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how do i remove sail numbers

Matt B

Member
im assuming with a hairdryer like taking lettering off the side of a van but i wanted a proper opinion rather than a guess.
 

Deimos

Member
I was told (by a sailmaker) to use acetone and to soak the sail on the reverse side from the numbers themselves (i.e. don't "wet" the surface of the numbers you want to remove but soak them from behind).

Whilst soaking the sail on the reverse (back) surface to the numbers might seen daft, the reason is: think of the "layers". You have the number material, then a layer of glue, then a layer of sail. The solvent softens the glue. There are two glue surfaces, one between the numbers and the glue layer and the other between the glue layer and the sail. By applying solvent to the sail surface (behind the numbers) you will soften the glue/sail bond and so the layer of glue will come off with the numbers. Wet the numbers and the number/glue bond is softened and the glue layer stays on the sail.

Acetone is nasty stuff so be very careful with it (or use something else - I used acetone but be warned and be careful and I wont go into safety considerations as I am no expert).

Ian
 

Matt B

Member
I was told (by a sailmaker) to use acetone and to soak the sail on the reverse side from the numbers themselves (i.e. don't "wet" the surface of the numbers you want to remove but soak them from behind).

Whilst soaking the sail on the reverse (back) surface to the numbers might seen daft, the reason is: think of the "layers". You have the number material, then a layer of glue, then a layer of sail. The solvent softens the glue. There are two glue surfaces, one between the numbers and the glue layer and the other between the glue layer and the sail. By applying solvent to the sail surface (behind the numbers) you will soften the glue/sail bond and so the layer of glue will come off with the numbers. Wet the numbers and the number/glue bond is softened and the glue layer stays on the sail.

Acetone is nasty stuff so be very careful with it (or use something else - I used acetone but be warned and be careful and I wont go into safety considerations as I am no expert).

Ian
thanks but i dont really like acitone it murders evereything i think ill just hairdryer peel and sticky stuff remover it
 

vguard296

Member
I picked at the edge of a number on my old sail for about 4 minutes and they peeled off and then i used goof-off. But if you have a sail loft or sail repair place around ask them to do it. Its a quick job and itll probobly cost you $10 without the hassel of staining the sail from any cleaners.
 

martyn

Member
I removed numbers from a sail about 6 weeks ago. By the time I'd got the hang of it (3rd number :) I found that a hairdryer is definitely the way to go, followed by acetone, followed by putting on the new numbers, followed by dusting the whole area with talcum powder just an case any stickiness remains.

Hope this helps
 

jon

Member
I was told (by a sailmaker) to use acetone and to soak the sail on the reverse side from the numbers themselves (i.e. don't "wet" the surface of the numbers you want to remove but soak them from behind).

Whilst soaking the sail on the reverse (back) surface to the numbers might seen daft, the reason is: think of the "layers". You have the number material, then a layer of glue, then a layer of sail. The solvent softens the glue. There are two glue surfaces, one between the numbers and the glue layer and the other between the glue layer and the sail. By applying solvent to the sail surface (behind the numbers) you will soften the glue/sail bond and so the layer of glue will come off with the numbers. Wet the numbers and the number/glue bond is softened and the glue layer stays on the sail.

Acetone is nasty stuff so be very careful with it (or use something else - I used acetone but be warned and be careful and I wont go into safety considerations as I am no expert).

Ian
I also recommend this method. Have done it numerous times with either acetone or goo gone.
 

laserxd

Member
thanks but i dont really like acitone it murders evereything i think ill just hairdryer peel and sticky stuff remover it
Warm/hot water might help get the glue off but if not, Acetone is a good solvent for cleaning most organic compounds especially glues and paint. It has a low toxicity associated with general use.

Other solvents that will work to get the glue off are IPA and Ethanol
 

Fernwood

New Member
Lacquer thinner soaked into a rag that is left on the numbers for about 10 mins. Peel off the numbers and then use an old credit card to scrape the glue off.

Quick and relatively clean.
 
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