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So What's The Deal With Chrome Plating Kits Now

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  • So What's The Deal With Chrome Plating Kits Now

    I've been thinking of refinishing some old chrome plated parts. I have a chrome stripper that works well on just about everything.
    There are a lot of places that sell kits but they all seem to be chrome substitutes with about the same results as a real bumper chrome finish.
    I've read that some of this stuff can't be shipped US mail etc. and has prohibitive UPS haz mat fees.

    Any recommendations ????


  • #2
    You do realise that decorative chrome is more than just chrome? Copper, followed by nickel and then a layer of chrome so thin that the nickel shows through. The old fashioned chrome plating used a thick layer of nickel which was polished on buffing wheels before the finish layer of chrome was put on. Don't forget the degreasing is critical, and is usually carried out in a vapour phase degreasing tank, followed by pickling in strong dipping acid (nitric mix) and also electrolytic caustic bath.
    All in all quite a plating works.


    • #3
      Yes, I realize this and I'm assuming the home kits bypass the copper and nickel stages.



      • #4
        No they don't. If you want the nice smooth shiny finish, at least a polished copper layer is necessary. Otherwise, you might as well plate your stuff with zinc.

        The substitute chrome most are using is really a nickel bath with the addition of cobalt to give it the blue hue of chrome. Even this requires surface prep if you want the plating smooth. Plating won't cover up surface imperfections--It's not paint!


        • #5
          Joe, are you looking at these guys ?
          friends tell me they are pretty good for smaller stuff

          Green Bay, WI


          • #6
            TubalCain did a couple videos on the Caswell plating procedure. Seemed to work well on small parts. Any imperfections in the prep shows up. Don’t know about shipping except that someone donated the kit to him by shipping it. If there are large pieces or items requiring high quality finish, it would be best to have a commercial plating shop do the job.


            • #7
              OK, thanks. I'll check out the Casewell products. Yes I do understand that the plating won't cover surface imperfections.



              • #8
                For good, bad or indifferent, environmental concerns have made real chrome plating very expensive, hard to get and hard to deal with the byproducts in the U.S.. It may be a slight exaggeration to say that commercial chrome plating costs ten times what it did ten or fifteen years ago. I catch myself telling more and more old geezer stories all the time now.

                My understanding is that a lot of the chrome plating business went overseas, where the environmental oversight may be significantly less.