How do I remove pencil marks on wood?

Q:

I tried to sand some pencil marks off plywood and ended up sanding through the veneer. Nuts! How do I remove pencil marks without ruining the plywood?
—Richard Brown, Spirit Lake, Minn.

A:

Sorry about the plywood, Richard. Veneer on modern plywood can be as thin as 150 ". It doesn’t take long for a power sander to eat through that. Next time, dab a shop towel in denatured alcohol and use it to wipe off the pencil marks. The alcohol acts as a solvent for the graphite in pencil leads and evaporates without leaving a residue. Let the project piece dry completely before applying finish.

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