign of glue, but could still be there.

Bill K


Thank you again, Bill. The pics you are sending are very helpful. Is the upholstery on your boat original or at least correctly redone? Sometime I would really like to see pics of your seat backs, seat cushion and knee locks if you have time to send them to me. The vinyl on mine is blue but I read somewhere that Keith Steele only used white. Do you know if that is true?

Also wondering how you know your boat is a 1966. Is there some way of knowing that or do you just have the first hand info on your boat in particular. Steve Steele looked my boat over but all he could confirm is that it is pre-1970.


Keith Steele build my boat for me in the spring of 1966, so that's how I know its age.   Boats manufactured after 11/1/72 had to have capacity plates and since yours does not, you know that it was built before that.  Without a history, there is probably no way to pinpoint a model year as Keith's boats were pretty much all the same.

Here's some things that I think are true when Keith build my boat:

-Keith did not normally finish boats, they came unfinished.

-Keith did upholster the knee locks, but didn't any other upholstery work.  I've attached a copy of my knee locks.  There were originally white, but I switched to green when the white wore out.  The level is not original, nor is the shelf under the fly deck.

-Keith's boats did not include an anchor system, that was up to the purchaser.

I've also attached a picture of the original seat backs, and picture of my boat outfitted for lake fishing.

I am a fisherman and not a boat purist, so have added modifications so that I can reconfigure the boat for lake fishing or back trolling with an electric motor, or bigger river fishing with a 4 horse gas motor.  I think one of the best thinks about a drift boat is its versatility, although I know some wooden boat people would shudder at the thought of attaching a motor.

In any case, I am happy to provide what ever help I can.  Let me know if you have more questions or would like more pictures.

Bill K


Thank you, sir. I learn more every day. Did you do the upholstery yourself?

I've done this and would not do it again. The strip is very likely nailed on (mine was - 1970 KS boat). You can do everything you need to do with careful work with a chisel and sanding.


......ok, I did a reread and see the why listed. Good luck with your project CW

I missed the "why" you need to remove the rub strip in any of your posts but would you lets us know?



Thanks, Mitchell.

Having fun so far and learning much from all of you.


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