How to remove permanent marker?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by JasonC, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. JasonC

    JasonC Member

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    I got a nice wooden film holder. Everything is in excellent condition except that the previous owner used permanent marker to mark the holder for film type. What is the easiest way to remove the mark without damaging the finish? Thanks.

    Jason.
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I'd be interested in this one too as I have yet to find an answer, regardless of the solvent I have used -- though probably a lot depends on the substrate, e.g. yacht varnish is easier than oiled wood.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Try isopropyl alcohol, cotton balls and a lot of elbow grease. It works if you work at it long enough.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2007
  4. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    Tough question. On metals, Lacquer thinnner takes the marker off with one wipe, but will probably also take the finish off the holder too. However, even if it does, its not a big deal to give the holder another coat of lacquer.

    Due to the nature of lacquer, it will "melt" any old finish and adhere, no need for sanding the old finish.

     
  5. PatTrent

    PatTrent Subscriber

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    I assume we're talking about removing marker from the opaque white part of the top of the dark slide, right? Then, I would try a little nail polish remover on a cotton bud. Try just a tiny little spot. Pour some nail polish into the lid that came with that bottle, dip the cotton swab, squeeze it as dry as you can, and then rub firmly over a small section as a test. Then rinse with a soapy swab, followed by a fresh water swab or cloth. It MIGHT take some of the high gloss off the plastic, but it won't melt it.

    I have successfully removed permanent marker from white plastic objects before using this method, but it really depends on the marker and the material bearing the writing.
     
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    In bygone years I have found naptha (lighter fluid) fairly effective on magic marker ink. As solvents go, it's fairly benign (but very flammable).

    DaveT
     
  7. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    The "Sharpie" brand markers seem to be alcohol-soluble, but if the ink has been there for a long time it may have diffused into the finish and be more or less impossible to remove completely. The good news is that when you find a solvent that doesn't touch the ink, you can look for a "repair" finish that doesn't mix with that solvent, to paint over it without bleed-through. This is the principle behind using shellac (alcohol-soluble) to seal resin pockets and knots in pine (turpentine-soluble, like varnish). In your case, of course, you probably want something of appropriate color and gloss that is alcohol-resistant. (Model-airplane dope is a likely candidate, because the engine fuels are alcohol-based; for flat white, consider White-Out or similar correction fluid.)
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, naphtha works for permanent marker, and it is easy on fine wood finishes in general (it was first recommended to me by a guitar repair technician).
     
  9. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    PEC-12 Photo emulsion cleaner will take off ink. Don't know what it will do to other finishes.

    Jon
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If the finish on the holder is shellac, then the alcohol will disolve it. However, like lacquer, it's easy to blend in new finish.
     
  11. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    If it can be removed, then its not really permanent, is it?
    Sorry to be unhelpful, but the little devil on my left shoulder wouldn't leave me alone until I typed this.
     
  12. S_Patton

    S_Patton Member

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    I use those eraseable markers to erase permanent markers. You know the kind that are used to mark on those white "chalkboards" and are erased with a chalk style eraser. Just color over the permanent marker as if you're blacking it out then erase. Sometimes it MAY take a second or third time, depending on how long it's been there.
     
  13. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Meths (methylated spirit) works for me every time (and petroleum lighter fuel for residues of sticky labels).
     
  14. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    There is a product called Grafitti Remover - works great - purchased at local hardware store. Works wonders on film holders :smile:

    Mike
     
  15. JasonC

    JasonC Member

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    Thank you very much for all the suggestions. I'll try using isopropyl alcohol first and progress to other methods suggested if that does not work.

    Jason.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2007
  16. JasonC

    JasonC Member

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    Oh, one more thing. How do I tell if the finish is shellac or lacquer? (That tells you how much I know about woodworking. :D )

    Jason.
     
  17. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I received some defaced cescolite trays from an eBay auction today. This method worked WONDERFULLY.
     
  18. JosBurke

    JosBurke Member

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    Something to consider that is virtually solvent free is the dry eraser (Mr. Clean brand, etc..) that is sold at WalMartor similar-- dampen it and scrub it off--As an example -I got my son a Video iPod for his birthday and his 2 yr old sister wasted no time in acquiring a Sharpie and did a number on it----That is a WHITE iPOD BTW--dry eraser took it all right off---a very impressive product ! That was the first time she acquired a Sharpie and what a perfect item to scribble up---it's clean as a pin now and the Sharpie's are out of reach !!!
     
  19. matti

    matti Member

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    I always start with isopropyl alcohol then go on to ethanol and only after that try stronger stuff. If it is an ordinary "permanent marker"-pen the isopropanol should work.
    /matti
     
  20. JasonC

    JasonC Member

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    Never thought of that. I have a box full of the Mr. Clean dry eraser. Need to try it out. Thanks.

    Jason.
     
  21. JasonC

    JasonC Member

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    Tried the Magic Eraser last night and took the markers clean off. Thanks Joseph.

    Jason.
     
  22. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    WD-40 works amazingly well.
     
  23. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I find myself having to remove stuff like that a lot. My arsenal is:

    iso alcohol for latex paint

    butane (lighter fluid) for removing gummy deposits from plastics and other surfaces

    acetone for tougher stuff and permanent marker (beware the surface you use)

    lacquer thinner for other paints/lacquers/super-permanent marker. But if you're trying to remove it from wood, chances are it will remove or damage the finish. You can always re-lacquer. That's the beauty of lacquer though. You can touch it up just fine - unlike polyurethane or other wood finishes.
     
  24. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Shellac is similar to lacquer in that it can be touched up with similar methods. But the solvent for shellac is alcohol.