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Discussion Starter #1
How would you remove old boat lettering? If I use heat won't it ruin the fiber glass? What have you guys done to remove it? Thanks!
 

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IF it is vinyl lettering, heat from a heat gun or torch will work. If you use a torch, you will have to unfortunately from trial and error figure out the "best distance from the lettering to remove it. That is how I have removed some vinyl lettering on my trucks.

If it is painted on, I found some goof off and a fine plastic steel wool equal worked very well. The spray worked better than the liquid. More because of the ease of application with out spilling in the water. Actual which worked better as far as the liquid itself was the same.

Good luck.

marty
 

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For painted on letters, I used easy off and some 600 to 800 grit wet sand paper. It worked well and didn't damage the gelcoat.
 

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Not to hijack a thread, since it seems relevant...

How big do the letters have to be? (Boat is registered in Delaware and USCG documented.) Not sure if I need 4" letters or 5" or 6"... ?
 

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For painted letters, use EasyOff oven cleaner - spray it on, let it set a minute or so, wipe off the paint. It won't hurt the gelcoat. No matter how you remove the letters, the stern will have faded around them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think the letters are vinyl, I guess heat is the best way?
 

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My vinyl lettering pulled off without needing to use heat. Doesn't hurt to try that first...
 

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You might get the vinyl off also with a one sided razor blade or equal sharp object with out using heat. Otherwise, heat with a razor blade or equal works well.

Even tho above I mentioned trial and error for the torch, as I own one, I am sure the heat gun/hair blow dryer will take some trial and error too to figure out the best distance to remove/shrink up the vinyl so it will come off.

I liked the spray goof off as was mentioned for ease of use like the "easy off" was mentioned. Also, thinking about it, I may have used some 600 sand paper too to remove some of my old paint before putting on vinyl lettering too.

marty
 

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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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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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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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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.
 

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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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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

mike
 

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I also have lettering 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

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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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
 

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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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