How do I touch up the painted numbers on lens barrels?
The easiest way is to buy the "Lacquer-Stik Paintstick Kit" online from Micro-Tools via their paint page (look for part # "LS-KIT").
These crayon-sized sticks rub onto the engraved lens numbers, leaving a deposit of paint which will harden inside the grooves.
- Get lots of rags or disposable tissue paper ready for wiping away excess paint.
- Apply masking tape to your lens such that you tape off "spill" areas where you don't want paint to go.
- With a pen-knife, cut a fresh surface onto the end of the paint-stick, removing the dried paint skin and exposing fresh, "greasy" paint underneath.
- Rub the paint-stick over the engraved numbers, taking care to fill the grooves with paint.
- Remove the "spill" masking tape.
- Carefully scrape excess paint away using a blunt straight-edged metal or plastic spatula. Don't wipe this paint away with a cloth, but use a spatula as you can accidentally wipe the paint out of the engravings if you use a cloth or tissues.
- Scrape away as much excess paint as you can, regularly cleaning your spatula between every scrape. There is no need to rush with this step as the paint takes a (very) long time to dry.
- If you make a mistake, don't worry. Just wipe all the paint off with a rag and start again.
- When you can't scrape off any more paint, set aside the lens for twenty-four (24) hours to alow the paint to dry properly. Yes, you need to wait the whole 24 hours as the paint-stick paint dries v.slowly!
- After the 24 hours is up, rub off any remaining excess paint using your clean, dry fingers. Finish up with a soft clean rag.
If this all sounds like a lot of bother, you're right - it is :?) The good news however is that the paint finish will match very closely that of a brand new lens.
Retouching the black barrel finish
I cover brass and aluminium black paint options at the end of the brass vs. chrome topic elsewhere in the FAQ.