Custom nickel plating

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Aardvark, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Some guitar bridges I have seen are pretty cool but are only available in chrome or gold. I'm not a fan of either. Is there anyone who offers a custom nickel plating service to cover over chrome? Any idea of expense or durability?
     
  2. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Hello out there...anybody know?
     
  3. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    First...you can't plate nickel over chrome. Can't be done...don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    To find a local plater, I say "yellow pages"...as quaint & old-fashioned as that may sound. Find a plater in your area. They're out there....

    That said, many places don't want to do one piece....and those that do will whack you pretty hard with a minimum charge. But it's certainly worth making a few phone calls.

    Lastly, please......I say this with a lot of knowledge of the metal finishing biz: avoid any & all temptations to do this yourself at home with a spackle bucket & battery charger. Sure, there are people on the 'net who will tell you "it's simple" and even some "DIY kits" for sale. Plating is a foul, dangerous, toxic business, and it's not nearly as easy to get good results as others might have you believe. Don't do it.
     
  4. uberpict

    uberpict Member

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    No, AFIAK you can't plate over chrome so it would have to be stripped down and replated.
     
  5. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. One bridge that this question applies to is the Hipshot Baby Grand. As far as I can tell, there is no nickel option. It seems that with so many humbuckers having nickel covers, it would make total sense to offer a nickel plated bridge. I really don't understand why it's not offered. Anybody know?
     
  6. TRGuy

    TRGuy Member

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    I did plating in Physics once, it was fun. I plated a whole lot of stuff in nickel and bronze, dont think I had a working pen after that lab, lol.
     
  7. rooster

    rooster Member

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    If it's gold plated, there is a nickel underplate. You just have to polish off the gold. For 90%+ of all gold plating out there, there is usually a copper layer, a nickel layer, then the gold. The gold comes off VERY easily.

    rooster.
     
  8. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    That is really interesting. How can you reliably remove the gold without hitting the copper?
     
  9. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    All true.

    The removal can only be done mechanically.....like on a high-speed buffing wheel. As said, the gold is very thin....this method does work. You're using friction & abrasion....no different than using sandpaper on a 2x4 stud.

    Gold is chemically inert.....(well, except for aqua regia, but let's not go there...); trying to remove it chemically can't be done without hurting the substrate plating {Cu, then Ni}..

    That said, Rooster makes a subtle point: 90% of all gold has a Cu strike, then a Ni plate, then the gold. It's the "other 10% that you need to watch out for. I once did a mechanical removal of gold from a cheap tailpiece. No Cu + Ni substrate was there.....just gold over the aluminum alloy. I should have just left it alone.
     
  10. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Very interesting and helpful! If I don't have a proper buffing wheel and do this by hand instead, what sort of abrasive would you suggest? It seems that even 2000 grit sandpaper may be too much. Thanks.
     
  11. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    2000 is too much. 0000 steel wool is too much!

    You really need rouge + a wheel....
     
  12. rooster

    rooster Member

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    Yeah, I've used a little buffing wheel, VERY fine buffing compound, and run it with a dremel. It works well. Same little fiber wheel that I use to polish frets with.

    Also, most silver polish will take off the gold plate. I found out about this when a good friend of mine was trying to polish up the gold hardware on his ES-345.

    rooster.
     
  13. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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