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jfurlong 08-10-2013 01:03 PM

removing hull numbers
I need to remove old adhesive numbers from a fiberglass hull. the numbers have been in place for 16 years. Would the recommendation be heat, steam, or chemical? thx

PaulinVictoria 08-10-2013 01:29 PM

Re: removing hull numbers
Heat, then chemicals to remove any residue. Then try to find the exact same font to replace them again when you realise the hull is a different colour under them :)

blt2ski 08-10-2013 01:37 PM

Re: removing hull numbers
I found goof off with a reasonably fine "steel" wool equal worked really well after using a heat gun of some sort. I would also recommend one of the better plastic scrapers vs a steel scraper while removing the lettering with heat.

If it is not clear, find "steel" equals, not the real thing! That will generally speaking protect the hull best while still removing the material.


chuck53 08-10-2013 02:28 PM

Re: removing hull numbers
If you are replacing them with new numbers, do yourself a favor...instead of buying individual numbers/letters and trying to line them up, go to your local sign company and have your numbers made on one sheet. It will look better, easier to apply and might cost $5 more than buying numbers at the hardware store.

hellosailor 08-10-2013 06:12 PM

Re: removing hull numbers
jf, you can find "decal remover" at any auto parts store. Or use naphtha, which is the original solvent, or something higher end if you want to move faster. The companies that make the vinyl all say to use a heat gun, or the remover, or there's 3M's "eraser" wheel that you can buy in auto body shop supplies. That's a hard rubber grinding wheel you put in a drill, it will abrade the vinyl off without damaging the hull finish. I'd suggest the heat gun first, and patience. Chemicals on a vertical surface is always a mess.

If you go to a sign shop as Chuck suggests, make sure they are using exterior rated and guaranteed vinyl. The good stuff will have a 5-7 year guarantee on it. A white "plaque" with dark letters on it will hide all the old sins, because the old numbers WILL leave ghosts behind. The gelcoat has worn down around them, you'd need to refinish the hull to hide that.

northoceanbeach 08-11-2013 02:15 AM

Re: removing hull numbers
Definitely make them on a sign. Make that sign removable tok so in the future you do t have them numbers or the bleached paint where you removed them. My numbers are on a sign in my window. Now technically they are supposed to be permanently affixed, but I even called the coast guard and they said not to worry about it.

FinallySailing 08-11-2013 11:06 AM

Re: removing hull numbers
+1 on the eraser wheel. Got myself a cheap on (not 3M) to take away the boot stripe earlier this year. Worked an absolute treat. Make sure you wear a facemask and and overall. Lots of rubber dust everywhere.

sailak 08-11-2013 11:19 AM

Re: removing hull numbers
I changed the name on our boat earlier this year. Heat gun to soften the decal which peeled off fairly easily. Then "Professional Strength" Goof Off to soften the residual glue which scraped off with ease, little rub with a cloth soaked in Goof Off to tidy up. The old name decal had been on for probably 6-7 years.

Before pic:

After pic:

jfurlong 08-11-2013 01:10 PM

Re: removing hull numbers
Thanks all. I'll try the heat / solvent method. Just happen to have a new heat gun from a recent sole refinished. Good advice on the sign method.

northoceanbeach 08-12-2013 01:14 AM

Re: removing hull numbers
Careful that some of those solvents don't take off anything you don't want taken off. Good off must work. I accidentally touched it to a decal on my bike at it smeared the decal right off.

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