removing shoulder decal from my A2

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by dude, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. dude

    dude New in Town

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    hamburg, germany
    hello all,

    i just bought a used real mccoy's A2 with the army air forces decal on the upper arm. i'd like to remove it. does anyone know the best way to do this?

    thanks!
     
  2. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    Messages:
    5,483
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    Never tried to remove a decal from a jacket, but when removing from other surfaces, heat works well.
     
  3. havocpaul

    havocpaul One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    London, England
    Difficult to remove all trace of a decal and you have to be careful not to discolour the leather where it was. Worth remembering should you ever then wish to sell the jacket it will be devalued if there is any damage or signs of removal.
     
  4. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,970
    Location:
    Japan
    Why would you want to remove the decal from such a high quality repro?
    Why not just buy a $150 WPG jacket with no decal?
     
  5. Hide'n'seek

    Hide'n'seek One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    138
    Location:
    Scotland

    Impossible to do without leaving obvious signs that there had been a decal, or without damaging the finish of the leather. Whatever you do do not try heat ! you will burn and shrink the leather.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  6. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,507
    Location:
    East Java
    if the decal is painted on, then it is impossible
    if the decal is glued on, then it is possible but the surface of the leather that has been glued might be colorless, or appear rough.
    if the decal is stitched around, then it is possible by cutting the thread, but it will leave holes, and since the jacket is used, then the part which was covered by the decal, might appear darker than its surrounding
     
  7. A 'decal' isn't painted or stitched on. It is glued to the leather. I'd take Hide'n'seek's advice. Leave it alone.
     
  8. RJR

    RJR

    Messages:
    10,622
    Location:
    Iowa
    Agree,no matter how it was done there will be signs that it was removed.
     
  9. Fanch

    Fanch I'll Lock Up

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    4,490
    Location:
    Texas
    Personally, I prefer nothing added to a flight jacket of mine, even my USN G-1 while I was on active duty, including name tag, patches, decals, etc. However, I doubt the decal on the upper arm of your high end A-2 is that noticeable, and if it were my A-2, I would leave well enough alone. [huh]
     
  10. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,034
    Location:
    SoCal
    If this is the recent one from ebay (NZ), it could possibly be a Buzz Rickson jacket (I could be wrong too). I would contact Charles at HPA about it, but I figure it's best left alone.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  11. Well you do have one expert jacket manufacture's opinion with Hide'n'seek's advice.
    HD
     
  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    22,419
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yes. Leave well alone.... if it bothers you that much, wear it until you can replace it with one without, then sell to cover cost of second jacket. If you find, by the time you've saved enough for another jacket, that it doesn't actually bother you that much, then...
     
  13. Stand By

    Stand By One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,737
    Location:
    Canada
    Good day, Dude.
    I would also strongly recommend that you don't attempt to remove the decal. Consider it non-removable in any practical sense. To get it off, you'd need to use a "hot" solvent like acetone, but it will also remove the finish of the tanned leather and will ultimately leave you with a ruined mess you'd wish you'd never started.
    So you have two options: a) to work with the decal you have or b) to cover it.
    I had an AAF decal on my ELC B-6 that I later wished wasn't there - and I painted it out using artist acrylic paints and I matched the satin sheen of the leather using a mix of satin and matt clear varnishes, and TBH I surprised myself that it worked so well. You had to really look and know it was ever there to spot the work. In the end, I'd forgotten I'd even done it. But the fact that the B-6 was a dark "bitter chocolate" colour helped me enormously. If it was a russet colour, I would think that that would have been too hard to match and hide.
    An alternative solution to your problem would be to simply have an original AAF patch sewn over the decal (as a AAF patch will be a very similar size to the decal. Note that they can - and do - vary just a touch in size, as some have a border and some don't, and some were slightly over-sized while others were slightly under-sized, so be very sure to get an exact measurement of the diameter you require from the seller when you see one you are interested in so that it can cover the decal properly). Originals are still easy to find on-line - and are very affordable, considering their vintage - and they come in a wide variety of materials (embroidered cotton/silk/wool/bullion/leather), slightly varying colours and design styles, and finding one that you really like would solve that problem in one shot. I would recommend you have a good leaf through a few good reference books like American Flight Jackets or Art of the Flight Jacket (both by Maguire & Conway) to see a wide variety of these patches on original jacket and to see your plentiful options. I would also recommend that you have it sewn on by a professional, ideally by the jacket maker.
    Is it that the decal simply looks too new and "bright" and offends your eye that way?
    If so, you could try "aging" it and toning it down and making it appear more subtle - more like an original. You could do this using tea (a good English or Irish Breakfast Tea is what you need for this - not some wishy-washy herbal tea!) - or alternatively apply a wash of artist acrylic paint over it (which you could dry-brush for a similar effect) - and maybe add subsequent washes until it gives you the filter that you would like to see. That will do it for sure.
    I have just done a course (last Saturday morning, in fact!) on using Annie Sloan chalk paints and I picked up some "soft wax" from the range of paints - it adds a protective coat and a satin sheen to whatever it is applied to, and one is clear and one is dark (like dark brown shoe polish) and I bought them as I wanted to try it on one of my jackets (on some jacket art) as it looked very promising for this effect. I'd have to let you know later how that works … but it looks very promising!
    I hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  14. dude

