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Old 03-13-2015, 10:51 PM   #1
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Removing Name from Transom

I'm sure this has already been discussed, but I wasn't able to find it in a search. What is the best way to remove old vinyl lettering and prep for a new name (also vinyl)?


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Old 03-13-2015, 11:00 PM   #2
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To remove the old name in vinyl letters from the sides of the flying bridge of our PNW boat right after we bought it we used a heat gun (actually I think back then it was a hair dryer). You don't want to use so much heat you damage the gelcoat.

To remove the sticky residue after the letters were off we used citrus cleaner.
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:13 PM   #3
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Do a Google search. Lots of methods are described.
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:27 PM   #4
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Heat gun/hair drier, oven cleaner, vinyl eraser that fits on a drill, etc.
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:02 AM   #5
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Many years ago Practical Sailor magazine liked vinyl erasers like Capt. Bill suggested. 3m makes one but I think they all pretty much work alike.

No matter what you use to remove the vinyl, you're going to have a ghost image of the letters as the gel coat around the vinyl will have faded in the Sun. How do you guys deal with that? Compounding? Give it time, it'll even out?
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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Good info as I will have to tackle this in a month when I return home. Time to get the Misfit Toy labeled correctly!

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Old 03-14-2015, 10:03 AM   #7
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Having done this many times (with lease return vehicles) and with our boat a few years ago... The BEST method I use is to leave the boat in direct warm sunlight for a couple of hours and then use your finger nail to lift the decal. Gently pull the lettering off but try not to stretch it so it breaks. The remaining glue can be cleaned off easily with the 3M product or some kind of light duty cleaner. We use lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol but very lightly..
I have found that a heat gun or hair dryer is too hot and melts both the glue (and vinyl) into a mess. That mess is harder to clean up than just peeling the decal off the glue. Also never use a razor blade as it is easy to damage the warmed gelcoat.
Take your time
Oh and yes on ours the lettering was HUGE on the front brow so I compounded it a few times and it still showed but it slowly faded away and blended in.
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Old 03-14-2015, 10:08 AM   #8
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What direct warm sunlight?
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Old 03-14-2015, 10:39 AM   #9
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What direct warm sunlight?
Should be back some time in June...
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:33 PM   #10
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I've always preferred painted-on letters--just my preference. I just had my name and registration numbers re-painted, which lasted bout three years in the Florida sun. I was told over cleaner works best and doesn't harm the gelcoat or Awlgrip.
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:33 PM   #11
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A heat gun and a sharp scraper will remove it easily. A bit of paint thinner on a rag is all that is needed to remove residual adhesive. If you damage the gel coat, you can simply sand it smooth with 600 grit followed by 1000 and then compounding with 3M finesse it II.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:37 PM   #12
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The important question is what condition it is in and what quality was it when it went on.

I have hit the full gamut where nothing worked or anything worked. Take all the above suggestions and try the easiest and least damaging first and work up from there.
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Old 03-14-2015, 07:53 PM   #13
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We`ve been here before, I suggested eucalyptus oil as a glue solvent before, works and won`t harm paint. Sure we have the trees to yield the oil, but I`ve seen them grown lots of places outside Oz.
Using a scraper, I`d choose a plastic one.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:36 PM   #14
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I just went thru this and it was a real bit*h to get off.
I started with citrus solvent and a razor blade. After gouging the gelcoat a few times I switched to Easy-Off and 600 grit wet sanding.
After that I compounded and followed with Finesse2.
I took off some decals and used a heat gun for that. Worked perfect.
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Old 03-14-2015, 10:22 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Tomorrow we are going to try a heat gun with a plastic scraper on the name boards over the pilothouse. We'll see how that goes before we try the transom.


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Old 03-14-2015, 10:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. Tomorrow we are going to try a heat gun with a plastic scraper on the name boards over the pilothouse. We'll see how that goes before we try the transom.

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This is the 3M tool.It goes on a drill.Do not press down too hard.Always grind it off from right to left.Let it work into itself.If there is any residue left.Just clean with solvent.

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Old 03-15-2015, 02:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. Tomorrow we are going to try a heat gun with a plastic scraper on the name boards over the pilothouse. We'll see how that goes before we try the transom.


Mike Metts
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Don't keep the heat gun too close. The gel coat will start to soften.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:54 AM   #18
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We were advised by a sign company to use one of the plastic razor blade scrapers (yes, it uses a plastic blade that looks like an old single edge razor blade) and then remove the sticky stuff using rubbing alcohol. It's not a fun job.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsmb View Post
We were advised by a sign company to use one of the plastic razor blade scrapers (yes, it uses a plastic blade that looks like an old single edge razor blade) and then remove the sticky stuff using rubbing alcohol. It's not a fun job.
Here's what they look like.

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Old 03-15-2015, 11:05 AM   #20
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I was told to use a rubber wheel, for vinyl. I just removed the 30 year old painted lettering, this week.

I used unscented easy off. Worked very well, not easy, did the job, but did stain the gel coat. A bit of compounding removed that. Old letters left raised areas but the color, after polishing up the transom, blended pretty good.
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