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Changing brass to silver, nickel, or satin chrome look

adv.   M and M Metallizing



An ongoing discussion from 2002 through 2015 . . .

(2002)

Q. I have a pair of glass topped solid brass tables that have a high polish brass finish. I would like to figure out the best possible way to refinish the gold brass color to be high polish chrome silver finish instead. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mary Newcomb
- Stamford, Connecticut, USA


(2002)

A. Plating a table like that with silver or chrome is not a do-it-youself project. A plating shop can do it though. Silver would be very pretty, but tarnish prevention and removal might be overwhelming. Nickel-chrome plating would leave you with a durable and low maintenance finish.

Painting it would be much cheaper and a do-it-yourself project, but you asked for the "best possible way", and that's certainly to have it plated. Good luck.

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



(2003)

Q. I'm trying to find a chemical compound or other solution to change the color of a 2" wide, 40" long brass bar that runs the length of my fireplace to a color and finish more like a satin chrome or nickel. Most of the metal plating companies in my area have closed, and the one or two that I have located do not accept jobs as small as mine. Can anyone offer any advice?

Thanks,

Carri O'Neill
homeowner - Corte Madera, California, USA


(2003)

A. Unfortunately, Carri, brass is brass and chrome is chrome; one is goldish while the other is silverish.

You may have to ship the item off to get it plated. Labor is the biggest part of the cost of most things, and to replate a single item, spending a couple of hours in the process, will make it cost more than most consumers think it's worth. But if it's special to you, yes, a plating shop can certainly do it.

Something that is dirt cheap and may or may not impart the look you want is a metallic wax rub, probably only applicable if this is a decorative feature far removed from the fire and doesn't get hot. Good luck.

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

Rub 'n Buff Sampler


(2003)

A. Plating of a single item can be very expensive. You could try a can of high temperature aluminum paint. It can be moderately close to a satin finish.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


(2003)

A. You can try with paste silvering or tinning!

Paste silvering recipe:

10 gm silver chloride
20 gm salt
20 gm cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)

It must be rubbed on grease and oxide free object (with piece of leather or cork) and you must lacquer or wax it!Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia



How to make a brass table chrome or silver

September 9, 2011

Q. Hello! Wow, I ran across this page while Googling and what a terrific resource it is!

I'm purchasing a new coffee table (Thomasville Stiletto) that is absolutely perfect for my new living room, however, it is made of brass and finished in a dull, gold-ish metallic color.

I'd like to make it more silver than gold to match the rest of the room concept. I was thinking of using a product that could be rubbed on so that it overall takes more of a silver color than just painting it solid silver.

Does anyone have recommendations for the best product, paint or method to accomplish this?

26032

Thanks!
Chris

Chris Westfall
Hobbyist - Orlando, Florida, USA


December 25, 2011

A. www.apartmenttherapy.com/chicago/tips/strip-brass-plating-with-oven-cleaner-style-north-139280

I saw this on the Nate Burkus show and they used oven cleaner to change the color of brass to chrome. The chemical in the oven cleaner alters the brass color and it looks just like chrome without painting and looks much better.

Marianne Reile
- Evanston, Illinois, USA


December 26, 2011

Hi, Marianne.

That is an interesting possibility. Thanks! It is true that some brass toned stuff is not really brass but actually nickel plating with either a flash of brass plating over it, or a brass tone tinted lacquer over it. If you can remove that top layer, yes, you can be left with the bright nickel plating. But maybe you'll be left with a mess if it wasn't what you thought it was :-(

Regards,

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



Change brass bed to silver tone

February 17, 2013

Q. I have a solid brass, queen-size bed (headboard and footboard) that I would like to change to a silver-tone. It looks like an old-fashioned, Victorian brass bed. At present, the brass is coated with an anti-tarnish finish. I've had the bed for 25 years, and simply want a change of color.

Can you recommend what should be done with this bed? Should it be electroplated with chrome or nickel, or a nickel-chrome combination. Are there any specifications for how thick the coating should be for this type of application? Thanks in advance for your help! :-)

Noreen Wensley
- Saskatoon, SK, Canada


February 17, 2013

A. Hi Noreen. I'm not here to discourage you from bringing a plating shop a $2000 job if that's what you want to do, but just to warn you that such a project would be very expensive :-)

Nickel plating should be fine for indoor use in a home. No need for nickel-chrome unless you like the extra flash and freedom from tarnishing (some people find the faintly yellow tarnish of nickel attractive). I don't think a consumer should try to write specifications for a one-time job, but just tell the plating shop to do a good job.

It may be more practical to simply paint the bed a metallic-looking color =>
rather than actually have it plated. Try some on an inconspicuous place on the inside of a rail. You'll almost surely need a self-etching primer coat first for good adhesion though. Good luck.

Regards,

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

Satin Nickel
spray paint



February 22, 2014appended

Q. Just moved into a 30 year old home and most of the fixtures are gold; we're updating to a satin nickel finish. my sliding door is no longer made, and the handle is a special part you can't find in stores. So, I'm looking to take the gold to satin nickel. What would you recommend for looks and durability?

brad mock
- omaha, Nebraska, USA


February 2014

A. Hi Brad. If price were no object I'd recommend taking it to a plating shop for satin nickel plating. But if $150 or a little more sounds excessive to you, there's always nickel colored spray paint. Good luck.

Regards,

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


June 25, 2014

Q. My mom is downsizing her house and is offering me the solid brass head and footboard that I used as a teen. The piece is beautiful - almost like a cloud design (so soft arches), however it's brass - thick shiny bright gold. The gold style is dated and while originally quite expensive, I don't want to take it if I can't update it to go in my almost 9 year old daughter's room.

I'm not in a position to spend a ton of money having it refinished professionally (came across one site that charged $1700 for this size bed), so what, if any, DIY options are there?

Even if I could get it to an antique/brushed brass that would be an improvement over the current very bright/shiny gold.

Nicole Souther
busy working mom who loves crafts - Dallas, Texas USA

June 2014

A. Hi Nicole. Just paint it. You'll need a self-etching primer to get good adhesion, then spray on a color or a metallic tone.

Regards,

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

Self-etching primer


Brass pedestals to silver or chrome

February 6, 2015appended

Q. we have a dining room glass table top supported by two brass pedestals. The table is 84x48 and very heavy. Brass is no longer acceptable in our present home. Is there any way to get a silver or chrome coloring to them?

Earle Malkin
owner of dining room table supported by pedestals - Las Vegas, Nevada USA
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


March 15, 2015

Hi,
Which is easier to paint over, brass finish or nickel finish?
Thank you.

R Aaster
- Santa Fe, New Mexico USA


March 2015

A. Hi R. Neither is easy to reliably paint, and both require etching or self-etching primers. But I've heard horror stories of some brass surfaces proving about impossible. Can you offer us some context? That usually leads to good answers whereas abstract questions often lead to misunderstandings :-)

Thanks,

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

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