Vinyl Lettering Removal from Awlgrip - SailNet Community

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Old 07-14-2010
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Vinyl Lettering Removal from Awlgrip

I'm a first-time boat owner as of this year, so allow me to begin with the standard newbie preamble: "forgive me if this is a ridiculous question".

The time has come for me to change the name on the boat of which I have now become owner. Her hull and transom are finished in flag blue Awlgrip, I believe within the last 6-8 years. I've read a number of SailNet posts regarding the do's (Awlcare) and don'ts (abrasives, machine buffers) of Awlgrip upkeep, with due thanks to Maine_Sail I might add. Here's my question:

After I remove the current vinly lettering from the transom, I imagine the "ghost" of the old name and hailing port will still be noticeable. I'm hoping there's something I can do to even out the fading/oxidation on the transom before I afix the new lettering. Any recommendations, shy of a new Awlgrip job? Is Awlcare combined with enough elbow grease enough to get the job done? I've read varying things about 3M Finesse-It. . .maybe a little bit of that followed by some Awlcare for protection (again, all hand applied)?

Much obliged. . .
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Old 07-14-2010
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Nope... really nothing you can do about it. You'd be best off to just let the old name fade out.
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Ive used the 3M finesse it and I can't see anyway it would hurt any painted surface. That is what its designed for.


Mitch
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really not a good idea on an awlgripped hull.
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Originally Posted by mitchbrown View Post
Ive used the 3M finesse it and I can't see anyway it would hurt any painted surface. That is what its designed for.


Mitch
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saildog

Why?
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If you use an abrasive compound on Awlgrip, you stand a very good chance of damaging the outer layer of the cured paint. This is the same reason why you're not supposed to buff Awlgrip, much less use an abrasive like Finnesse-it. Once you damage the outer layer, it will be pretty obvious and the only real way to fix it is to RE-PAINT.
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I had the same issue with our new boat. There is a way to have the Awlgrip buffed/sanded out, but you have to really know what you are doing. In other words, you would have to pay someone who really knows how to work with the paint. And even then, I was told that there would still be a ghost left.

Our paint was midnight blue and four years old. I opted to just live with it and put the new name over the same locations. Turned out that about 80-90% of the ghost was covered and the remaining was really tough to see anyway.
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Saildog

So I guess what you are saying, that Awlgrip doesn't harden or cure all the way thru, like paint does. So lets say I buffed awlgrip and removed .002 in thickness and the overall thickness was .010 what would the consistency of the underlying awlgrip be.
Maybe with awlgrip they use a clear coat as the final finish and that could explain it if the clear coat was the hard surface and the awlgrip was a very soft under paint.
Im just trying to understand why awlgrip is different than other types of paint.

Mitch
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I know precious little about Awlgrip (hence my post of this thread). Still, there's a reply that Maine_Sail posted to a thread back in Feb. 2009 that was extremely educational regarding the nature (and chemistry) of Awlgrip. If you can find it, Mitch, you'll probably find it about as informative as I did. I'd insert the link here but I'm so new to the forum that I haven't yet earned the permissions necessary to add links!

From what I gather, the issue with Finesse-It (or any abrasive really) is that it's apt to damage Awlgrip's protective outer layer which is apparently quite thin. Once that's been compromised, it's seemingly near impossible to hit the "undo" button (though posts to other threads suggest that staying on top of it with Awlcare seems to avert any noticeable problem).

I may need to go a similar route as Windward: try to cover the old name as best I can with the new one and just live with what I can't cover (maybe give it my best shot with a good Awlcare rubbing beforehand).
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Ackward, there are two ways to make it pretty. The "right" way is to have the transom resprayed but of course that's money. If there's a shop near you that does a lot of paint work, you might approach them and ask "What would it cost...if I brought my boat in sometime when you were already spraying blue? Or when things are slow?" since Flag Blue is a popular color, and a transom is a short job that can fill a hole in the schedule.

Or, you put a "plaque" over the area where the old name was. A circle, rectangle, ellipse, whatever, of vinyl to hide the mismatched area, and then you apply your new name on top of that, so it looks like you added the background intentionally. Could be a white background and blue lettering...gold background...whatever might look good.

You could also just buy a can of Awlgrip, try to roll-n-tip on the transom yourself. Since it is a small job, the worst that would happen is you're back to step #1 and having the shop sand and spray for you.
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