Review – Sharpie Industrial

Sharpie makes permanent markers, but permanent never really means permanent. Of course there are ways to remove traditional Sharpie ink, especially since it, like many modern inks, is alcohol based. So, in order to keep up with their permanent image Sharpie came up with its “Industrial” version. How permanent is it compared to the regular version? Let’s see.


The body is virtually identical to that of a regular Sharpie, except for the information printed on it, which has been changed to reflect the more permanent nature and is in red. As far as writing on regular paper goes, it is a bit warmer than standard Sharpie ink, but not really any less or more black. The difference is barely noticeable. Also, like a regular Sharpie, it will not write on wet surfaces.


But on to the permanence. I tested the ink on a piece of galvanized steel by making a small mark, letting it dry, and then applying pretty much anything I could think of that might clean it off. It held up remarkably well, but it was mostly resistant, and not fully “anything-proof”. By the end of my test the mark was quite faded but still readable, and it had withstood: water, fire, isopropyl alcohol, bleach, WD-40, ammonia, acetone, De-Solv-It (citrus based gunk remover), Lysol, Gojo hand cleaner (for grease and tar), dry cleaning fluid (because I couldn’t throw the kitchen sink at it), lighter fluid, paint thinner (mineral spirits), and gasoline. So I checked online and in several reviews people said that in laboratory settings the alcohol used would take the marker right off. So I went and attacked it with some denatured alcohol, and sure enough it broke it down to the most pale of lines possible, but it still wasn’t gone. So I tested on some other materials and another piece of galvanized steel. On plastic, the denatured alcohol removed it with very little problem. On aluminum it was also met with little resistance. On a tuna can (which could be either tin, steel, aluminum or a mixture) it was a little tougher but almost all of it was removed eventually. But, finally, on a galvanized trashcan the alcohol met its match, reducing it to a very faded line but it was still unable to remove it entirely. So there is likely some chemical that bonds directly to or gets through the galvanization on such materials.

Barely visible mark after denatured alcohol was applied

Barely visible mark after denatured alcohol was applied

All of this stands to reason. Modern inks are mostly made from an alcohol-based dye solution. This makes them dry faster and essentially water resistant, unlike their former water-based fountain pen ink relatives. But they still fall short of pigment-based inks on permanence, especially when it comes to alcohol, which in many cases will clean up both ballpoint ink and (permanent) marker ink by reactivating it for a short amount of time. Virtually any ink (but not all) will smear, bleed, or be removed when its base is reintroduced. But that’s why we have different bases in the first place.

In specific settings where large amounts of chemicals are continuously applied to surfaces, especially alcohol, these markers won’t work. But there are specialty markers made for work like that. As a general purpose marker that is meant to be used in tasks that are more demanding than standard household ones it works quite well. It does outperform the regular Sharpie and would work sufficiently well for many workplace or “industrial” tasks, but testing may be required before using it on the job.

Using a Pocket Knife

“Using a Pocket Knife.” I wrote that title a few months ago on a list of things to write at some point. I’ve added a lot and crossed a lot off of that list since then, and I still don’t remember what I was going to write about. Obliviously, the world doesn’t need an online written tutorial on how to use a knife (that would be sad) but I can come up with something.

So I’ll be the first to say (well, maybe not the ‘first”, some people speak real fast) that knives aren’t as relevant in the lives of regular people as they once were. And I really don’t have too much of a need to carry one around. I still do, though, and while I don’t use it every day all of the time, when I do use it I am glad I have it.

I know that most of the tasks I use a knife for could be replaced with the scissors, utility knife, and letter opener I already have. But it is very handy to just have a dedicated thing I can use for all of my opening and tearing down needs. I see quite a few unboxing videos on the internet (because that’s a great content source and it should be exploited more) and most of the people in those use a kitchen knife or something to open a box, which it has never occurred to me ever to do. I did grow up with a dedicated folding knife in a drawer for small tasks and scissors right nearby to cut tape.

But while in general my cutting tasks could be done slightly less conveniently with things everyone already has around, sometimes there are scenarios that pop up where using a knife is the best way at that time. How am I going to cut this string? How can I get this bead out of that crevice? How am I going to cut this hose? How am I going to strip this wire? etc. And it’s super convenient and sometimes the only possible way to do things where I am.

