Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals

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Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals

Postby Michael Baresi » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:13 pm

I've got an old Harmony 1203 and someone put some waterslide decals on the spruce top to cover up some damage where the bridge was once removed.
Does anyone know a good tip to remove them without damaging the wood ?

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Re: Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals

Postby Peter Wilcox » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:45 pm

If they're on top of the finish I'd think you could soak them off with time under a damp cloth or paper towel, maybe use a hair dryer to heat them.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
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Re: Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals

Postby Michael Baresi » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:22 pm

Peter Wilcox wrote:If they're on top of the finish I'd think you could soak them off with time under a damp cloth or paper towel, maybe use a hair dryer to heat them.

Thank Peter. Tried it but didn't work for me
I've also tried naptha and mineral spirits and neither worked.
I could go at it with lacquer thinner but there goes the finish.
I tried small drops of acetone and that disolves the decal but damages lacquer too
I'm thinking of trying some 2000 grit wet sanding. :?
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Re: Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals

Postby Bob Gramann » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:44 pm

If you have time to try soaking again, try adding some detergent to the soak solution. It might break the surface tension enough that the water could penetrate into the decal. It’s always possible that someone put a coating on it, though. Maybe abrading the surface would allow more soak in? And, rather than using a wet cloth, forming a little puddle on top of the decal might help. You could use masking tape dams. Otherwise, it sounds like mechanical removal (scraping or sanding) might be your only choice.

I used to use decals for my logo when I first started building. Once they were under the lacquer, they were permanent. Fortunately, I never had to take one off.
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Re: Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals

Postby Randolph Rhett » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:25 am

You're trying to REMOVE them? Geeesh. Some people don't appreciate class. ;-)
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Re: Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals

Postby Mark Wybierala » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:31 pm

I like it. Also its a bit of history. You could make up some elaborate story about the W.
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Re: Best Way to Remove Waterslide Decals - Update

Postby Michael Baresi » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:52 pm

The decals have been removed !
I used an amalgamator recommended by Frank Ford via a link posted by Barry Daniels (thanks)
http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier ... ator1.html

As expected the amalgamator will take off not only the decal but also the lacquer.
Well my other last alternative on these stubborn decals would be to sand them off so I went with the amalgamator
Pics detail my progress.
I found that waiting 10 or 15 minutes was sufficient and with a little coaxing from a razor and a plastic pallette knife they came off easy although they dissolved completely and didn't peel off in one piece. There is still some lacquer left so hopefully a little wet sanding will bring it to life
IMG_20190218_133106348.jpg

I started off scraping it with a razor
IMG_20190219_110941275.jpg

The wet goo wipes off with a paper towel. Being careful here and trying not to wipe off the lacquer under the decal
IMG_20190219_111040458.jpg

IMG_20190219_111738370.jpg

A plastic pallette knife works better
IMG_20190219_114758167.jpg

This pic shows bare wood where a previous luthier has removed the bridge. I'm sure this was the reason for the decals as they covered the damage that was done.
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