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What should a plated satin finish look like?


Q. We have a drawing Specification for our Finish: Nickel Per SAE-AMS-QQ-N-290 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet] , Class 2, (.00005 Thk.) and Chrome Per FED QQ-C-320 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet], Type II, Class 1, (.00002 Thick) On the Military Plating Specifications Type II is a satin finish. My question, How does the satin finish look cosmetically? The part always came in like a silver gray look, sand blast, or brush finish. it is now coming in like a bright chrome finish and the vendor is telling me that the part has a satin finish type II and the ones we received before where wrong.

William J Lavertue
a medical technology company - Westborough, Massachusetts


A. Satin comes from the homographic french word (pronounced "setan") to name a woven textile made of silk. So, it should look like a good quality necktie fabric, similar to a finely brushed surface (rather than opaque-matte or bright). G. Marrufo-Mexico

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico


A. Hi,

Definitely satin finish is totally, different from ordinary nickel chrome finish, satin nickel looks like silver pearl finish and if you will do chrome over it, it will give you bluish tone look will be excellent.

Vishwas Nangare
motorcycle accessories mfgr.
- Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India


A. Hi, William.

A "satin" finish on a Resophonic guitar, and how it was produced, was the subject of a good discussion on letter 32950


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

(photo courtesy of Bob Claborne, Eclipse Music, Garden Grove CA)

(2006) -- this thread was merged onto this page by the editor in lieu of maintaining duplicative pages

Q. What is satin finish on a metal surface?

Sid Barber
QC Inspector - Phoenix, Arizona


A. A satin finish is hard to describe in words but easy to spot in a picture.

Probably the best way is to describe what it is not satin, a bright finish is shiney, this is not satin

A matte finish is dull this is not satin.

Satin lies in between the two.

A sand blasted sheet of steel is a satin finish - the key thing being it is uniform.

I take it you have been asked to produce a satin finish so the best way forward would be to ask for a sample of the satin finish required as satin can be hard to pin down.

Martin Trigg-Hogarth
surface treatment shop - Stroud, Glos, England

February 8, 2012appended

Q. I have a product made of ABS we are having plated. Our requirement is a silver/grey satin/matte finish. Our supplier has been sending a combination of Chrome/Shiny and the required satin matte finishes sometimes it can be found on one single part.


How can I assure that the supplier meets our requirements consistently. How is the color controlled?

robert zagwyn
- hudson, Massachusetts usa

February 20, 2012

Provide a QC sample of what is acceptable plating. A true as plated satin finish is highly dependent on the tank solution and operating parameters, otherwise you get the bright finish that you do not want. Find a different vendor if the current one can not or will not provide what you want. If he/she/they think that you might go away, they normally will fix the problem. If not, you need a new vendor.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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