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How to remove gasket material from mating surfaces

A neat trick is to start by lightly tapping the gasket with a rubber mallet or a hammer. The gasket material will expand and come off the surface quite easily. 
In the case of stubborn gaskets, silicon compounds etc. the use of a razor blade and/ or an X-Acto knife is essential for removing gasket material from mating surfaces of engine parts.   

Hold the razor blade at a 45-degree angle and begin to scrape the old gasket off. 

Wipe the surfaces with acetone and you're done!