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Re-chroming golf irons or repairing the chrome myself or as a business

 

Q. I have a small shop and am getting into club repairs. One service that I will offer will be to re-chrome irons. Do you see any problems with this. From what I have read it seems to be a simple process. Triple chrome system is what I will do. Those companies that sell this system don't tell one the down side to re-plating. Would be interested in any of the negatives to this system or the replating of irons in general.

Thanks in advance,

Robin Truett
- Grayson, Georgia



A. You are certainly welcome to start such a business, Robin, more power to you.

But when someone says they have a small shop and plan to be doing triple chroming, that is sort of an oxymoron that prompts me to ask whether they are sure of their plans. Triple chroming involves at the least: semi-bight nickel plating, followed by bright nickel plating, followed by chromium plating (that's what triple chrome means). It usually also implies the need for copper plating, nickel stripping, chrome stripping, Wood's nickel striking, and various alkaline cleaners, acid activators, and several other processes. And, of course, wastewater treatment and an exhaust system with fume scrubbing. You might find our FAQ, "Introduction to Chrome Plating" interesting.

This is not something you buy a kit for, it's something that you build a small factory full of vats for. Doing marginal plating for yourself as a hobby is one thing, but doing the robust plating that customers will demand is quite another, and doing it for less than $100K is difficult. You might want to consider the possibility of doing the rest of the repairs yourself and aligning yourself with jobshops that do the chrome plating for you. Good luck.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Buffing clubs to a chrome polish look

+++appended

Q. Hello: I was curious how do you make normal looking golf club heads (steel look) and convert them into chrome polish mirror look. What chemicals, buffer do I need?

Thanks,

Manny Galvez
hobby - El Paso, Texas


+++

A. Hi Manny. You can buff them to a fair shine, but it won't approach the glint of chrome, and they will rust immediately anyway. You might deter the rusting a little while with a 2-component automotive clearcoat, but not for long. Chrome is a different element than steel, and steel will not look like chrome unless it is electroplated with chrome.

To get a real chrome look you can take them to a plating shop. There are so many steps and so many chemicals, and so much experience required for robust plating that it's rather impractical to do this yourself. Best of luck.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


College student want to re-chrome old forged irons

++++appended

Q. I am a first year welding student at my local community college and a very avid golfer. I have acquired a collection of forged irons from the 50s, 60s and 70s. What I would like to know is what would I need to be able to re-chrome the iron heads myself. I have bead blasting capability to strip of the old chrome and rust. I have seen the huge tanks of chemicals that the chrome shops use and I was wondering if it is possible to do that process in a much smaller scale and exactly how that process works. Any books or websites you could suggest would be appreciated. Thank You.

James Wiedenhoeft
student welder, hobbyist - Redding, California, United States of America



A. Hi James. Certainly the tanks can be much smaller if the parts are smaller and fewer. They might be only about a one-foot cube to do just golf club heads. But you still need a lot of tanks and a lot of support equipment. We appended your inquiry to a thread which covers some areas of the situation and which refers you to our "Introduction to Chrome Plating". Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


++++++

Q. Hi any- and everyone

I am looking at to start my own refurbishing of golf clubs in the sense of doing the removing and the re-chroming again. Could any one give me some advice on what I will be needing for the whole process. I am living in the Netherlands and can't find some one to do it so decided to try it myself and add it to my service as club repairer.

Jaco du Toit
- Rotterdam , The Netherlands


++++++

A. Stripping and re-chroming golf shafts (or clubs) is not a viable proposition for anyone in your position. In fact it's debatable as to whether it's a worthwhile project for someone who already has a chrome plating plant. Use the search engine on this site to find out how many people have had similar ideas about starting up a plating business and how overwhelming the response has been against the idea. It's an area which is regulated to an enormous degree, requires specific chemical expertise and not one which you should consider moving into lightly. I'd imagine your local environmental authorities would have a lot to say on the subject also.

John Martin
- Wales



High schooler would like to chrome his forged irons

+++++++

Q. Hello. I'm currently a junior at my local high school and on the golf team. I've just recently purchased a set of Nike CCI forged irons and loved the brushed metal look on them, but have recently decided that I would like a chrome finish. If anybody knows anything about how to do this, please, do tell!

Thanks.

Andrew R.
Student - Ridgefield, Connecticut, United States


+++++++

A. We have an FAQ about chrome plating, Andrew. It's more of an industrial science than an avocation for home, involving as it does, toxic hexavalent chromium. So the short answer, which may or may not suffice, is that you might prefer to send it to a plating shop for chrome plating.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 31, 2008

A. I play golf and also own a powder coating/metal refinishing business. I would not recommend chroming your golf clubs, especially if it's the reflective finish you're after that's always associated with chrome.

The reason is that every swing you take, off of the fairway, rough, or especially out of the sand trap will scratch the chrome. After a few holes, you'll look at your clubs and find all of the contact surfaces appear to have that "brushed" finish again.

As an alternative, and this is something you could do at home, simply polish the nickel-plated finish that's there. Get a buffing wheel on a Dremelamazoninfo /rotary tool and a chrome polishing compound (widely available at retail stores) and go to it. It will look bright and reflective and most wouldn't know it wasn't chrome if you do a good job.

If it was me though, I'd leave the clubs with a brushed finish. Far less maintenance required.

Matthew Spittle
- Alexandria, Virginia



+++++++appended

Q. Hello. I restore a lot of classic cars but unfortunately a lot of the chrome work on small bits and pieces have long since corroded in the poor English weather. I was wondering if you could explain how I might go about re-chroming these small parts without having to pay large amounts of money out for someone else to do it!
Thank you

Daniel Humble-Smith
military - Lyme Regis, Dorset, England



A. Hi Daniel. Real chrome plating of old parts is gruelingly difficult because it is so difficult to properly repair the pits. "Chrome-look paint" gets better every year and the prep work is significantly less because the pits can be filled with non conductive material (Bondo or such). Although it would not be robust enough for the impact and wear that golf clubs receive, it might be okay for parts that just sit there. Please put "chrome look paint" into the search engine at the top of the page and look around. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Fixing chromed golf irons without re-chroming

+++++

Q. I am an avid golfer, handicap 2, and own various sets of chrome plated irons. Occasionally rocks hidden in the grass cause nicks in the chrome plate. Is there any way to fix them short of re-chroming the whole iron head?

Dr. Tim E. Marnie
golf aficionado - Honolulu, Hawaii


+++++

A. Not a satisfactory way. Clean them and use a wax to inhibit the rusting. Sounds like a wonderful reason for a new set of clubs.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
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