Sunday, March 25, 2007

What's In A Name?

Removed Old Name Decal, Waxed Hull, 3/25 - 3/25/2007

Renaming a boat is generally considered bad luck, but I'm not all that superstitious. The real hurdle to renaming, in my mind, is the work involved in removing the old name. In our case, the prior owner named the boat "Cuanna", and applied the name decal, in huge font, to the transom. In addition, the home port "Annapolis, MD" appeared below the name.

The low tech approach for removing vinyl decals is to heat with a hair dryer and scrape them off with a plastic scraper. I tried that (and it worked fine on our old boat), but it was painfully difficult and slow in this case. The fancy solution is a 3M stripe removal tool. The tool is essentially a wheel, made of layers of eraser-like material, that attaches to a drill (3M actually recommends a high-rpm air tool, but my 1200 RPM drill worked fine). It still took some time and effort to remove the decals, but for $20, this was definitely the way to go. It makes an unbelievable mess, so if you do something like this, I recommend a painters suit or at least long sleeves. Once the bulk of the decal was gone, wiping with acetone removed the rest of the adhesive.

Following that effort, Michele and I cleaned and waxed the hull for the first time since our purchase. What an exhausting chore! The hull was a bit oxidized, so we made three full passes: wash, 3M Cleaner & Wax, 3M High Performance Paste Wax. We applied the cleaner/wax with a terry cloth bonnet on a random orbital buffing tool, then applied the paste wax by hand, buffing it out with a clean terry cloth bonnet on the buffing tool, some touch-up buffing by hand, and a final pass with a lambswool bonnet. On the transom, I made one last pass with Starbrite Teflon, in hopes that the teflon coating would help prevent sooting from the diesel exhaust.

Here's a shot of the transom with the letters removed and the new stern light installed. It all turned out great, but wow were we sore on Monday.

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