how do you remove old boat lettering - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 44 Old 03-21-2009
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Auto body shops. that have to remove pin stripes and graphics, use a 3M product that looks like a round rubber wheel that fits into an electric drill. It removes the vinyl and adhesive and does not damage the gel coat. I used it to remove waterline stripe and lettering and it works as advertised. It's available in auto body supply stores.
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3M 7501 - Disc Pinstripe Removal
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post #22 of 44 Old 03-22-2009
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I just used a window scraper - a razor blade in a plastic holder for a dollar or two, and took off any glue with meths. Other solvents may be better but this worked ok. I would have used a heat gun but two have gone phutt in 4 months. It came off easily.
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post #23 of 44 Old 03-22-2009
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Originally Posted by ADMTROX View Post
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?
Well, I tried different lengths of time. Tried it at 10 min, 30 min, and 1 hour-ish. Not much varied, just a little bit of paint at a time with the plastic razor blade (trying not to harm the gelcoat).

What kind of scrubbie did you use? Maybe a little friction would help.

1984 Sabre 34 Mk I
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post #24 of 44 Old 07-21-2009
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Thumbs up Removing Vinyl Lettering & Its Ghostly Shadow??

I am involved with the SeaScouts in Mobile, AL and we recently had one of our boats hauled for bottom maintenance. While on blocks in the yard, the transom was facing the afternoon sun which provided just enough heat for us to easily lift the vinyl lettering off.

Since I'm sure not everyone will be so lucky, I'll add that my stepdad has a sign business and often makes lettering, etc. for friends and family members' who have a need for that sort of thing. Normally, we would use a heat gun or blowdryer (on hot) to heat up the vinyl. Once hot, it is easily lifted with a plastic squeege and (if necessary, to peel up edges to get you started) a pair of pointed tweezers. Rubbing alcohol and a clean rag (towel or baby diaper) will work to remove any excess adhesive left on the bow or transom. Keep your heat gun or blowdryer handy during this stage as I've found it helps to keep the adhesive pliable and you won't have to use as much elbow grease.

My question is... how do you get rid of the shadow left behind once the numbers or letters are gone? Should you wax/buff them out prior to putting new numbers/letters on? Or apply the new vinyl and then wax/buff?

Any suggestions, instructions, input would be greatly appreciated!!
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post #25 of 44 Old 07-21-2009
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I am involved with the SeaScouts in Mobile, AL and we recently had one of our boats hauled for bottom maintenance. While on blocks in the yard, the transom was facing the afternoon sun which provided just enough heat for us to easily lift the vinyl lettering off.

Since I'm sure not everyone will be so lucky, I'll add that my stepdad has a sign business and often makes lettering, etc. for friends and family members' who have a need for that sort of thing. Normally, we would use a heat gun or blowdryer (on hot) to heat up the vinyl. Once hot, it is easily lifted with a plastic squeege and (if necessary, to peel up edges to get you started) a pair of pointed tweezers. Rubbing alcohol and a clean rag (towel or baby diaper) will work to remove any excess adhesive left on the bow or transom. Keep your heat gun or blowdryer handy during this stage as I've found it helps to keep the adhesive pliable and you won't have to use as much elbow grease.

My question is... how do you get rid of the shadow left behind once the numbers or letters are gone? Should you wax/buff them out prior to putting new numbers/letters on? Or apply the new vinyl and then wax/buff?

Any suggestions, instructions, input would be greatly appreciated!!
Well, since this is a revived thread I participated in, I'll take a shot at replying.

Our lettering was painted on, but either way, it leaves a ghost image if it's been there long enough. In our case, the gelcoat was not only a slightly different color, it was also raised where the lettering had been.

To cure this problem, we wet sanded the entire transom. This would be harder to do if the lettering is on the sides of the hull. If I recall correctly, we wet-sanded with 600, then 800, then 1200. Then we compounded the entire thing to remove the tiny sanding scratches. Then we applied new lettering.

Two things: use a sanding block, and be very careful not to overdo it. You don't want to sand through your gelcoat!

This worked for us...

1984 Sabre 34 Mk I
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post #26 of 44 Old 07-22-2009
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I used paint remover on a rag and scotchbrite pads and then a final wipe down with a paint thinner wetted rag for the last of the residue to remove the painted on letters of our first boat. That effort took a whole lot of elbow grease.

Our current boat had vinyl lettering including a graphic with lots of little bits. I took that off by peeling and scraping with a thumbnail. It was easier than the painted on letters but I would have paid $20 for one of those plastic razorblades if I knew there was such a thing. My thumb was sore for days.

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post #27 of 44 Old 07-30-2009
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Some people use WD40 to remove stickers from cars and motorcycles. Just soaking the sticker with WD40 is sometimes enough to remove it. If not, the sticker can be heated with a blow drier and more WD40 applied. The sticker usually needs to be pulled slowly so that it doesn't tear apart. WD40 usually doesn't damage paint.
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post #28 of 44 Old 11-20-2011
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Old thread but I just read it before removing my own lettering.

I had vinyl lettering over a painted hull. I think it's been there 10+ years and it came off easier than I expected. I found that heat wasn't needed but it made it a lot easier. However there was a pretty narrow range of temperatures that worked well to remove the vinyl but didn't risk bubbling the paint.

After removing the letters brush cleaner (toluene, which I find to be fantastic for cleaning) got rid of the remaining adhesive easily. After it was all done there was barely any evidence of the old letters. It probably took an hour or two.
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post #29 of 44 Old 11-20-2011
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I thought that I would need heat to remove old vinyl lettering. I was pleasantly surprised that by carefully lifting a corner of the vinyl with a blade I could peel the vinyl off. I think that it had been there for about eight years. Definitely try that first.

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post #30 of 44 Old 11-21-2011
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A good thread for those who have vinyl lettering on a gelcoat finish.
Our boat was painted with Awlgrip and has the name, license number and yacht club of the privious owner painted on it.
Other than sanding the entire boat and repainting it I am at a loss as to what to do. I want to change the name, get rid of the RVYC and change the license number without needlessly repainting the entire boat. Any idea's?
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