How to remove an ink stamp from pretreated wood before you stain it

Written by j.m. pence
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How to remove an ink stamp from pretreated wood before you stain it
Pretreated lumber may be stamped. (lumber-construction image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

Many lumber companies use an ink stamp to indicate the grade and sawmill, and to identify pressure-treated lumber as meeting the standards of the American Wood-Preservers' Association (AWPA). If the stamp is in a spot that shows on the finished wood product, such as a deck or wood furniture, the ink must be removed before the wood is stained or it will show through the finish. Several methods can be employed, depending on the type of ink used.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rag
  • Scotch pad
  • Paint thinner
  • Turpentine
  • Baking soda
  • Toothbrush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sandpaper
  • Hand sander

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  1. 1

    Dampen a scotch pad with paint thinner or turpentine and rub the ink stamp. The stamp may come off with that simple process.

  2. 2

    If the stamp remains, mix 3 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp water in a bowl. Stir to form a paste. Rub the paste onto the ink stamp with an old toothbrush or a scotch pad. Dampen a rag with water and wipe away the paste.

  3. 3

    Moisten a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rub it over the affected area. This will remove any haze left from the baking soda and any remnant of the stamp that might remain. If this does not remove the stamp, permanent ink may have been used.

  4. 4

    Use sandpaper or an electric hand sander with fine grit sandpaper attached to remove the stamp. Sand the stamp in the same direction as the wood grain until it disappears. Do not sand too deeply in any one area as that may cause low spots in your finished project. If a low spot forms, sand around it to smooth it out as much as possible.

  5. 5

    Go through your entire project until you have found and removed every stamp using the appropriate removal method for the ink type.

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