I get that this isn’t as applicable to everyone, and some people use their knives more (like for food preparation, which is another thing I would never have considered: using a pocket or “carry” knife for food) or less (like not at all) often than me. But I think that at some point everyone has a use for a pocket knife or something similar. And it’s probably worth everyone having a Victorinox Secretary, Pocket Pal, or Classic, or something like that around. Knives are useful, for some people more than others, but still useful, and worth having around even in this day and age.


On Branded Products

I use a lot of things; these days we all use a lot of things. And sometimes things break, sometimes people ask what those things are, sometimes we think it would be useful to have another of that thing, and sometimes we do reviews of things on the internet. Whatever the case, sometimes it is good or necessary to know who made the thing you’re using, and what exactly the thing you’re using is called.

The majority of things we buy these days that don’t come from a no-name factory in China have some form of branding on them. Sometimes it’s just the company name, sometimes it’s a whole slew of things from company name to how often you should clean the product. Sometimes it’s right on the front, and sometimes it’s hidden away in a corner where you have to take the entire thing apart to find it. But what is the optimal place for this branding?

As a consumer, mostly I can tell you I would disagree with most companies on this point. For instance, I usually don’t want to buy notebooks with company names or purposes stamped on the front (Rhodia : Composition). I think the proper place for a logo or company name is in an easily accessible, but not usually seen, area. In notebooks this would be similar to the Leuchtturm or Moleskine who emboss their names on the bottom back of the book. Nothing is used to draw attention there, but I can easily find it. At the same time, if it was buried under the back pocket of the book and that was the only place to find it, I’d think they were hiding something.

I guess that partly stems from me not wanting to be an advertising platform. I don’t wear logo t-shirts, There’s no brand name on my shoes or pants that is easy to see, etc. Everything I can is as stripped as I can make if of logos and company names. Occasionally, when I really like a product, I will proudly display it and gladly tell people who made it. But this is on my terms, and I almost resent companies trying to force their advertising into my products. I don’t want people to judge me for what type of device I’m using unless they like it and come up to ask me. I’ve never once forgotten what the name of the product I was using at the time was, and I’m perfectly capable of giving it to an interested party.

But if I do forget, it’s nice to have it there; it shouldn’t be buried away under all of the tools in a multi-tool or on a tiny tag underneath its setup. That just makes it hard to get to when I need it, say to order parts, or recommend it to a friend over text or what have you. I don’t need to be advertised with, that’s tacky, but I don’t need names hidden from me, that makes me look cheap.

I think most manufacturers tend one way or the other and it’s hard for people like me to strike a balance. I usually just cover it if I feel it’s advertising though. My iPhone is in a case, my notebook is in my bag etc. And in general I do feel that technology is better at keeping it simple and mostly out of sight, at least down to more pleasant-looking logos.

But I do like branding. Whether I’m using my Mac, or a Crescent wrench, or a Bic pen, it’s nice to know something about what I’m using, and in some cases like the company. It might have been made in china, or the US, or Mexico, or the EU, but it wasn’t some company that wasn’t willing to tell me their name. Sometimes, though, I wish the companies that do would tell me a little more quietly.

Gender Based Notebooks?

I’m an avid notebook user. I love all types of notebooks, though I’ll admit I’m partial to blank paper, and hardbacked, black books. I’ve used some of the most well-known and best books in the medium-price range. But I’ll still try most anything out. I have several notebooks that are bound flimsily, have paper that tears or bleeds through, and other problems. Most people don’t notice those, but they do notice when I have a pink notebook. People think that me, as a man, wouldn’t like to carry a pink or purple book. I’d say there are many problems that make notebooks unusable long before the color of the cover comes into consideration, even if pink isn’t my first choice.

Now this might be something that one simply has to take into consideration when buying notebooks. After all, most stationery stores that aren’t for office supplies and therefore have a very neutral atmosphere, are geared toward women. At least, that’s the way it seems. With their natural to pastel colors, slightly awkward layout, and all-female staff, they make me feel slightly nervous when walking in. It’s like I’m not the one that’s supposed to be there. Not that I’m really comfortable in most store scenarios, but at least I’m expected.