    dude New in Town

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    hamburg, germany
    thanks guys,

    the comments have been very illuminating.

    it has not arrived yet. i'm thinking that perhaps i will leave it alone. i love old guitars and i don't like to see them altered in any way. i particularly don't like to see them damaged....
     
  15. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,612
    Location:
    England
    Eastman used to use a waterslide transfer, a bit like those you use on model aircraft etc, though I would think the 'glue' may be a little stronger.
    There is a modelling solution name Microsol, avaiable from specialist model shops(Not TOYS R US type stores) or of course the dreaded 'Bay'. What it does is melts the decal so it will conform to the models shape etc.
    So enough of my hobbies and back to jackets.
    Just maybe this could soften the decal and allow it to be peeled off. Being a water based solution I cannot see any requirements for rubber gloves or bio suits etc.
    I used acetone to remove the wind flap decal on my Eastman ANJ4, though it did lighten the leather, I applied a little leather dye to bring the colour back(was a dark seal version)
     
  16. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,970
    Location:
    Japan
    Good choice!
    These decals wrinkle, crack, and flake away a little with use- its all good character.
     
  17. Stand By

    Stand By One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,737
    Location:
    Canada
    PS. I was also thinking that you might think "But Stand By - if I put a patch over the decal, it won't cure the problem of still seeing ARMY AIR FORCES beneath it."
    True.
    But I've seen original A2s that had patches placed over the decal, so all you could see was ARM ………………..CES around the border, so it'd still be an authentic-looking solution, if not seemingly complete to you.
    I try to bear in mind that the original guys didn't over-think these things back then. They were more pre-occupied with bigger issues like hoping not being shot to bits, drowning to death, burning to death, plunging to death in terror or being killed by a mob of angry locals over enemy occupied territory! But still, we all want the look right ...

    But I'd leave it be and give it a chance and see how you feel about it over time. As Big J says, it'll wear in with the jacket in time. You may just like it more than you think.
     
  18. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,680
    Location:
    Alamo Heights ☀️ Texas
    I once bought a very nice leather jacket at a very low price because the seller had removed a decal
    which left a mark or discoloration & was very disappointed .
    I do oil painting on my spare time. I was able to apply leather colors & massage it back to where the
    stain was gone & was good as before. "Don't try this at home unless you know what you're doing". ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  19. Dumb&dumber

    Dumb&dumber Familiar Face

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    england
    Try it out in a very small area ; use very thin sand paper like 600 grade and dip it in Pecard leather treatment..
    Try to polish it away softly.
    All the best.
     
  20. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,612
    Location:
    England
    My friends on the model forum say that Micrsol (see my post above) will melt the decal. If it has been applied for a few years though I guess that if you did remove it there may be some sun bleaching to the leather not covered by the decal.
     

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