how do you remove old boat lettering - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 44 Old 03-17-2009
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Please note that all the above replies assume that the boat hull is not painted, not a bad assumption as the the OP is not specific. These answers do not apply to removing a name from a painted hull.

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post #12 of 44 Old 03-17-2009
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Great point by SailingFool. Like most, I always assume gelcoat first, even though my boat is painted.

That said, my last foray into vinyl letter removal was most successful using a hair dryer on a warm day. When I used a heat gun, the letters tore when I tried to peel them. The hair dryer got them just warm enough to soften the adhesive. Some goof off finished the job. Because that part of the gelcoat was protected form the sun, the fiberglass under the letters was brighter than the surrounding areas.
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post #13 of 44 Old 03-17-2009
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You may also find that the fiberglass under the old lettering stands just a hair taller than the surrounding area that has been attacked by the sun over the years. I used 600 grit wet/dry to knock it down and blend it into the surrounding area. That will also help the old name disappear - otherwise, the color difference and the slight elevation difference might be obvious for a while.
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post #14 of 44 Old 03-18-2009
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I removed the vinyl lettering on the Midnite Sun, which has an Awlgrip painted hull, just this last fall. I tried all the various solutions which claimed they would remove lettering/bumper stickers/ etc., along with plastic razor blades to protect the paint/hull....none of it worked. They all sucked.

The only solution I found satisfactory was the heat gun. Use it on the lowest setting and keep it moving so as not to create any hotspots or damage the hull in any way. Do one or two letters at a time. Then use a plastic putty spreader with a beveled edge, that you get from any hardware store, to get under the edge of the sticker. If you get it right after heat application, and you peel slowly and very gently/smoothly, the lettering should peel right off. If it rips, use the putty spreader to get the small bits off.

After removing the lettering use a citrus based cleaner to remove the residual glue. The non-petroleum based stuff they sell in the auto parts store for removing tar from auto bodies works well.

My lettering had been on the boat at least 15 years and came off no problem using the above method.

Brett
S/V Liberty
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post #15 of 44 Old 03-18-2009
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I had no problems removing old vinyl lettering with a single edge razor blade. No muss, no fuss, no gelcoat scratching. I read about someone who also rounded the corners of the blade before doing the same thing to make it even less likely the gelcoat would be damaged. I removed the adhesive residue with acetone.

As others have mentioned, the hull under the letters was slightly raised and less faded than the surrounding area. I used marine compound to try and rub it down to a uniform height and color, but didn't go too far; I decided to let the sun take care of making things a uniform color. After a couple of years, it is almost impossible to see where the old letters were.
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post #16 of 44 Old 03-18-2009
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just did my name and stripes

i used a wagner wall paper steamer. once i got an edge up i pulled it up as i moved the steamer down the stripe. worked pretty well, the name was easier than the stripes

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post #17 of 44 Old 03-18-2009
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I also have lettering and stripes

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Originally Posted by duality View Post
i used a wagner wall paper steamer. once i got an edge up i pulled it up as i moved the steamer down the stripe. worked pretty well, the name was easier than the stripes

mike
This is a timely thread. I have letters and stripes to remove but I'm not sure if I have a painted or gel coat surface. It looks too smooth to be a roll/brush paint job but it still could be a good spray painted job.

Anyway, if I'm following correctly, I could still use my heat gun as long as I'm careful not to over heat the paint? The stripes will be the hard part. Multiple stripes, 4 I think, each a full inch wide the full length.
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post #18 of 44 Old 03-19-2009
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You can pick-up plastic razor blades at any auto paint supply house in your area. They cost pennies and no shipping charges.

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post #19 of 44 Old 03-21-2009
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Hey everyone, I hope you don't mind me tagging along at the end of this thread. I just tried removing the old painted boat name with the Easy Off method (Heavy Duty original formula), with not so great results. Some of the paint came off, with heavy scraping with a plastic razor blade, but not very easily. And after two applications, letting it sit for a good while, most of the paint is still there.

Any suggestions on what to try next? Looking to try not to damage the gelcoat--just want to get the old name off! Ideas?
Thanks!
-J

1984 Sabre 34 Mk I
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post #20 of 44 Old 03-21-2009
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The easy off worked well for me. I could not let it sit too long and used a scrubbie to assist. Is it possible you let it sit too long?
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