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Steve Day

Removing and Attaching Vinyl Lettering

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I removed lettering from, and installed new lettering on, the transom of a J-28 today to re-name the boat.

The old vinyl lettering was still in good shape and peeled off without damaging the underlying paint. The residue from the glue was removed with a product called "Sticker-Off!" (West Marine # 9368069). Up until this effort, I have always had to work quite hard to remove the glue residue. With the Sticker-Off!, the removal was quite easy. I highly recommend it. There was absolutely no damage to the underlying paint.

When I put the new vinyl lettering onto the transom, I used the sister product "Sticker-On!" (West Marine # 9368051) to help the application. The Sticker-On! product allowed me to get any bubbles out of the letters easily. I also recommend this product.

Re-naming a boat doesn't happen often in the life of a boat, but these products sure make it a lot easier.

Steve

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This is timely.  I'm planning to wet sand my Potter hull and then re-apply the accent stripe and lettering.

I could never get the gelcoat back to the original color well enough to hide the old name.  The hull is dark green, and oxidizes pretty quickly (within one season).  So my overall plan is to wet sand the gel coat back to the original color and then use Poli-glow or something that won't be as labor intensive to renew each year.

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I use the Sticker Off often at work.  I don't know how much it costs at West Marine, but check out your local motorcycle shop.  If they sell dirtbikes, then they should have lots of stickers & decals, and the chemicals as well.

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Most adhesive removers are xylene/xylenol related chemicals and/or toluene/toluol related chemicals diluted in mineral spirits and/or acetone to keep them from evaporating too quickly to work.  In other words, they are closely related to lacquer thinners.  Careful with them, xylene is nothing to fool around with.

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Dave is right on and it's a lot cheaper to just by the chemicals you need. Xylene is a moderate solvent with fairly low vapor pressure, so it doesn't flash off nearly as fast as say acetone. It is faster to evaporate then mineral spirits, so it's often cut (diluted) to slow it's evaporation rate.

Most of us should have acetone, mineral spirits, maybe pine gum turpentine, Xylene, toluene and a few other chemicals (like denatured alcohol, Japan drier, etc.) about the shop. Once you learn what the "cutters" or "vehicles" used in paints and other coatings are, you'll find you can modify, thin, extend drying time, shorten drying time, remove moisture, etc.

I have a gallon of Xylene I bought a couple of years ago. I paid about 15 bucks for it or I could buy a 6 ounce bottle of Goof Off or similar product to remove some labels. It'll be watered down and you'll pay dearly per ounce. Of course this also means you'll want to use it. If you're a reasonably handy person around the house, car and boat, you find uses. If not, maybe the 6 ounce can of diluted stuff is all you need.

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I've used Acetone, Xylene, MEK, and others to do cleanups for various applications, but you really have to be careful to make sure you don't soften the substrate with the chemicals. The Sticker-Off product did not harm the paint in any fashion. I would rather pay a little to get something I know will work and not damage the substrate, than save a few pennies and have that concern.

As infrequently as I remove lettering, etc. from a boat, I probably would not remember which one of the other products worked the last time I performed the task.

West Marine retail price on the Sticker-Off product is less than $6.00.

Steve

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Start with 220 dry?  That sounds awfully aggressive! 

I was considering either removing the bottom paint from the sides ... she is stored on her trailer ... but I've heard they often really abrade the gelcoat where they are going to apply the bottom paint.  So I may just refresh that where it shows after doing the sanding routine.

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Man, that's a lot of effort. I just scrape what I don't get off chemically, then crank up the buffer. If the gel coat is really bad, then I'll use a very aggressive compound and work up from there. I remove the bulk of oxidation with chemicals, before hitting it with the buffer.

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Man, that's a lot of effort. I just scrape what I don't get off chemically, then crank up the buffer. If the gel coat is really bad, then I'll use a very aggressive compound and work up from there. I remove the bulk of oxidation with chemicals, before hitting it with the buffer.

What chemical do you use to remove oxidation?  I know there's a chemical that PoliGlow includes called PolyPrep, or something like that.  I was wondering if vinegar or perhaps a bit stronger acid would remove oxidation.

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