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Old 29-04-2014, 20:25   #1
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Transom Lettering

Hi All,

Purchased a new boat and hoping for some insights in regards to name lettering. I spoke to my local sign guy and was quoted a price of a $3-400 to re-letter the boat by hand with paint (seems fair, I'm in greater NYC area). After spending the better part of an afternoon removing 20+yrs of old paint I thought I would explore vinyl. Question is...I was quoted basically the same price for vinyl as hand lettering, do this sound right? Any insights/experiences would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 29-04-2014, 20:41   #2
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Re: Transom Lettering

There are lots of on-line sites that offer vinyl lettering, and will do on-line quotes. that figure sounds pretty high unless it was for a fancy graphic or two.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 29-04-2014, 20:48   #3
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Re: Transom Lettering

Hand painted is far nicer and also more expensive. Find someone who specializes in boat names. Vinyl looks cheap and DIY-ish.
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Old 29-04-2014, 20:49   #4
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Re: Transom Lettering

Yes, that seems high for vinyl unless it's for a big sportfish..

Also you're probably aware but remember the paint will fade around the lettering over time so in the long run the name will be permanent one way or another.
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Old 29-04-2014, 20:50   #5
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Re: Transom Lettering

It doesn't sound right to me. I have been using two companies for many years on a number of boats; Fast Signs and Signs in One Day. Both do a very nice job and I don't think I have ever spent more than $100 for a boat name. I would check around before I shelled out that kind of money for vinyl.
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Old 29-04-2014, 20:53   #6
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Re: Transom Lettering

I'm thinking something like $50 for vinyl, if you put it on yourself of course. I just paid $38 for our boat name in 6" and San Francisco in 4"letters.
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Old 29-04-2014, 20:59   #7
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Re: Transom Lettering

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Hand painted is far nicer and also more expensive. Find someone who specializes in boat names. Vinyl looks cheap and DIY-ish.
I can not agree with that evaluation. Vinyl can be made to look any damn way you wish, and from any distance at all looks very much the same as painted... except often it is a bit cleaner in execution. Further, it is getting pretty hard to fine good sign-writers who do that old fashioned paint stuff!

Looks DIYish??? Where does that come from? But of course, one can (and I have done) install the vinyl DIY. To me, that is a great selling point!

Looks cheap??? I guess that depends on the taste and artistic bent of he who designs the artwork... true for paint and for vinyl.

Jim
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Old 29-04-2014, 21:51   #8
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Re: Transom Lettering

Jim--Judging from the boats I see around the marinas across the country, most boat owners must agree with you--vinyl is good enough. Just pick up a bunch of stick-on letters that, when assembled correctly, spell the name and hailing port--simple, quick, easy, cheap. Just git'r'dun.

But it stands out like the cheap decal it is when you are alongside a yacht whose owner cared enough to have something so important as the name done traditionally, by hand--a unique work of art. And who cannot admire real gold leaf on a varnished transom or name board. Just my old New England values.

When I bought Terra Nova I asked myself the same question virtually every new owner asks..."What shall I name her/it..." But I thought that, if you were adopting a child (pretty close, actually), you wouldn't change his/her name just because you owned them, now! And I had no objection to the boat's name, which had appeared on many ancient charts, translated: "New Land" or unexplored land. And so I left the vinyl name and hailing port (my boat hails from San Francisco; I'll not change that, no matter where I berth her). Much of those vinyl letters has fallen off. But I thought it will wait until my next haulout, to make it easier for the painter.
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Old 29-04-2014, 21:52   #9
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Re: Transom Lettering

If you go to Home Depot and buy the individual stick on letters and try to do them yourself you might get a cheap DIYish looking result. But professionally cut vinyl lettering correctly installed (which is easy to do for even the DIYer) can be every bit as beautiful, in many cases more so, than handpainted and from 20' away you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
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Old 29-04-2014, 22:17   #10
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Re: Transom Lettering

Hmmm, TN, we seem to be upping the ante a bit here:
"But it stands out like the cheap decal it is when you are alongside a yacht whose owner cared enough to have something so important as the name done traditionally, by hand--a unique work of art. And who cannot admire real gold leaf on a varnished transom or name board. Just my old New England values."

Yep, hand laid gold leaf on varnished teak is pretty damn nice, and not appropriate on many designs, and not universally available (ho,ho). So, lets stick to the sort of thing that the average yottie might reasonably apply, that is, plain lettering, perhaps with some shadowing, perhaps some scrollwork... that sort of stuff.

I submit, that as Becky points out, professionally designed and cut vinyl lettering does not look either cheap nor "DIYish". I don't know what marinas you have viewed where the vinyl lettering is falling off, but the three sets that I have had personally never fell off over many years use. They did get scuffed from contact with rough walls and docks (the kind of thing that happens to boats that stray far from home waters), but then so did the real paint lettering that I had on a previous boat.

I submit the attached photo... IMO this looks neither cheap nor DIYish (even though I did apply the lettering myself). You may not agree, but most who see her think it looks fine.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 29-04-2014, 22:31   #11
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Re: Transom Lettering

Jim--you did a great job. But we are more than 5,000 miles away from each other, and I can tell from here, without even clicking on the thumbnail photo, that it is vinyl graphics.
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Old 29-04-2014, 22:40   #12
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Re: Transom Lettering

You do realize we are talking prices although we have no idea if he has a graphic or what lettering or even how many characters to his boat name and home port.
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Old 29-04-2014, 22:43   #13
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Re: Transom Lettering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Jim--you did a great job. But we are more than 5,000 miles away from each other, and I can tell from here, without even clicking on the thumbnail photo, that it is vinyl graphics.



Dude, I so want to agree with you, being a big devotee of the sword brush myself. But you are making it hard...
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Old 29-04-2014, 22:43   #14
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Transom Lettering

The lettering is all very well... But I am MUCH more interested in the anchorage. Where is that lovely tranquil spot please?

Matt

Edit: figured it out from the caption. Port Davey. Sigh
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Old 29-04-2014, 23:05   #15
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Re: Transom Lettering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Jim--you did a great job. But we are more than 5,000 miles away from each other, and I can tell from here, without even clicking on the thumbnail photo, that it is vinyl graphics.
OK TN, you win.

It looks cheap and DIYish. I suppose that what clued you in was that the letters were of uniform size and had clean edges, unlike many hand lettered names.

But I think gold leaf on a varnished teak name board on my boat would look contrived and out of place, even if it was in itself aesthetically wonderful and met your old world standards. Oh, and my lettering is readable from quite a distance (which is an attribute IMO). I have yet to see a goldleaf and teak nameboard that meets that requirement. But they look expensive and professional...

Enough of this bickering. The OP was interested in different forms of lettering, and asked about prices among other things. He likely got his answer and left the premises, not wanting to get involved in such discussions.

And Minaret, I certainly have seen some beautifully done hand lettered boat names. I have seen quite a few that were pretty ordinary, and some that, well, looked cheap and DIYish (probably because they were!). Good art is always expensive and rare to find, whether on canvas or GRP.

Cheers,

Jim
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