Why is that, though? Paper products, while not directly advertised toward women, are much more “feminine” in style, or neutral (if the choice must be made). Maybe that’s because the only manly notebook is black. I’d laugh at a gunmetal or camo pattern, though there are some less-pink/bright colors of notebooks that I’d like to buy. And that’s the thing, really, for me. I don’t mind many notebooks being more female-oriented, but what I don’t want is one that really sticks out. I don’t mind using a pink or lime notebook, but I’d rather one that was mahogany, or a pear green, or even a dull pink instead of a bright one.
All of the colors just look synthetic and stick out to me. And people notice them and think they’re strange. Did I pick up my girlfriend’s notebook? No, who would ever accidentally do that, who has a notebook that isn’t personal enough that it can be loaned out, even a school one? And people look at me funny for something that is considered “different” for me to do.

The color of the notebook in no way affects the writing experience to be contained within, but I still wish there were some more easily obtainable, subdued colors.

I guess, though, that’s more because I want to blend in, to hide in the crowd and not stick out. I don’t want people picking me out of a crowd because of my notebook’s color, and even less if they think negatively about it. I’ll still use them to try them out, but I always have old standbys for serious use.

That’s just me, I guess. Perhaps many people do want to stand out with the color of their notebooks, but having a notebook now almost seems to make you stand out enough.
My question, though, would be: are notebooks more female items in popular culture? Do manufacturers have a more female audience in mind when creating new products? I’m fine with there being many girl-oriented books, and even some manufacturers. I just wish there were more making plain type books, that are easier to… conceal, I guess. I want more notebooks in general, not more that are just geared toward me or any other specific group.

I can’t say for sure one way or the other, but I know very few men who use anything beyond a small pocket notebook, while many of the women I know have a stack of cheap “accessory” notebooks. My notebook collection certainly is an oddity to most people still, which I enjoy. And I also notice that online, more users for notebook-related forums or retailers are male. An interesting reversal, as online it is much easier to find plain brown and black books than in the wild.

If I were to have to answer my question right now it would be no, if we’re counting all sources here. But I could be right or wrong. This isn’t a formal study of who uses notebooks (now that’s an idea, someone get on that). I can’t give hard answers, but that’s why I use notebooks: to keep all of the thoughts and organize them later, not in any physical sense, but you probably get the idea. I’ll keep writing and thinking, from pink to black.

Using Different Notebooks

Quite a few people still use notebooks, it seems. I use them more than most. Unfortunately, most people use them for school. Composition and spiral bound notebooks are the most common everywhere. For most of the people using them, the only distinction between their notebooks is the class they’re used for and maybe the amount of subjects or the color of the cover. I use my notebooks differently. For starters, they are of all different shapes and sizes. Colors and bindings, too. I do have preferences, but I also want to find new preferences.

I use my notebooks based on their type. By that I mean I have a different one for every task. I have one for stories (several actually), one for sketches, one for my “drawing every day” drawings, one for story notes, one for general notes and cartoons, and many others. I’m not sure how many people do this or something similar, but I find it handy to be able to grab a notebook and know exactly what is in it. This over-specialization has backfired and it resulted in me combining several notebooks into one, leaving a few books without a home.


Those instances are few and far between, though. In general I’ve found it good to specialize my notebooks. If I am doing a certain task I can take a small notebook that is suited for the task instead of a large one that covers everything. It also enables easy referral since I don’t have to constantly search the one and only notebook for something on a specific topic.

It doesn’t just come down to using different same-brand notebooks or even differently sized notebooks. I use completely different brands with completely different styles for my various books. I use Mead, Moleskine, Field Notes, Top Flight, Bienfang, Strathmore, Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and even military-grade Memorandum books. I use all different rulings from blank to dot grid, and I’ve even found a hex grid notebook.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, I just think it’s weird that I use notebooks like this. Is it? How do you use notebooks? Most of the people I know seem to use them in the way I described above, where they just have one that holds every thing. Or a large one and a pocket one. Either way, my giant bag of notebooks I take with me and cycle through my satchel will continue that way. And I will continue to write on paper notebooks. And I will love doing so. And I hope all of you writing on paper notebooks will love it as well.