Removing Deep Divots, Dents, and Writing Indentations

A dent or divot in the cover of a book can be frustrating.

A dent or divot in the cover of a book can be frustrating.  This can be pre-existing or if you have debris and dirt on the pressing plate (or cover of book) before pressing.

USING A BALL BEARING AND TACK IRON (ADVANCED)

If you have been studying my guide on “How to Press Comic Books with a T-Shirt Heat Press“, I have mentioned there are some advanced aspects to pressing comic books on your own.  One advanced technique I would like to talk about today is deep writing indentations.  Or, you might have a divot or a tiny crater on your comic book cover, affectionately called “pebbling”.

Pencil writing can be erased but often leaves the indentations as a reminder.  Deep writing from a sheet of paper that was on top of a comic book long ago, a divot or dent in your cover can certainly ruin the eye appeal of your book.  Do not worry, you can try this trick out before making the final pressing.   Or, if you had some dirt or debris on the pressing plate and/or comic book then you can try this method to fix your mistake.

 

What you will need:

  1. Sealing Tack Iron
  2. Ball bearing, a single 1.5″ diameter silver chrome ball bearing
  3. Magazine Sized backer boards
  4. Silicone Release Paper (SRP)  ULINE has boxes of 1000 sheets cut to size for $85 shipped

 

How the process works and a few guidelines before you begin:

  1. Wipe your balls!  The ball bearings will have an oil coating on them to prevent rust and corrosion.
  2. This will not remove writing such as ballpoint pen or sharpie marker.
  3. You can attempt to erase pencil writing and use this method to remove it completely
  4. This process is time consuming and you must be very patient
  5. You will apply heat to the area, then roll the ball bearing around across it several times
  6. Repeat as necessary until removed completely
  7. Press as usual

 

One ball bearing, 1.5" inch diameter.

One ball bearing, 1.5″ inch diameter.

If you see a pre-existing divot or dent in your cover you can try this trick out before pressing.   Or, if you had some dirt or debris on the pressing plate and/or comic book then you can try this method to fix your mistake.  Find or purchase a one and a half inch (1.5″) or two inch (2″) steel ball bearing.  These ball bearings are coated in oil from the factory to prevent rusting or corrosion.  Be sure to wipe your balls clean with a Clorox wipe.  Yes, I said to be sure to wash your balls.  You do not want your balls exposed to bare cover, either.  Always use silicone release paper squares when doing this trick with the ball bearing:

A tacking iron helps localize the area being worked on. You can also try flattening out spine ticks this way as well.

A tacking iron helps localize the area being worked on. You can also try flattening out spine ticks this way as well.

A tacking iron speeds this process up instead of using the press machine.  You can use the press machine if you don’t have a tacking iron.  The tacking iron helps localize the area being focused on.  Start by placing SRP underneath the cover being worked on.  Make sure a clean smooth surface is underneath the comic book.  I use a golden age mylite2+fullback so I can move the book around with ease.

After placing SRP above and below cover, heat and flatten the spot with a tack iron for only a few seconds.

After placing SRP above and below cover, heat and flatten the spot with a tack iron for only a few seconds.

Place a small square cut sheet of SRP on top of the cover being worked on.  You can place a backer board underneath the cover as well if the initial process doesn’t work the first time.  Keep in mind this method doesn’t always work.  For example, if you can see the divot pass through onto the next 4 or 5 pages of the book, this method might not be successful for you.  If the divot or dent removed ink and caused a color breaking divot you can press it back out but the ink removed will still show the dent.

After placing SRP above and below cover, heat and flatten the spot with a tack iron for only a few seconds.

After placing SRP above and below cover, heat and flatten the spot with a tack iron for only a few seconds.

After you now have the SRP and backer board in place, begin heating up the tack iron to 140-150 degrees for moderns or 160-165 degrees for bronze and copper.  After just a few seconds the book should be warm to the touch.

 

Set the ball bearing down on the heated spot, and press down firmly with the palm of your hand, rolling the ball bearing around the spot in a circular motion.

Set the ball bearing down on the heated spot, and press down firmly with the palm of your hand, rolling the ball bearing around the spot in a circular motion.

 

 

Place your clean and washed ball bearing down on top of the SRP square sheet on cover and begin rolling the ball around the location of the divot.  Press firmly with the palm of your hand as you press down with pressure and roll the ball in circular motions.

 

You can pinch the ball bearing as well and roll it around firmly in a circular motion.

You can pinch the ball bearing as well and roll it around firmly in a circular motion.

 

You can also pinch the ball bearing with your thumb and 2 index fingers while pressing downward with firm pressure.  Alternatively, you can carefully open the cover and perform the process on the underside of the cover if you can see the bump from other side.  This method is risky because you can put stress on the spine and create spine ticks.  Only try the underside if you feel the ball bearing isn’t working well on the top side of the cover.

Set the ball bearing down on the heated spot, and press down firmly with the palm of your hand, rolling the ball bearing around the spot in a circular motion.

Set the ball bearing down on the heated spot, and press down firmly with the palm of your hand, rolling the ball bearing around the spot in a circular motion.

The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.

The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.

The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.

The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.

The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.

The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.

 

You can see the final results of this 1975 Marvel Comics GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 in this photo album.

 

Leave a Reply