Removing marks from mats


PFG, Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Nov 19, 2002
United Kingdom, West Sussex Coast. (Bottom centre)
We all get them, regardless of what we cover our workbenches with (paper that interleaves glass in my case) some are self inflicted, some not.

I have a putty rubber (soft - for faint marks) a 'mystic eraser' (normal - for more stubborn marks) and a typewriter eraser (hard - for even more stubborn marks).

The typewriter rubber is a thing of the past - because a typewriter also is! I used to use one in pencil form, you could sharpen it to an oh-so- fine point for removing those tiny little specks JUST in or sometimes even under the surface paper, also very good for self inflicted specks, it will even tidy up overlaps in pen and wash lines (do you call them French Mats?) In fact for a time I was lost without one of these, but now I have sourced them again, through one of out craft suppliers.

What do you use?
My favorite "operating tools" are a white vinyl eraser, an ink eraser and a razor blade & masking tape combo.
Scuff marks can be removed by simply washing the mat. Wipe the mat down with a clean sponge that is wet enough to evenly wet the mats surface without saturating it. Be sure your mat is completely dry before fitting it. This method will also clean up very minor dirt smudges.

An art gum eraser seems to get most of the more serious marks.

Another handy item is the old dry cleaning erasers in a fabric bag that draftsmen used to use. I still have a few old Opaline dry cleaning pads, handy as heck for some marks.

Draftsman's erasing shields are also handy for getting small spots.

Very fine sandpaper if you are doing a rag mat, just sand the mark off.

Hope I helped a little,

John, first time I heard an eraser called a rubber I 'bout fell out of my chair. A woman I worked with, from England, asked me to hand her "that rubber". I looked everywhere, didn't see one. She finally said "for pencils, you idiot!" Ooooohhhhh.....!

Anyway, if you rub too hard with your rubber on a dark mat and get a light spot, nose grease works great. Before you say EEeeewwww, everyone has a little oil on their noses (not in them!). Rub the tip of your finger on your nose, and then lightly on the light spot. It will return it to it's original dark color. Careful, if you get too much it will go the other way. Paul Fredericks taught me that. Said spit and nose grease can be a framers best friend!
Val, I haven't heard that one since I lived in Vancouver. Your right, we called em rubbers, not erasers. When I first started school in the eighth grade in San Diego, that one would get a lot of snickering from the other kids, and glares from the teachers.

We also called those rubber gum boots, "rubbers"

If you look in the search under that topic you will probaly find the recommended use of K2R spray spot remover .It works acceptionally well with oilyer spots.You should use it lightly and allow it to dry completely before dusting the reidue off. I may also be necessarry to reaplly it ,even ,more then twice.But it works great along with all the other suggestions you already have received.

In the eraser department I like Mars soft white erasers and in some cases where dusting isn't any problem I like a drafting bag eraser ( sometimes called a "SCUM BAG" by certain manufacurers ).

I have always shyed away from any abrasuve erasers like those used to remove INK ( it is sometimes better to use a Q-tip with generic hair spray on it for ink then the K2R.)Also be very ,very gentle if useing an emory board or such.som of these can remive the spot but also the clay coating on the paper ( the shinny surface) leaving a very tell tale mark.
Oops I keep slipping up with things we have different words for.

Here it can be either rubber or eraser.

The things you call 'rubbers' we call 'Johnnies'

In our local pub there is a machine in the Gents, someone has scrawled across it "My Dad says these don't work!"
Originally posted by FramerDave:
A sheet of matboard costs you how much?

What is your shop time per minute?

Keep that in mind when deciding when you've spent enough time trying to get a mark out of a 16x20 mat.
Absolutely - I know in seconds if I'm going to remove the mark or if this mat is going to either hit the wall or end up making something flush.

But sometimes the mark(s) is (are) discovered, or happen, after say, a fillet has been fitted, or even after the artwork has been hinged.

Sometimes even after you have completed an elaborate set of washlines.

The flumb pervert has a lot of friends!
On the subject of washlines - and I've asked this before - is this what you would call French Mats?

It is illegal in UK to refer to anything as 'French'
An American tourist in London wanders into a local pub, downs a few pints, then stumbles out the door. After walking for a while, he finds himself in a posh residential neighborhood with no public bathrooms.

In pain, he finds a side street and walks up to a wall. Just as he unzips his pants, a British cop grabs his arm and says, "Sir, you can't do that here."

"Sorry, officer," replies the American, "but I really have to take a leak, and I can't find a bathroom anywhere."

"Follow me, then," says the cop. He leads the American down a back alley and opens a gate. Inside is a lush garden with manicured lawns, topiaries, statues, and fountains.

"Whiz anywhere you like," says the cop.

The American goes about his business, then returns and says, "I guess this is what you call English hospitality!"

"No, sir," replies the cop. "This is what we call the French embassy."
Robo your point ;

"But sometimes the mark(s) is (are) discovered, or happen, after say, a fillet has been fitted, or even after the artwork has been hinged.

Sometimes even after you have completed an elaborate set of washlines."

Is easily understood by me. I have spent as much as an hour or more carveing an intricate mat and maybe it isn't my first try or worse I 'm down to my last piece of that mat and the dead line is here.

On Blanks or even mats with just Filets in it by all means get another mat.That is unless the customer is in the car on the way.

Don't you find that the more often you do a special cut or design the more that goes wrong and then who pays for the lost shop time?

I haven't found anyplace to buy another mat like say my "Bride mat"( look at Buddy's designs).Not even at my CMC provider.
Johnny - Superb!

How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?

God knows, they've never tried!

Buddy, yes, single plain mats are not the problem, it's the elaborate ones
We call it 'Sod's Law' over here.
Paul, that wasn't my original idea. I said Paul Fredericks taught me that. Now, don't tell me NO-ONE ELSE does that. Okay, maybe you don't call it nose grease. Anyone else? C'mon, 'fess up, you guys. Help me out here.
Val I'll take a shot at helping you explain.
If any one knows a Pipe smoker just ask them. I have been told that one of the best and easiest ways to keep that hand rubbed finish on your best Pipe is to rub it on the side of your nose while it is still warm. It will pick up a nice luster since one of the oiliest spots on the human body is the side of your nose.

Still another example of this problem is the ladys Powdering there noses to take the SHINE off of them .Could it be the shine is caused by the body oils they exude? I'll bet it is but it just isn't called "NOSE GREASE" in these cases .

At any rate just rub or scratch your nose while attempting one of those very involved mats . You can call it whatever you like but the result will be the same.You'll be doing a search for post like this one.LOL
My dad taught me to rub the ferrules of my fly rod alongside my nose when assembling the rod. They won't be hard to pull apart that way but will have enough of a friction fit to not fly apart in the middle of a roll cast.

Okay, so we'll call it Nose Shine. Use a little Nose Shine to darken the light spot on the mat that your Rubber made trying to fix the mark. How's that? Jeeze. Or have I made it worse now? All's I know is that it works for this framer. And it's free, too! (Look Ma, I made it myself!)
"Nose Shine, A Framer's Best Friend!" How's that for a booth at the next show? Paul Fredericks, I'm trying here. (Keep diggin' Val, it's getting deeper)
Nah, maybe not a booth after all. After re-reading Buddy's post "Rub or scratch your nose while attempting one of those very involved mats and you will be looking for a post like this one.", I was reminded that Nose Shine can also be a framers nightmare. Never mind.