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Old 03-08-2018, 12:09 PM   #1
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Refinishing Nameboards

Iím finally getting around to refinishing the nameboards on Stella Maris and putting her proper name on her. Iíd appreciate a walk-through from folks who have done this.

Iíve stripped off the finish and lettering (which I believe was painted) but a shadow of the previous name is still visible. I assume the wood is teak and, unexpectedly, the more I sand the darker grey the wood appears to be.

Iím using my sonís Fein sander with 80 grit and I think Iíve taken a 64th or so off the surface but I still havenít found the bottom of the previous name yet. Should I continue to sand aggressively or look for some sort of semi transparent stain that might show the grain but hide the prior name?

Also, do I need a sealer or stain before I apply the new lettering (3M vinyl decals)?

Finally, is there a consensus on the best varnish and how many coats?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:13 PM   #2
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Sand some more, 2 coats of varnish, add letters, 6 or more coats.
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:16 PM   #3
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It's been awhile since I did the same thing, but if I remember correctly I sanded as you have done, stained to color preference, and then applied the vinyl decals. I was told not to put a sealer over the decals, so just sand, stain, decals.

Again, not an expert, but you don't want to do varnish and stain, but one or the other.
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:30 PM   #4
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Sand with 80 or 60 until boards are clear of old lettering, then progress to 100, then 220 grit before applying your first coat of thinned varnish.
I refinished Salty's boards last summer Eight coats of Epifanes Gloss, sanding with 220 grit between coats, then applied decals, no topcoat.
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:36 PM   #5
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A consensus on ANYTHING is almost impossible on this board.
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:05 PM   #6
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Island Gypsy 32

I'm about to jump into the same task - including the name and hailing port on teak transom. Based on other threads here, I'm planning to use a heat gun and scraper to remove varnish coats. Hoping the sanding will be minimal.

Just bought the boat, and my unsurance underwriter requires updating name and hailing port within 30 days of purchase. So no fun cruising for now... but plenty elbow grease.

Finally - I'll be watching this thread on the prevalent opinion of top coats or not.
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Old 03-08-2018, 03:36 PM   #7
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I've been varnishing over the letters for years. No problemo.
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:21 PM   #8
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Sanding did not remove the shadow of the old name for me, so I took a planer to it and problem solved quickly.
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:22 PM   #9
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I once considered turning my boards over for a fresh surface. Your ends are asymmetric,but maybe it could be done.
My letters were engraved into the wood from new. Every sanding of the board makes the letters more shallow.They were not good when I bought.
My letters are redone in bright yellow gloss oil paint(some boats use gold leaf!). First redo I had to undercoat as well, after prep. I varnish over the whole board, letters incl,with clear Cetol gloss.
To avoid sanding the board any deeper than need be, I apply a dilute teak stain before varnishing, to bring back the color.
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:18 PM   #10
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I'm a little suspicious of those boards being teak; grain looks odd for teak. But, if it were, I'd hit it with some teak cleaner sand for smoothness and go from there; might save some time, and remove a bit less wood
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:18 PM   #11
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+1 on the planer. Quick and a lot less work than sanding. I have just finished sanding lots of teak and am tired of sanding.
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Old 03-08-2018, 06:45 PM   #12
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Thanks, all. I put a heavier grit on the Festool (not Fein as I thought) and my son showed me how to get the most out of it. Itís a beast and cut through the surface layer and old lettering easily.

Based on what Iím reading here and in the archives, Iím going to coat the boards with CPES first, then at least three coats of Epifanes. Iíll have a sample of the vinyl lettering to try the Epifanes on to see if theyíre compatible. Worst,case, I guess, would,be that the lettering goes,on top. Either way, Iíll have seven or eight coats on by the time Iím through. Iíll post the results when I get finished.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:08 AM   #13
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Don't get me started. I would trade projects with you if I possibly could. I bought 4 beautiful teak boards...transom, hail, port and starboard nav. Had the name carved with the intent to gold leaf. After $160 worth of gold leaf we now know how to gold leaf. After $175 worth of CPES and good quality varnish we now know to put down ALL but one coat of varnish first before gold leaf as the varnish that inevitably gets on the gold leaf dulls it terribly and will require a complete strip and redo of everything to get it to look right. Don't get me started. Double don't get me started on learning how to outline the letters with a thin black line which is where we are now. We have been working on this project on and off for 8 months. Argh.

When I investigated how we were going to do our boards, vinyl letters or carved with leaf, I was told that varnishing over the vinyl letters was ok and even good to protect them but longer term success depended highly on the type/quality of vinyl. Was also told to be careful of the brand/type of varnish as some add a lot more color than others. Last, depending on your install, be aware of the whether or not the boards need to bend or curve when installed. My transom name board will be drawn in about 1/2" by the screws when I put them on. Look for varnish that is more flexible.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:41 AM   #14
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Thanks, firstbase. If those pix are the finished project, they look terrific!

Sounds like putting the vinyl lettering on just before the final coat of varnish is the way to go. I did order some scrap vinyl to see how the Epifanes coexists.

Iíve read pro and con about using CPES as an undercoat; sounds like traditionalists avoid it. So Iíll hang on to my receipt until I decide for sure.
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Old 03-10-2018, 10:46 AM   #15
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Refinishing Nameboards

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Here are mahogany transom boards made for my boat. We also made side boards that fit up on the flybridge.

We thought about gold leaf but rejected the idea due to maintenance cost. We would not have varnished over gold leaf just as we didnít varnish over the paint.

We used 7 coats of Epifanes High Gloss. It has had its first varnish re-coat about seven months ago.

The colored sections are enamel modelers paint.

The antiquing around the edges is simply flat black Rustoleum spray cans.

The big board was affixed to the curved transom using stainless bolts with rubber spacers. The board can be removed and laid flat for maintenance and the back can be re-sealed. No dirt gets trapped between the transom and the hull.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:34 AM   #16
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McGillicuddy, nice... question is how do you (or I for that matter) NOT varnish over the paint when you recoat? Taking varnish up the edge of a flat area is a bear. At least it was for me. The carved letters add even more issues because there is no way to varnish up to the carving without it going down into the letter. Then...the little areas inside the "B" or "K"......ARGH!! I was sort of concerned about the maintenance of the gold leaf later on but, as I mentioned, after about $110 worth of leaf you get pretty good at it. Redoing it is not a big deal.....now.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:39 AM   #17
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I canít tell by looking at your boards, but you do know that the lettering has to be at least 4Ē high, right?
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:52 AM   #18
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Not sure which one of us you are asking Como. If it is me, Black Eyed Susan,
the larger letters at the beginning of each word are 4 1/2" and the smaller ones are about 3 3/4". Nav board letters are 3 3/4. Miner are shy of the 4" minimum but if they stop me and question it then I'm going to retire from trawlering!! Never heard of someone getting dinged for it but I guess anything is possible. Mine seem close enough that they wouldn't get out there with a tap measure.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:00 PM   #19
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It is difficult to tell how big they are in the photos. I think that yours are close enough that you wil not have any problem. They do look nice.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:21 PM   #20
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Thanks. They are bigger than they appear. The transom name board is about 55" long. Hence my worry about the ending and stretching of the varnish after they are done. If I had to do it again I would have gone with flat letters rather than the carving. Would have been much easier and they would have been finished in a month rather than 8! the carving really added some problems with golf leaf application as well as the varnishing. I think we will end up not outlining the letters. That is just a LOT more difficult to get looking right no matter what a YouTube video says!

The other thing I would probably change is using a shorter name! Susan would have worked. If I knew than what I know now I probably would have even shortened that down to Sue.
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