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Removing Pencil Marks

Joined
Jun 6, 2018
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I had to make some pencil marks on a piece after final sanding. I was able to sand them off with the final grit of sandpaper, but given that this was p600 it took a while. Actually erasing will sometimes work, too. But I'm wondering if any of the common solvents (e.g. MS, acetone) will dissolve graphite?
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
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TN
Dissolve graphite? No. Maybe help float it away, but I would suspect if you found one that did it would just drive much of it deeper and make a mess. I've always found the best way to remove pencil marks was with a pencil eraser, much better than sanding. You might touch sand with your 600grit after erasing it to make everything consistent.
 
Joined
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South Plainfield, NJ
I had to make some pencil marks on a piece after final sanding. I was able to sand them off with the final grit of sandpaper, but given that this was p600 it took a while. Actually erasing will sometimes work, too. But I'm wondering if any of the common solvents (e.g. MS, acetone) will dissolve graphite?
Alcohol on a rag will get rid of pencil lines pretty easily.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
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Like Bob Sheppard said, alcohol or most other solvents will remove pencil. I do an extensive amount of pencil drawing on the basket illusions and other pyro's pieces. I use a kneaded erasure to remove what I can because it doesn't smudge like the rubber erasures. But from experience I've found that the alcohol base of the artisan wood dyes I use makes the remnants disappear and the petroleum based solvents in the oil/poly finishes does the same.
 

Randy Anderson

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The quality of pencil matters as well. I use Ticonderoga #2 soft and just a light touch makes a mark that I can see without denting the wood and comes off very easily. I had some cheap dentist office give aways and bulk school pencils from my kids stash and you have to press hard to get a mark and they can be tough to get out in a dent. I got rid of them. A white polymer eraser is best. Even the ones on a very nice pencil don't work well and dry out.
 
Joined
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
Run a search for electric erasers. Artists and draftsmen have been using them for a long time. Mine is about 50 years old, as I bought it in my early 20's.....still works great!

There is a video at this link, scroll down to check it out:


Not very expensive, if you shop around.

-----odie-----
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
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Montfort, Wisconsin
Couple things mentioned, the pencil and the dent. Does the alcohol remove the pencil or lift dent? Wouldn't you have to deal with the dent like you deal with tear out?
 
Joined
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I don't think alcohol will plump up the wood fibers. That usually requires water and some heat. Or you have to sand it out. Best to avoid dents, to which I have to keep an eye out for a softer (#1) pencil or try the water color pencil idea.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
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Astoria, Oregon
I mentioned this before...Rolly Munro taught us at the 2009 symposium that 6B pencils are soft, and don't dent the wood. I purchase from the local art supply store, but office supply stores also carry them. They wear out quick, so get several.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
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South Plainfield, NJ
The alcohol won't remove the dent. Like Mark Jundanian said, that requires water, and maybe a little heat.
FWIW, I had almost a 1/2 century career as a carpenter, a lot of it in finish carpentry. I learned early on to mark the wood with a light touch, since at some point the pencil mark will probably have to come off. For the most part, I can remove the pencil marks that I've made with just a quick swipe or two with an alcohol dampened rag.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
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Hot Springs, AR
I never had any luck with typical solvents, be it alcohol, mineral spirits, lacquer, etc. But I've found that isopropol alcohol works great. But here's a story on that. I have a Shopfox 24" aluminum ruler with a handle I've had for a dozen years. over time I had put pencil marks on it for reasons all of you know. Just the other day I decided it was time to remove the pencil marks using.... isopropol alcohol, of course. the IA removed completely all the ruler markings leaving me with a great handled straight edge but not good for anything else!

Also thank you Odie for the tip on electric erasers. Never heard of them, but you learn something new every day.
 
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