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Old 07-05-2007, 12:02   #1
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Removing Old Hull Lettering

I'm about to change the hailing port lettering on the stern. What exists now is a standard 4 inch, adhesive-backed vinyl letter that I will have to remove. I expect to see discolored gelcoat underneath where the old letters were...

What's the best way to remove these letters? Razor blade scraper? Goof-Off?

What's the best thing to use to try to eliminate the discoloration / "shadow" that will be left behind after the old letters are gone?



Thanks in advance,
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Old 07-05-2007, 12:12   #2
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I would try heat (carefully!) and try and peel it off bit by bit with a thumbnail or similar. Slowly.

If the letters have been on many years I think you will find that even cutting back the gelcoat will not remove the discolouration of the rest of the boat (the bits under the letters will of course be the good colour!).

Maybe take this into account when putting the new name on, type face / size / spacing?
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Old 07-05-2007, 12:52   #3
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David has it right. Heat worked just fine (I didn't have to use the 'real' heat gun, used a blow dryer - but mileage may vary).

Use a BOLDER font and that should mask the previous letters.
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Old 07-05-2007, 13:26   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Elusive
... Use a BOLDER font and that should mask the previous letters.
Problem is that I will be replacing "TORONTO" with "Port Aransas, TX".....

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Old 07-05-2007, 13:51   #5
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Mask off the area of gelcoat and paint it with a contratsing color, then apply your vinyl. Be sure to include gold filligree on the border. This advice is coming from a graphics and design professional. We call this hiding in plain site.
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Old 07-05-2007, 14:08   #6
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I had a similar problem on Sunspot Baby. For the home port on the stern, I ordered my new vinyl with a neutral color back large enough to cover the old marking.

On the bows, I was able to polish enough that only a very slight ghost of the old name remained. It can no longer be seen.

George
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:21   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpj23
Problem is that I will be replacing "TORONTO" with "Port Aransas, TX".....


Why not move to Toronto?
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:30   #8
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Obviously, you’ve never been to “Hog Town” (Toronto), David.
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:35   #9
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Putting the new hailing port in reverse (letters cut out from a band of solid vinyl) or painting a background are good ideas if it works with your design. The heat gun will definitely get the old vinyl up. A little polishing compound will often knock down the visual transition between the shiny gel coat behind the old letters and the weathered gel coat surrounding them. When you blur the transition you often don't see the old lettering 'shadow' after new letters are applied. A little coat of wax after the new lettering is installed will further reduce noticeability of old lettering.
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Old 08-05-2007, 08:19   #10
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Thanks for all the tips... except maybe the "move to Toronto" one....

Had a girlfriend there in the early eighties... flew up and stayed at the Royal York.... in December. Nearly froze to death walking from the hotel to the CN Tower... and I got my first view of the Arctic while looking out across the Lake from the tower... I swear I saw polar bears out there... fighting with the ice fishermen for the use of the huts... Or maybe it was Knottyboz craft I saw stranded in the ice?

Didn't work out with the girl... but she was a smart one. Last I heard she moved to Clearwater FL.... where the water stays liquid

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Old 08-05-2007, 15:23   #11
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amen to the water staying liquid thing sailboats don't sail well in ice?! oh ya!!!!!!
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Old 08-05-2007, 21:41   #12
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I have extensive experience removing vinyl from fiberglass from my body shop days (truck shop). We were dealing with painted fiberglass, not gel coat, but the principal is the same. Thomas is correct about using low heat such as a hair dryer. higher heat can damage the gel coat. A razor blade takes technique, but is the best tool for the job. After the vinyl is removed, there are glue removers available from most sign and graphics supply shops that will work well to clean the surface without damaging the gel coat. You might also check with your local truck body shop for a source. Be extremely careful selecting this product, as some WILL damage gel coat. Done properly, there will be nothing to cover up.
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Old 12-05-2007, 19:16   #13
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I just changed the hail name and port of call on my 1980 23' ODay. Used a naked single edge razor blade (5, actually) to scrape the black painted letters off, drawing the edge at right angles to the scraping direction, over the paint, forcefully, carefully and perpendicular to the gelcoat. When the old lettered paint was off, I could still see the outline shadow where the gelcoat had been protected from sunlight so I buffed it with 3M heavy duty compound, without success. Then I simply rubbed the lettered outlins with 1500 grit wet/dry sand paper (dry), and re-buffed with a powered buffer. Presto, all traces of the old lettering are gone and the gelcoat is once again uniformly shiny.
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