Restoration Assistance

Profile picture for user oldgit158

Member for

7 years 7 months

Posts: 599

Hello All,

I purchased this original spitfire tailplane skin last week at the Newark aerojumble and as you can see from the photographs there are still remains of the original
paintwork and stencils, sadly someone has writtain in permanent marker and its with this I need your assistance with.

I have tried white spirit, methelated spirits and even rubbing it with a black dry marker but to no avail, so hoping that someone on here will be able to offer with some proven suggestions to remove the marker writing.

My intentions is to clean it up whilst preserving the remaining original CBAF stencils under a thin coat of matt varnish.


Many thanks in anticipation


Original post

Member for

8 years 9 months

Posts: 59

I would try Isopropyl Alcohol or one of the aerosol label removers.

Profile picture for user Whitley_Project

Member for

20 years

Posts: 2,800

Acetone should work well for this

Member for

11 years 3 months

Posts: 824

Or Car Paint thinners, I doubt IPA will touch it given failure with meths.

Profile picture for user Flytst

Member for

14 years 1 month

Posts: 350

I know this might sound silly, but try ACF50.

It has remove no end of dirt, grime and even carbon from piston crowns for me. It will also go a long way to corrosion proofing the bit you are working too.


Member for

13 years 3 months

Posts: 8,852

As said MEK, but we used to clean permanent marker off charts with cheap aftershave, so as 'enry used to say, splash it all over....

Profile picture for user Sabrejet

Member for

9 years 10 months

Posts: 1,740

Thirded: MEK is the only thing you need. Clears the sinuses too.

Profile picture for user oldgit158

Member for

7 years 7 months

Posts: 599


I would like to thank everybody who has made some very good suggestions, will be trying out the more easier (and cheaper :highly_amused:) available items first, so will let you know if there is any progress.

Again thanks


Profile picture for user Meddle

Member for

5 years 4 months

Posts: 1,613

I saw an interesting discussion online once whereby somebody had studied autographs under a microscope. Those signed with a permanent marker were actually scratched into the finish to some degree. Apparently the nibs are abrasive.

I've heard of people using another non-permanent marker to scribble over the original marks, which serves to move the ink about and make it easier to remove with another substance, be it acetone or whatever.

Hats off to whoever scrawled on the panel to begin with. :stupid:

Profile picture for user John Aeroclub

Member for

13 years 6 months

Posts: 2,766

Lighter fuel. I've just done it on a piece of aluminium. I walked out to the car park with you and commented on your acquisition.


Member for

12 years

Posts: 1,528

To remove permanent marker from white boards you scribble over it with the correct non-permanent marker and then wipe off quickly before it dries. Works on white boards but I'd try it on a scrap bit of ally before your skins.

Profile picture for user FarlamAirframes

Member for

12 years 1 month

Posts: 1,437

chaps can I suggest some science..

Like dissolves like - water does not dissolve oil as they are at opposite ends of the polarity spectrum.

Lighter fuel is an alkane - it will dissolve only non polar materials.

MEk is methyl ethyl ketone - it is a relatively polar molecule - it will dissolve polar compounds.

Acetone is also a ketone - but more readily available from the chemists as nail varnish remover.

The difference between acetone and MEK is CH2 - i.e. not very much in a chemical perspective.

Cellulose paint thinners is a mix of aromatic compounds and ethanol. - low to mid polarity.

Meths is is methylated alcohol - mid polarity.

If you sniff a marker pen and it smells of pear drops - it uses amyl acetate - an ester as solvent - moderately polar.

From a science experiment - working form polar to nonpolar would give you the best chance of dissolving the marker before the paint.

As meths and white spirit do not work - I would also try nail varnish remover - acetone as my next step.

If these do not work - the pen used may not have used the ester solvent system.

Profile picture for user oldgit158

Member for

7 years 7 months

Posts: 599


Well finally finished the tail plane skin and very happy with how its turned out :D. I tried using the dry wipe marker method which sadly did not work, nor did using a new permanent marker which also made matters worse :mad:
Using the nail varnish remover first which took the majority off, I then used the surgical spirit to take the final traces of the marker finishing off with a complete wipe down of white spirit.
Now all I have to do is paint it with clear satin varnish.

To everybody who took the time and trouble to advise me...a big thank you gentlemen :eagerness::very_drunk:



Profile picture for user Fouga23

Member for

14 years

Posts: 2,243

I Wouldn't varnish it. Varnish can turn yellow and peel off. You'll risk damaging the artifact.

Profile picture for user oldgit158

Member for

7 years 7 months

Posts: 599


I have a big feeling your right, so will not varnish however someone did suggest cleaning with white spirit, leaving to dry thoroughly followed by putting a very thin coat of beeswax polish on top.