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02-24-2018, 05:03 PM   #1
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Advice - best black permanent marker for lens touch-ups?

I'm looking for something that I'm not sure actually exists, but if it does, I'm hoping you good folks can advise me...

From time to time, I have the need to touch up black screw heads on collectable vintage lenses. Very occasionally (though not often, because I prefer originality) I might even want to touch up a ding or scratch on other lens components, such as filter threads, or even bodies and barrels.

I've tried a couple of methods... the Birchwood Casey paint touch-up pens, and Sharpie black markers (note: I haven't tried the Birchwood Casey instant marker pens - not sure if they're any different?). The paint touch-up pens are difficult to control, often resulting in a lot more paint than required. Black Sharpie markers are much better in this respect, but result in a purple/red tint under direct lighting.

What I'm looking for is something like the Sharpie that doesn't have that reddish colouration, or less of it, whilst still being more-or-less permanent. Does such a thing exist? Or are there other alternatives I should try?

Thanks in advance

02-24-2018, 05:13 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Model paint, satin black. I've used it, similar sheen as lens, covers better than marker.
02-24-2018, 05:20 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by thazooo Quote
Model paint, satin black. I've used it, similar sheen as lens, covers better than marker.
I agree. Very good solution. Fine brush and job done.
02-24-2018, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #4
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You can try black Acrylic tube used by fine art folks. Not sure whether it adheres to metal surface. Probably it is going to have matte finish. Acrylic does not get washed out.

02-24-2018, 05:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far, folks.

I should have mentioned... I use matte black water-based acrylic model paint for interior touch ups and occasionally blackening of lens element edges to reduce reflections. I can see how it would be suitable for grub screw heads if used very sparingly, so will give that a try (thank you for the suggestion). But how about for filter threads? I'm thinking it would be too thick for that, even if applied very thinly indeed?
02-24-2018, 05:40 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Black nail polish.... only if you want a gloss finish. I bought polish that said it was for extreme wear. Has worked well to cover small nicks on my
older lenses. I use toothpicks to apply,
02-24-2018, 06:26 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jlstrawman Quote
Black nail polish.... only if you want a gloss finish. I bought polish that said it was for extreme wear. Has worked well to cover small nicks on my
older lenses. I use toothpicks to apply,
+ 1

It works great. Some I applied decades ago on heavily used lenses looks as good as new!
02-24-2018, 06:53 PM - 1 Like   #8
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These work well:
Birchwood Casey Sporting Goods - Super Black? Touch-Up Pen
https://www.birchwoodcasey.com/Refinishing/Metal-Finishing/Aluminum-Black-%E...ch-Up-Pen.aspx


Last edited by Not a Number; 02-24-2018 at 07:04 PM.
02-24-2018, 06:58 PM - 1 Like   #9
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M-nu is a black lacquer used by military folks to blacken scuffed metal .
02-24-2018, 06:58 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I'm looking for something that I'm not sure actually exists, but if it does, I'm hoping you good folks can advise me...

From time to time, I have the need to touch up black screw heads on collectable vintage lenses. Very occasionally (though not often, because I prefer originality) I might even want to touch up a ding or scratch on other lens components, such as filter threads, or even bodies and barrels.

I've tried a couple of methods... the Birchwood Casey paint touch-up pens, and Sharpie black markers (note: I haven't tried the Birchwood Casey instant marker pens - not sure if they're any different?). The paint touch-up pens are difficult to control, often resulting in a lot more paint than required. Black Sharpie markers are much better in this respect, but result in a purple/red tint under direct lighting.

What I'm looking for is something like the Sharpie that doesn't have that reddish colouration, or less of it, whilst still being more-or-less permanent. Does such a thing exist? Or are there other alternatives I should try?

Thanks in advance
There are regular Sharpies which are said to be water proof but really are only resistant. Then there are oil-based paint Sharpies which really are water proof and much more durable. I got mine at a Hobby Lobby here in the States. They come in extra fine tips too. Maybe that will be a solution.
02-24-2018, 07:13 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Filter threads.... tricky! The mechanical tolerances for threads are really tight and I'd worry that any coating on the threads would increase the chance of a stuck filter.

A couple of use at your own risk options might be:

1. Take your favorite black marker, cut-off the non-tip end, drip a suitable solvent in the pen barrel and collect the black drippings below. Dilute the liquid somewhat and then paint a bit of the thin black-dyed liquid on the object and let it dry.

2. Have you ever looked into "black oxide" chemical treatments? There's stuff like Insta-Blak A-384 ? Aluminum ? Black Oxide ? EPi for aluminum. That company makes treatments for a bunch of different types of metals but whether they are available (and safe) for ordinary consumers is not clear. You might try asking local shop that does welding and decorative metal work.
02-24-2018, 07:19 PM - 3 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
2. Have you ever looked into "black oxide" chemical treatments? There's stuff like Insta-Blak A-384 ? Aluminum ? Black Oxide ? EPi for aluminum. That company makes treatments for a bunch of different types of metals but whether they are available (and safe) for ordinary consumers is not clear. You might try asking local shop that does welding and decorative metal work.
See the Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black I linked above. Usually available at gun and ammo and some hardware stores. Anything used for retouching weapons will be very durable.
02-24-2018, 10:51 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Hi Mike, I have no personal experience with the need to touch up lenses, but I asked my friend Capt'n google, and he gave me this. Good luck buddy.


Best Permanent Marker For Metal | Pen Reviews
02-25-2018, 07:28 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I used black rust oleum paint in either flat black or satin finish for touching up scratches on a DA limited lens. It works well on my outdoor wrought iron furniture, so there is no doubt about its durability on a small metal lens. I found a real metal paint worked better than any black marker. It is near impossible to replicate the finish on Pentax lenses exactly but the black metal paint intended for painting metal worked best. Flatter paints will hide scratches and bare metal better than a glossy paint.

Last edited by jddwoods; 02-25-2018 at 07:36 AM.
02-25-2018, 09:05 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
I used black rust oleum paint in either flat black or satin finish for touching up scratches on a DA limited lens. It works well on my outdoor wrought iron furniture, so there is no doubt about its durability on a small metal lens. I found a real metal paint worked better than any black marker. It is near impossible to replicate the finish on Pentax lenses exactly but the black metal paint intended for painting metal worked best. Flatter paints will hide scratches and bare metal better than a glossy paint.
The other point here is you can thin down oil paints like rustoleum to the point you can put it into threads without causing too much build up. Iíve done this with other projects using rustoleum with great results.
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