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FAQ No 6 – Tips on Fitting Decals

Here are a few tips on fitting your new bonnet stickers to your tractor.
Before renovation
Before you strip the paint from your bonnet  its always a good idea to measure the positioning of the original stickers so you know where to put the replacement ones and keep the information safe so you know where you can find it later.
Removal of existing stickers 
In most cases the easiest way of removing old ones is with the aid of a hot air gun. Use it to only soften the sticker but not soften the paint work underneath it. Make sure you remove all traces of adhesive with a suitable surface cleaner.
Preparation
Preparation is always the key to ensuring that your stickers will look good and stand the test of time. In most cases the reason for fitting new stickers are following a repaint/ renovation. It is important with new paint work, particularly when using enamel paint it is allowed to fully cure before applying the stickers. The paint finish must be flat and not have any dirt or dust in it as these will show through the vinyl stickers. Obviously it must be free from  any solvents or grease.
Ambient Temperature
Once happy with  your preparation it is then important to make sure the temperature of your bonnet and stickers are at the right temperature. Applying cold stickers to a cold bonnet can cause the stickers to break or tear. The ideal temperature is around  15-25 degrees C. Avoid putting stickers on in the blistering heat or in direct sunlight as this will make the vinyl too soft and may cause it to distort and not go on straight. If possible bring the bonnet into a heated workshop or even the kitchen to save problems.
Applying and positioning the sticker
There are two methods of applying your stickers, either wet or dry.
Dry Method
With the aid of masking tape position the sticker on to the side of the bonnet referring back to your original notes. If you are right handed you will usually apply the sticker from right to left and the opposite for left handers. Start by cutting off around one inch from the backing paper and then with the use of an applicator, for those unfamiliar with one you can use an old credit card that has a straight edge but ideally needs wrapping in a light cloth so as you apply it to the sticker- its purpose to expel any air from under the sticker and ensures even pressure across the sticker. The cloth ensures the card does not scratch the vinyl. With this inch of backing paper removed press down the vinyl onto the bonnet squeezing the air towards the start of the sticker. It is this first step which will hold the sticker in position and now the masking tape can now be removed. As you work your way down the bonnet, whilst peeling off the backing as you go hold the unstuck sticker under slight tension and just raised from the surface of the bonnet and in line with the bonnet. ( don’t try removing all the backing at once as this may lead to disaster as if the sticker is allowed to to touch itself you may either put a crease in the sticker or worse still be unable to separate it.)
Wet Method
Using an ordinary fly spray bottle, pour into it water with a small amount of washing up liquid ( around 5%). Then lightly spray the mixture onto the appropriate area to leave a thin film.  Take the sticker and without the use of masking tape apply the sticker in the same way as above. The soapy solution allows the sticker to be slid into place and ensures that your sticker does not end up going on crooked. Use your applicator to then squeeze the water to the outer edge of the sticker. When using this method allow the tractor to stand for a day as if driven the sticker may slip out of place due to road vibration or at high speed blow off. Again do not apply the sticker to a hot bonnet as the soapy solution will evaporate too fast.
Stickers which are covered in application tape
On David Brown models produced between 1974 and 1980 the bonnet stickers used were what are termed cut only stickers as opposed to the earlier one piece printed  sticker . These stickers are made from black vinyl  the letters and numbers being cut and removed to leave a see through sticker which allows the orchid white on the bonnet to come through. When the sticker is made, application tape, which looks like masking tape, is placed over the vinyl to make sure that when the backing paper is removed when applying the sticker to the bonnet in the dry method only, it keeps the position of the sticker in place. Once the sticker is fully in place, firmly press down the sticker again to make sure it has stuck properly to the bonnet. Then gently remove the application tape to leave just the vinyl sticker on the bonnet.
 
Helpful tips!
1. Store your stickers in a dry place, with long stickers being preferably rolled up but not too tightly.
2. Do not apply heat to the stickers prior to fitting, allow them to warm up normally to ambient temperate along with the tin work.
3. Never apply cold stickers to a cold bonnet!
 
4. On long large stickers never remove the backing completely before fitting.
 
Problems
 Air bubbles under the vinyl.
Using a needle prick the centre of the bubble and work the air towards the hole with you applicator.
Looking after your stickers
When washing your tractor do not steam clean or pressure wash near any stickers. Use warm water mixed with a suitable car shampoo and clean using a soft sponge. Avoid using brushes as these may cause scratching.