I just finished building a deck. The boards have stamps 1–2 ft from each end, and I could not bring my self to be as wasteful as to always cut them off. I tried to place the boards with the stamp down when possible, but the mill seemed to have taken special care to place the stamp on the “good” (undamaged) side of most boards. Here is a picture:

deck stamp

I probably have 30–50 of these stamps to sand off. How easily do they come off—is it too much to do by hand, using a block and sandpaper, given that I have no ambition of becoming the next Karate Kid? If so, I will have to convince my wife to let me buy another powertool. :) Should I get a belt sander, or will a random-orbit sander or Mouse be sufficient for this job? (The latter two would be more useful for future indoor projects.)

5 Answers 5


If you can get under your deck I'd try and do a test sanding just using sandpaper and some arm strength to see how easy the stamps come off. I'd be willing to bet a small orbital sander would do the trick with some fine grit paper.

Orbital sanders are pretty cheap so convincing the wife shouldn't be too much trouble. Maybe hop on craigslist or ebay and see if ya snag one on the cheap.

  • You can probably rent an orbital or belt sander at home depot for a few bucks as well. Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 14:03
  • 2
    @eric: Never waste a good opportunity to buy new tools. =)
    – JohnFx
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 14:22
  • 1
    @JohnFx - I used to think the same thing, but now I got so many tools I don't know what to do with them all :) Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 15:01
  • @Eric - Craigslist! :) I'd buy some if I lived closer LOL
    – user45
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 15:10
  • @Scott - but once I have a tool, I can't get rid of it... I might need it someday right? (probably the day after I sell it) Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 15:28

I was curious if you could wash those off and found an article that has four different ways to wash off stamp ink: http://www.ehow.com/how_5185607_remove-ink-stamp-wood.html.

Of course this is talking about stamp pad ink but I would try one of these to see if you could get the ink out first before going to sanding it (sanding could be visible if you are not very careful).

  • Although after reading your question again, maybe you are looking for a reason to buy a new tool. ;) Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 17:15
  • [cough], how did you know? It takes one to know one, I suppose. Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 17:31

It looks like you're using untreated dimensional lumber for your deck. If you want that to last you really need to paint it. That would get rid of the stamps. Untreated fir like that really doesn't like to be outdoors. Even with a deck sealer you're not going to get the life out of it that you'll be happy with I think. Especially if it's uncovered as most decks are.

  • No, it's pressure treated. Home Depot's variety isn't as green as the other ones. Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 13:09
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    however be carefull that you replace the treatment you send of.
    – Walker
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 10:51

Have you asked the mill if there is a way for you to remove their ink?

Failing any useful response from them, you might want to try lemon juice. I know it's good for removing the stains from steel coming into contact with tannin and it might work.


According to this link, https://www.decks.com/how-to/494/removing-ink-stamps-from-lumber, the ink is somewhat washable. It will wear off on its own, and can be scrubbed off with bar soap and abrasive scrubbing pads. If that doesn't work, you can still sand, or leave it to wear away on its own.

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