Removing smoke residue from Proofgrade

On a previous order for a thousand tokens engraved both sides using proofgrade medium maple, I found that pulling the mask before engraving and cleaning with an alcohol soak for a few minutes and rubbing with a rag was far faster than weeding both sides of 1,000 pieces.

Well, that customer returned and wants 3,000!! :grimacing: As a result I found myself looking to streamline the process. I just discovered that household ammonia cuts that stuff all but instantly, no soak - just a wipe! :crazy_face: Far faster than alcohol and even acetone.
I pinned an old face towel to my steel table with rare earth magnets, wet it with ammonia, and a quick drag, flip and repeat - Done with both sides in about 5 seconds.
A little rough on the mucus membranes, :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: so do it under ventilation or outside if you can.

Another tip. It bothered me to throw all that mask away that I had paid for, so I pull up a few inches of the mask and roll it off the proofgrade using the commercial roll I had bought. Waste not…
Happy Forging! :+1:


Also wear gloves. You won’t notice it at first, but you will after cleaning 3,000 tokens.


Good advice!
"What happend to my fingers…?!


Nice tip! Also, in case people dont know, don’t use bleach or cleaning products with bleach with this method!


so… should I just stock up on windex? :stuck_out_tongue:

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The household stuff is much stronger than Windex, as you know. I found that leaving the engrave overnight before cleaning let the residue ‘harden’ and had to soak in alcohol much longer to soften, like 10 minutes to approximate the ease of cleaning it right away. Ammonia doesn’t care.
So fast it’s magical.

Yes @Dia, Good heads-up. More than one housewife has been found dead in the bathroom from chloramine vapor caused by mixing bleach with ammonia. A good rule to follow is not to mix anything in terms of cleaners.


Thanks for the tip and congrats on the large order.


Great tip! Just need a clothespin for the nose, and I’m set. Thanks!

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Feel like you’ve saved future me so much time and sanding, thank you


Thank you!
I bought this thing for pure self indulgence not intending to try and make any money with it, but it turns out that the machine has now paid for itself! :sunglasses:


I use baby wipes and it is pure magic. Maybe give that a try.


My generic brand baby wipes did nothing. What kind do you use?

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Hydrogen peroxide is a good cleaner for burn stain… I use that for 5 years so far… it also will light up the wood a bit.


This is not happening to me at all with my household ammonia, can you tell me what brand you’re using? Or anything else that might help me repeat your magic… using the maple PG here and the regular old ammonia bottle from the hardware store.

Maybe it works if it’s super fresh?

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Just the Safeway ‘lemon scented’ :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ammonia, full strength.

That’s strange, it’s ability to cut that residue is amazing to me. It’s instant.

I wonder if it’s the lemon scent and not the ammonia that’s doing it? Seems unlikely but maybe.

That never occurred to me… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I wonder if lemon scented pledge might take up the residue?

Pledge seems like a pretty harsh solvent/surfactant anyway, it probably won’t be terrible at removing it.

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Just a thought - I 've noticed that quite a number of cleaning agents these days are lemon scented, and I’m thinking in particular of stainless steel cleaners with citric acid in them.(SWMBO always keeps de-zested lemon halves to clean the steel sink with).
I wonder if the ammonia has ammonium citrate in it, in some reasonable proportion, and if that attacks the gummy resins that are binding the carbon particles to the wooden surface ?
I’ve absolutely no knowledge of the chemistry involved, this is pure conjecture on my part.
John :upside_down_face:


That gorilla tape trick works very fast and well for removing the masking after