Removing Ink plate Marks

After cleaning the old dried ink off my newly acquired letterpress, I was left with these seemingly permanent roller marks on my ink plate.

These will not come off with solvents, but I was curious if it would be appropriate to try and use some sand paper, or perhaps an attachment on my drill?

Curious if anybody has experience with this. Thanks!

image: Ink Plate

Ink Plate

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Someone left the rollers on the ink table. The marks are not dried ink, from my experience, more likely an etching of the surface due to moisture. Lemon juice and vinegar (10 to 1) or salt and vinegar solution (both create a very dilute hydrochloric acid) will probably get them with a little elbow grease and maybe some steel wool. But they do no harm and they’ll fade with repeated cleaning of the ink table after each job.

Sand paper or a wire brush will leave noticeable marks and scratches. I wouldn’t do that. But if you do, it won’t affect inking.

A random orbital sander with a fine grit will work nicely taking the marks off. A machine shop can also resurface an ink disk.

I resurface ink tables in my lathe using a flexible sanding block. If you don’t have a lathe, Arie’s idea of etching the plate could work well.

I use 4:1 vinegar/lime juice or a product named “Prep & Etch” which I purchase at Home Depot.

But be careful - any of these acidic solutions do have the potential to stain the steel, so don’t let anything sit on it for too long without agitation.

Another solution I have used on smaller ink tables - or ones which I cannot fit into my small lathe - is to walk around the shop, whistling some boring tune and rubbing the ink table endlessly in a circular motion using green Scotch Brite pads…

(yes, seriously…) I’ve used all three approaches and they have all worked well.

Thanks Alan.. last night I used some water and some 1500 wet sandpaper and a flexible block. It helped a bit… but didn’t remove the marks.

I’ll get some of that Prep & Etch and see what happens.

If nothing happens, I guess I can always bring it in my by friends auto body shop. I’m sure he’d make quick work of those marks :)