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Old 16-10-2013, 13:44   #1
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Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

Hi all
I recently bought a new sailboat and have my new documentation and new name. When I removed the old lettering from the hull (white in color) I was careful to get all remnants of adhesive and vinyl off including a final wipe with acetone. I am satisfied that all traces of the old decal are gone. The problem is that where it was is a weathered imprint of the old name in the gelcoat caused by exposure or in this case lack of exposure to the elements. The new decals will not totally cover the old name and I do not want to put lettering on the side of the boat where the former owner had them. Is there some way to deal with this short of radical and expensive work. Ideas?????????????? Thanks Rob
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Old 16-10-2013, 13:51   #2
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Re: Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

Wet-sand the area
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Old 16-10-2013, 13:53   #3
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Re: Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

wet sand it with 2000 grit sandpaper and the polish it out with a buffer. should take 20 minutes or so
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Old 16-10-2013, 14:07   #4
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Re: Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

The issue is that gell coat fades dark when exposed to sunlight.

When I remove decals, I use also my hand to feel the surface for differences.

The solution for height differences that I use is to wet sand, up to 2,000 grit, to get it smooth and shiny.

The solution for ghost letters is easy, just time in the sun and they will be gone.
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Old 16-10-2013, 18:18   #5
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Re: Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingless View Post
The issue is that gell coat fades dark when exposed to sunlight.

When I remove decals, I use also my hand to feel the surface for differences.

The solution for height differences that I use is to wet sand, up to 2,000 grit, to get it smooth and shiny.

The solution for ghost letters is easy, just time in the sun and they will be gone.
How long do you think it would take in the sun to do the trick?

Just asking, 'cause I've been waiting 8 years now and those ghost letters are still there. Maybe I'll try the 2000 grit wet sandpaper idea.

Or maybe I should have held a "proper" renaming ceremony?
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Old 16-10-2013, 19:28   #6
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Re: Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

Mine took less than a month to fade to uniformity.

The boat was also polished w/ compound, polish and wax, when the decals were removed.

Eight years sounds permanent to me.
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Old 18-10-2013, 04:14   #7
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Re: Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

I removed two badly worn and cracked vinyl stripes and could not get rid of the ugly ghost. The stripes were on for 15 years in the tropics. The fine grits would not remove the ghost so as a last resort before painting I dry sanded with 320 grit using an orbital sander to get the stripe area down (it was raised relative to adjacent areas) and blend in the color. Then I worked up to 600 wet, 1200 wet and 2000 wet before buffing polishing and waking. I was lucky to have thick gelcoat I guess but we are so happy with the result.

Dan Haun
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Old 18-10-2013, 04:50   #8
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Re: Removing Ghost Lettering on Gelcoat

2000 might be a bit light, did mine recently with 1200 grit, just make sure to keep it wet all the time
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