Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Transom lettering

When we bought Eolian, "Eolian" wasn't her name.  Using John Vigor's Denaming/Renaming ceremony, we re-christened her to Eolian.

But before we could do this, there was a tiny detail:  the name on the transom was wrong.  So I scraped off the old name.  When they made these boats, Downeast created, what appear to be from a short distance, carved name boards for the transom.  But actually these are molded resin.  I gave ours a fresh coat or two of paint, in a color that more closely matched our trim color.

Then I paid a visit to Prism Graphics, folks who custom-cut vinyl graphics on Westlake Avenue here in Seattle.  They were great to work with.  They asked me to bring in a full-sized tracing of the name boards so that they could custom-fit the lettering to the actual boards.  And they spent quite a bit of time getting it right.  Thinking about how great it would look on the green, I chose simulated gold leaf for the material, and they left me with a print out to show Jane.

Applying the letters was easy.  They come on a transfer sheet, which is stuck to the front side of the lettering.  The transfer sheet keeps things lined up and in place, and allows transferring the entire design at once.  Prism's directions said to use a spray bottle with soapy water to moisten the transom and the graphics before application - this allows you to adjust things, presuming that you don't lay the design down spot on the first time - and you won't.  So, I boldly peeled off the backing sheet (lettering still stuck to the transfer sheet) and wetted the adhesive side and the name boards.  A little adjusting (a dinghy does not a stable work platform make), pushing the bubbles out from under the letters, and it was time for a beer.  After a while, you can peel off the transfer sheet (better to wait too long than not long enough).

Voila!  Unfortunately, the simulated gold leaf was not a good choice.  Because of the tilt of Eolian's transom, it is almost never in direct sunlight.  The net effect was, that for almost all viewing angles and conditions, the lettering essentially disappeared.  (When the sun did hit it tho, it was spectacular!).  Sadly, this would not do.

So I returned to Prism, and asked them to recut the letters, this time in white.  This was not difficult for them, since the design is just a small computer file they now had on one of their systems.  In white, the name is visible regardless of the sun angle.

1 comment:

  1. We had a great experience with Prism as well:


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