can ink be removed from paper without damaging the paper?
July 18, 2005 6:20 AM   Subscribe

I suspect that this is impossible, but; is there a technique that would allow me to remove ink from paper without affecting the appearance of the paper? Specifically, I would like to remove marks left by a black, self-inking stamp on the fly-leaf of a book.

Bonus points if for whomever can remove the same type of ink that has been stamped over text without damaging the text beneath.
posted by Grod to Grab Bag (2 answers total)
Probably the best solution would be the one used by "check washers", people who remove writing from checks and increase the amount or change who it was written to while leaving the signature and the printed info. Googling may give some information, but I would try an assortment of solvents. Place a stack of paper towels under the page so the ink won't leach down into the book. I would place a couple layers of paper towel over the stamp put a couple drops of solvent on a small area. Blot and don't rub. Change to fresh area of paper towel each time (don't be stingy). Don't soak the paper, the ink will transfer to other side. Some ink dissolves in rubbing alcohol, but it contains a large amount of water will dry slowly. I would try denatured alcohol from a hardware store first, then increase to maybe acetone, then lacquer thinner, then methylene chloride (dichloromethane) if the ink is resistant to the previous solvent. Methylene chloride is nasty (cancer causing) stuff, it is in some aerosol electronic cleaners, you could spray into a baby food jar to get some liquid. Obviously, it would be ideal to try this out on a non-collectable book first.
posted by 445supermag at 8:11 AM on July 18, 2005

This Library of Congress page has some very general book storage questions but also has a link for questions. They may help you out or be able to direct you to the appropriate resource. Also, if you have a nearby university/art school with a book arts program, someone there can probably tell you what to do.
posted by desuetude at 9:14 AM on July 18, 2005

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