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Old 25-05-2011, 14:09   #1
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Vinyl Lettering

So we are changing the calling port and replacing the lettering of the name on our valiant 40 (we did NOT change the name, so we do not need a diatribe on how to properly or improperly change a boat's name).

My question is where to get the letters? There are about 300 different websites that allow you to create your own letters and they are relatively inexpensive. Are they OK quality? We are in Seattle and have heard Prism is good, but they seem expensive. What is your experience with vinyl letters? We want something that will last, but are on quite a budget.
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Old 25-05-2011, 14:22   #2
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Re: Vinyl lettering

Just go to a sign-making shop. You don't want to go anywhere near a "nautical" sign maker. Tell them what quality you want. They all have computerized programs that do it all.
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Old 25-05-2011, 14:29   #3
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Re: Vinyl lettering

bec.chandler,

I agree with Vasco about just going to a local sign-making shop.

The bonus is they can show you the colors, fonts and also how much room your font selection will take.

It's all touchy feely which is nice with this kind of thing.
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Old 25-05-2011, 16:17   #4
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Re: Vinyl lettering

I had my lettering done at Fastsigns here in town, cost me about 30% of what they charge online for "boat Lettering" they did a good job if they do graphics for cars they'll stand up to the weather.
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Old 25-05-2011, 17:44   #5
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Re: Vinyl lettering

Hi Bec,

If you go to a sign shop, insist on cast vinyl not calendared. It is a little more expensive than calendared vinyl, however it will out last it by years.
Sign shops normally have a fixed price for letters by height and will cut the vinyl while you wait.
We once owned a sign and advertising company and vinyl was one of our main products.
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Old 25-05-2011, 18:56   #6
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Re: Vinyl lettering

Can't tell you who to use, but ask them what specific brand and type of vinyl they will be using. 3M, Gerber and a couple of other brand names are guaranteed not to fade in exterior use (including marine use) for periods of 5-8 year. The cheap stuff will bleach out in just one year of bright sunlight.

How well the letters are spaced, your options on styles and colors, pretty much everything else is open to competition.
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Old 25-05-2011, 19:11   #7
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Re: Vinyl lettering

I go to FastSigns for mine. There has never been a problem and they last a long time. I agree with getting the vinyl for exterior use....that much is pretty obvious.
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Old 25-05-2011, 19:14   #8
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Re: Vinyl lettering

That reminds me. I need a "P".

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Old 25-05-2011, 19:31   #9
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Re: Vinyl lettering

Prism generally is more expensive because they install the lettering themselves. They do a nice job too, I've worked with them many times.
If you want really expensive but really good traditional hand -painted lettering in Seattle, go with Nancy Anderson, who owns Surerite Signs.
Her work blows away any vinyl lettering, she does gold leaf and everything. Seen her do lot's of the traditional yachts around here as well as some newer ones that want some traditional flavor. All freehand old-school lettering with a sword brush, which you don't really see much anymore. Just in case anyone's looking...
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Old 25-05-2011, 19:58   #10
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Re: Vinyl lettering

Just go to the cheapest sign writing shop you can find. No one sign writes anymore... its all vynal lettering.
Just get the basic stuff imho as thats what they use outdoors on signs etc.

Put it on yourself.

I even put vynal lettering on my dinghy, 'Lil Dink and she's Hypolon!


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Old 25-05-2011, 20:38   #11
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Re: Vinyl lettering

We used Yard Signs, Signs, Custom Banners, Vinyl Lettering, Decals - Make Your Own Sign Today at SpeedySigns.com. Be SURE and tell them you are going to put the lettering on a boat that will be exposed - they will use vinyl that will last YEARS longer - and they didn't charge us any more. It was a tiny fraction of boat us.
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Old 25-05-2011, 20:43   #12
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Re: Vinyl lettering

just remember the size is 4" if documented, i order from Island Boat lettering myself, 7 yr warranty. I have work trucks I have had to do over after 2-3 years using the cheap stuff, but worst case it is on the hailing port so easy to do again if needed
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Old 25-05-2011, 22:09   #13
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Re: Vinyl lettering

Bec,

If you guys are redoing the entire name and hailing port you have a few more options.
If you have any vector graphics software like Illustrator or Corel you can design the name and provide that to the sign shop for them to cut. This way you get a more custom look.
I can airbrush and paint but haven't done it on a boat for years as the vinyl lasts longer and with some design work can look every bit as good.
We chose to use sign gold over cream cast 3m vinyl. The sign gold is actually machined turned 20 carat gold sprayed onto polyester. It is guaranteed to never tarnish. It looks fantastic especially when the sun hits it.



If you don't have the software we can design a graphic for you and email it to you for you to give to a sign shop. We enjoy the design work.

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Old 25-05-2011, 22:39   #14
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Re: Vinyl lettering

Garry and Wendy, that's a beautiful ahhhhh, I mean stern.
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Old 25-05-2011, 22:45   #15
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I would suggest staying away from ordering vinyl lettering online. Every sight I found was $20-$40 more expensive than a sign shop near my house. I had 9" letters made at an angle covering 6' of space for $70. Good quality too!
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