Removing painted letters - SailNet Community

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Old 04-22-2013
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Removing painted letters

On the transom are painted on letters, can I remove them with thinner on a rag with out doing harm to the surface below the letters?

Yes a noob question, thats because I am new to this

Any suggestion will be appreciated, thanks.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Removing painted letters

a lot of it depends on what they are painted on with
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Removing painted letters

Oven cleaner works well. Mask the area with a plastic sheet below the letter so the old paint can flow off without running down the rest of the transom.

Don't be surprised to find that the gelcoat below the old name is factory new while the rest of the hull has slightly yellowed with time.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Removing painted letters

Ditto the oven cleaner comment. I have used it on my boat (at the bow and transom) and it works like a charm. It may take two of three applications to get it all. The area under the letters will be a bit darker but not noticeable and the difference improves with time. There may also be a very slightly raised area under the letters, but again, not really noticeable.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Easy Off isn't "Easy Off"

I have painted letters on my boat that are starting to fade, crack and peel. Tried the Easy Off approach last night with no success. A little comes off, but not much. I even let it sit for 5 minutes and no enhanced results.

The Admiral recalls that the PO said the letters were painted on with "automotive" paint, which means it could be urethane,acrylic,enamel, epoxy,etc.

So I need a safe way, besides Easy Off, that I can use on gel coat, to get these off. Would one of the Soy-based strippers work? I could probably sand them off with 1000 grit, but then I have to recondition the original gel coat on a 1979 boat in that area.

Thanks.

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Re: Removing painted letters

If your going to use a course pad to do the scrubbing/rubbing might I suggest you get your hands on a circular pad for a floor buffer. Most commercial cleaning companies use them. The pads come in many different grades from hard to soft and won't do damage to the hard surface underneath the letters (f'glass gel coat, hard clear coat ect). Imagine buffing a highly polished timber floor...no room for error there!. I sprayed fish oil on my mums car once ( door jams,hinges ect) cause she lived next to a beach. Good for stopping rust, not easy to clean off though especially when road dust adheres to it. I used a piece of buffing pad with WD40, got the stuff off quick smart (perfect for removing tar spots also). It actually did a fine job of buffing the clearcoat while I was at it! I was AMAZED!!! I wouldn't suggest you use thinners as that may eat into the coating underneath as well as lettering (I painted my car recently and thinners stripped the lettering of my number plates with 1 wipe over...oops). Trick is to test a small non obvious area first if using thinners, might need to buff & polish afterwards. Regular household scourers and scotch bright pads will also scratch the underlying coating which means more fine sanding and buffing too. Start with a light chemical, don't go straight for the thinners. Using a light chemical like WD40 means you might have to use a bit more effort and may take a bit longer whereas thinners will cut through real quick...maybe too quick. Oven cleaner is caustic/acidic, I'd be wary of it.

Last edited by djaustralia; 04-22-2013 at 10:15 AM.
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Re: Easy Off isn't "Easy Off"

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrB View Post
I have painted letters on my boat that are starting to fade, crack and peel. Tried the Easy Off approach last night with no success. A little comes off, but not much. I even let it sit for 5 minutes and no enhanced results.

The Admiral recalls that the PO said the letters were painted on with "automotive" paint, which means it could be urethane,acrylic,enamel, epoxy,etc.

So I need a safe way, besides Easy Off, that I can use on gel coat, to get these off. Would one of the Soy-based strippers work? I could probably sand them off with 1000 grit, but then I have to recondition the original gel coat on a 1979 boat in that area.

Thanks.

DrB
"auto paint', I didn't read that in the OP? There was no mention of the type of paint.
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Re: Removing painted letters

You could try a plastic razor blade (ScrapeRite Polycarbonate Plastic Razor Blades), but suspect you may need to go the chemical route. Oven Cleaner definitely works and doesn't hurt the gel coat, but I'll admit it made me nervous the one time I did it. Use gloves -- -- it's very caustic. I might also suggest a rag with a little acetone to clean things up, but don't go crazy -- acetone can soften gelcoat (also use good gloves -- acetone is nasty stuff). Make sure you're doing all of this on a well ventilated area and be careful of any wind-borne overspray of the oven cleaner. It works quickly, btw (not instantly, but very quickly).

+1 for masking off the area. Suggest a long piece of drop cloth material taped along the bottom to direct run-off away from the transom and onto the tarp which you placed underneath If you use a plastic drop cloth, it may not react well to oven cleaner -- test it first (it may just melt, creating a nasty mess).

BTW, your boat is on the hard, correct? Oven cleaner in the water makes fish taste bad and is bad for your karma... and your brain.
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Re: Easy Off isn't "Easy Off"

Quote:
Originally Posted by djaustralia View Post
"auto paint', I didn't read that in the OP? There was no mention of the type of paint.
The OP didn't mention the type of paint. My boat has the letters in "automotive" paint, according to what my wife was told to her by the previous owner of our boat. The EASY OFF approach with my letter's didn't work.
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Re: Removing painted letters

Thanks everyone, any further advice or tricks will be greatly appreciated.
I don't know what type of paint it is, but you can see the brush strokes in it. I am going to chip away at it with a tender touch and a sharp blade to see if it wants to flake off as it were, thanks again, Oh and the boat is on the hard presently...
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