View Full Version : Plating question - what plates to what?

11-29-2005, 01:01 PM
The thread about polishing brass got me to thinking. (Uh-oh...)

Years ago, I was given a nifty ring made from a bent horseshoe nail. Not a "U shaped" nail, but one of the type used to shoe horses. I believe it was made of iron. Of course, it rusted like crazy when worn, and I wanted to avoid that. But it took on a sentimental value, so I had it cleaned and gold plated. The gold plate did an ok job, but not perfect. I was told that it would have worked better if first plated with copper or something, then gold.

Wouldn't this be an option for mdred68 and the brass rings? An obvious downside is expense, I know. But since brass is so easy to work with, it might be a neat way to "immortalize" it if it could be successfully plated, using gold or maybe some other metal.

Would it work? Thanks, all.


Norman Atkinson
11-29-2005, 02:27 PM
It's all to do with lateral thinking!

What are many musical instruments made from?
Answer- brass
Does it look like brass?
Yes and no.
What have they done with the brass?
Either plated it with silver, chrome or gold or left it.
In every case, what was the final step.
To lacquer it.

Do people like Yamaha, Yanagisawa and every one since Hawkes became Boosey solve the problem?

If anyone can improve on the professionals, what are they waiting for?

And if the answer is a lemon, it will remove the rust!


11-29-2005, 02:51 PM
The big drawback is if it's a wear item, the plating won't last long, either. That gold is only a couple of microns thick.

Norman Atkinson
11-29-2005, 04:30 PM
Of course, you could use scrap materials to make a new one. My wife made herself a little ingot to wear from the fillings of teeth which she had extracted. An alloy of platinum and gold- now there is a lasting idea.
Of course, you could pan your own gold.
One of my old associates did just that.


11-29-2005, 09:23 PM
Sure,PVD coat it with titanium nitride and then buff it,works on life time warranty polished "brass" faucetts.

mike petree
11-29-2005, 09:41 PM
hope I got this right,
nickel will plate directly on steel,copper and brass.Chrome goes over nickel.
Nickel is used as a strike plate for chrome.
Examples: (1) chroming steel- copper flash, then plate with nickel followed immediatly by dip in the chrome tank.
Plating pot metal, copper flash (quick dip in the copper plate tank),then plate with nickel.

I have a small plating setup that I use for the parts I make and repair for my fan restorations. I'm still learning but have been amazed at how well it has worked. Definatly a do-able thing for the

[This message has been edited by mike petree (edited 11-29-2005).]

11-30-2005, 01:17 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by mike petree:

I have a small plating setup that I use for the parts I make and repair for my fan restorations. I'm still learning but have been amazed at how well it has worked. Definatly a do-able thing for the

I for one would love to hear more about this. How big a part can you do? Was it expensive to get up and running? And of course, can you post (before/after?) photos?

And thanks for the other info, too.


11-30-2005, 11:36 PM
Go here: http://www.caswellplating.com/
They have everything you need.

Rich Carlstedt
11-30-2005, 11:44 PM
You do not have to put nickel under the chrome. It is used, because Nickel is much superior in corrosion resistance, than Chrome.(just not as hard )
Copper allows an even conductive coat and fills defects, and also is corrosion resistant.( It is Not tempermental like the others)
By doing it your way, you do get a terrific job however

mike petree
12-07-2005, 10:37 PM
Wirecutter, sorry for the slow responce.
My setup is very small. The largest parts I have done were appx. 9" diameter (small brass
guards for fans). Most of what I nickel plate is small bits and pieces for my restoration work. Works great for that but I'm planning on doubling the tank size soon and setting up a permanent plating bench. If you look at the pics in the link you'll see the temporary setup for some parts I did last week. The first pic shows it all hooked up and in use.
The power supply has variable voltage and current controls. Got it cheap on ebay. The tank is setting on an largish hotplate to keep the solution warm at about 115 deg. F.
The parts to be plated are hanging from the copper bar seen in the second pic. The nickel
anode plates are hung around the perimeter of the tank. Air is pumped in to cause turbulance to help knock free any hydrogen bubbles that form on the surface part that is being plated. About thirty minutes in the tank does the job. If the parts are prepped well the finish will almost look like it has been chromed. The third pic is two parts that
were nickel plated. Unfortunatly my old sony camera doesn't do it justice.
Check out CCWKen's link to caswells. That's where I got my stuff.
Hope this helps,

mike petree
12-07-2005, 10:42 PM
Rich , thanks for the info. I'm still getting the hang of this stuff. I want to eventually get setup to do some chrome plating on a small scale.

12-08-2005, 12:40 AM
Does anyone have any suggestions to discussion groups that talk about plating?



12-08-2005, 10:08 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by mike petree:
Wirecutter, sorry for the slow responce.

Check out CCWKen's link to caswells. That's where I got my stuff.
Hope this helps,

Mike -
No problem at all - thanks for the response. Looking at your pics and CCWKen's link provides all the answers, as usual. Caswells and the like appear to be "the source" for a lot of good supplies and info. I really like the de-mystification of a process like that which produces such nice results. Thanks again.


Duct Taper
12-08-2005, 04:06 PM
Too-Many-Tools, here are a couple of sites that may help: