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Getting sharpie off a bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by kesh, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. kesh


    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    The previous owner of my bass wrote on it in permanent marker. Most of it's off but a stain remains on the lacquer.

    Any ideas to remove it?
  2. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I build and modify basses
  4. kesh


    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    This is the kind of stain left after you've got most of it off with WD-40. I tried again with it, but no joy. As it is a stain, I'm wondering about a spot of bleach.
  5. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Show some pics. More aggressive treatments may start to degrade the finish. I suggest trying some Scratch-X, perhaps this may remove just the top few microns of the finish where the stain resides.
  6. The solvent that works for permanent markers is alcohol. Try isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) from a drug store in the highest percentage you can find.

    It works very well, although I've never used it to remove the ink after a surface has been exposed to WD40, some other chemical or if the ink has actually penetrated the surface.
  7. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    A tennis ball and some elbow grease.
  8. kesh


    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    didn't work

    i think it's beyond solvents, it's actually stained the lacquer. might try scratch-x or some other abrasive polishing fluid.
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Naphtha. The large home center out on the four lane has it.

    Can't find naphtha use lighter fluid.

    Naphtha is less expensive.
  10. kesh


    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    i think it's beyond solvents
  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Try toothpaste on a rag; it's a mild abrasive.
  12. amroach


    Feb 11, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    i had terrible trouble getting sharpie ink to stay on my tooth brush... ...Soooo you could brush your teeth with it... :bag:
  13. JasonLamb


    Aug 17, 2007
    I have used superglue solvent to get it off a guitar...not nitro lacquer though
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Gel-gloss paste. It's water based so you can thin it.
  15. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    lighter fluid, fingernail polish remover, auto rubbing compound (w/buffer?)
  16. Well if solvents don't work then the only possible alternative I can think of is to buff it out. The problem being how deeply has the ink penetrated the finish. You're on your own there.

    In the past I've successfully used Maguire car products to buff out finishes. Various grades of abrasive depending on the situation. Definitely don't use a buffer.

    If you do a search, other folks have used various products to buff out finishes with great results.

    But the issue is, can you buff it out and still have some finish left?

    You also might want to try posting in the Luthiers forum. There may be possible repair approaches.
  17. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I had remove sharpie from a nitro finished acoustic guitar once. I used the medium then fine buffing compounds from Stewart McDonald guitar shop supply followed by scratch x to restore the shine.

    Are you working with a poly finish? If so, the correct solvent for sharpie is actually acetone (though alcohol also sometimes works). A quick wipe of acetone won't hurt most modern poly finishes.

    If you go the abrasives route, start with the mildest one you can. Remember that if you go more aggressive, you'll need to follow with milder compounds to remove the scratches you leave. And on poly it's very difficult to achieve a like new gloss without a trip to the buffing wheel. Good luck!
  18. Fingernail polish remover and superglue are the same thing - acetone.
    If he finish is REALLY lacquer (highly doubtful) they will remove the paint very quickly.

    Don't go there if you have any reasonable suspicion that it's lacquer. If it's a poly finish, they're OK to use.

    Your best bet is a mildly abrasive polish like 3-M Finesse-It II machine polish or some of the auto products from Meguiar's which contain mild abrasive. (The abrasive is what makes it "polish" as opposed to "wax".) You will need to use them to remove the finish down to the depth of the stained paint - just try not to go all the way through the finish.
  19. kesh


    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    Thanks guys, I had a brainwave and got it off with an electric toothbrush and toothpaste.
  20. basey

    basey Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    the best way to remove sharpie is to write over it with sharpie and wipe it off right away. It sounds screwy but it works.

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