While nice, I got my first real chance to look at it objectively at the show, and the new one just wasn't in the same grain league with the bent, which had much friendlier wood and an accordingly deeper blast. With extended consideration, I decided I'd marked it one notch too high and wanted to change the grade from a 3 ($550) to a 2 ($415) before posting it on the site for sale. This brought up a prickly problem, though - HOW to get rid of a nice deep "3" stamping in a crowded smooth oval on the bottom of the shank, without sanding it out and making a recession/ripple. And also without removing the logo and year stamping!
I talked about this for a while with Emily and she came up with the final solution. Most people know how to use a wet rag and an iron to steam dents out of a bowl, but this needed more finesse. What I did was this:
- Scrubbed thoroughly over the surface with acetone to remove wax and help remove any surface moisture. Once it was rubbed to an almost white tone...
- I soaked a Q-Tip in water and held it on the stamp mark. I let it soak for a bit. I soaked a small, folded-over rag with water and twisted the corner round till it was a small point. I put this point against the single "3" number stamping and let it saturate the wood.
- While this was going on, Emily had turned on our soldering iron and let it heat up.
- I touched the hot tip to the wet rag exactly over top of the "3" stamping, making a small burst of steam.
- I wet the rag again and repeated the touch, steam, re-wet process 3 times, after which the wood had expanded back to its previous shape and there was barely a trace of the stamping mark.
- I gave it a final rub-over with 800 grit paper wrapped around the tip of a flat stick, and that was that - A newly pristine surface space on which I could stamp my re-thought grade 2. Voila!