Join Date: May 2002
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I took old vinyl lettering off the transom of my boat with a razor blade. You can round off the corners of the blade with a file to make it even less likely that you will gouge the gelcoat. There will be adhesive left on the hull, which will come off easily with acetone.
Actually, getting vinyl lettering off is the easy part; its more difficult to deal with the inevitable shadows left on the gelcoat due to the uneven weathering caused by their placement. My suggestion is that you get yourself some Marine compound (stuff made for fiberglass), and try to even out the coloring as best you can. You have to be careful; as you try to lighten the areas under the old letters to match the color of the surrounding hull, you will also be lightening the area around the old letters, potentially making the entire area a different color than the rest of the hull. You won't be able to make everything look the same, but you can make it look better. Unfortunately for you, your hull is yellow, which may highlight the shadow effect of the old letters and any attempt to even it out. The bright side is that it is like a bad haircut: it may not look too good now, but eventually, nature takes care of it. The sun and salt water will fade the shadows, and it will take a close inspection to show there were ever decals there at all.