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Water slide decal tricks?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by dogbrain, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. dogbrain

    dogbrain I can take this, but not much more

    I have now failed at two attempts to apply an Old Town water slide decal to the deck of my 1928 HW. The first time I proceeded without reading the directions and it curled up after it dried and fell off. I think I left it in the water for way too long. The second time I read the directions very carefully and believe I followed them to the T. It did take more than 2 minutes for the decal to become a little bit loose from the paper backing, but it took some effort to get it off. It looked great right afterward, but this morning I could see that it wasn't tight against the deck. I could see the clear areas around the edge of the decal were milky and not perfectly clear. I scraped the thing off with my fingernail which was really easy to do. Is that normal? Has anybody else had this problem? I remember doing this to models when I was a kid and it seemed fool proof. I'm going to order one more decal, but I might need to be coached in more detail. By the way, the deck is varnished with McCloskey's and I did wipe it with some alcohol 10 minutes before the attempt to make sure it was clean.

    Any ideas? Mark
  2. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    For one thing, waterslide decals have a shelf life, after which they tend to get brittle and unpredictable in adhesion. Hopefully those you are buying are reasonably fresh. You don't want to soak them any longer than it takes to get them sliding with a bit of encouragement. More time than that is just washing away the adhesive. When modeling, there are decal setting solutions which you apply to the object right before sliding the decal into place. These tend to make installation easier and increase the bond strength. There are also solvent solutions which can be used next, which will soften the decal and get it to conform and snug down very tightly to irregular surfaces. They really blend in texture-wise. You probably wouldn't need that one unless you have a lot of obvious wood grain texture under the decal. Prices vary and there are several brands available. I've always used Micro Set and Micro Sol, as they work well and I don't see much reason to experiment with other brands.

    JimT likes this.
  3. ThomasRodCo

    ThomasRodCo Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Mark, I'm rehashing an old thread, but I bought an Old Town decal from this site, and it would not release from the paper. I use water slide decals just like this daily in my business making bamboo fly rods, and fresh decals always slide right off the paper after soaking in water for a little over a minute. My guess is these decals have been sitting around a while. Did you get yours here as well?
  4. OP

    dogbrain I can take this, but not much more

    I did get the last decal from wcha, but the first one was from Jerry at Island Falls. I admit the first one was likely my fault, but like I said, the second one might not have been. I bought another one from this site, but instead of trying to apply it myself, I gave it to the buyer of the canoe. The canoe is on display at an outdoor shop, so I may stop over there and give it another try one of these days. I'll post back here if that happens.


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