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topic 285

Backyard copper-nickel-chrome plating

A discussion started in 1996 and continuing through 2002.
Add your Q. or A. to restore it to the "Current Topics" discussions.


Looking for a supplier of plating solutions and anodes for a small back yard copper-nickel-chrome project.

Walt P [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]


Here is your letter posted, but it has been many years since a major supplier has sent chemicals and anodes to a residential address (backyard), and you could get into a heap of trouble by bringing chemicals home from a company.

I have never seen a successful copper-nickel-chrome home project. Nowadays, you would also need a small backyard wastewater treatment facility, a small backyard environmental and safety department, etc., etc.

tom pullizi signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania


As noted in many other letters, there are severe practical limitations on what a hobbyist or 'backyard' plater can do, and there are environmental/legal implications. But within those limitations, there are companies that are structured to serve such needs, and several are listed in our directory of Products & Services / Chemicals & Equipment.

Hydrogen Cyanide Detector

To understand what copper-nickel-chrome plating is about, please see our online "Introduction to Chrome Plating". We's also advise you to read our FAQ: How to Get Started before buying anything because you don't want to be stuck with expensive disposal plus lifelong responsibility even after the costly disposal. Good luck!

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

Jax Silver Plating Solution



Thank you for being so upfront about metal finishing. I had thought to 'dabble' in it as I have a few old silver plated pieces not worth a pro's time (or my $). And the interest to 'see what I could do.'

I feel it is much better to politely educate newcomers as you have, than to join a NG only to find out they detest newcomers, as has happened to me.

I will take my teapots to a silversmith.


Les Whitaker
retired machinist

Hi Les,

Although silver electroplating baths are all cyanide based, and that is a horribly dangerous poison, there are "wipe-on solutions" available to consumers that will apply a thin film of silver (very thin, and consequently rather temporary) to existing silver plated pieces. According to many writers to this site, they are perfectly adequate for some people's needs.

Some brand names are Jax Silver Plating Solution [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], Medallion Liquid Silver Plating Lotion, Miracle Silver, Nu Silver, Quickshine, Silveron, Silver Plating Formula, Silver Secret, and The Silver Solution. We've added an FAQ page sourcing those products. Good luck.

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


I used to do copper/nickel/chrome in my back yard about 29 years ago. I would like get the materials to do some copper/ nickel for small items for use around the saltwater. We have a shop site in Juneau, Alaska.

I would like to find material source willing to deal with a small part time operation.

Thank you

Alex. H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Juneau, Alaska



My father owned a plating company and I grew up working in it. It's no place to raise a kid, it's amazing I'm still alive. There are so many hazardous chemicals involved in plating that it should be left alone to the pros.

And if you get caught with these chemicals by the E.P.A., you better have a good lawyer and a lot of money for the clean up of your back yard project.




About brightener for nickel electroplating, can I use brightener from more than one supplier for the same nickling bath, also can any one tell me some formula of nickel brighteners,


Khalil U [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Cairo, Egypt

You cannot mix brighteners from multiple suppliers because they may be entirely different materials. Today's brighteners are highly proprietary and nobody will give you the information. Further they are manufactured through synthesis of precursors; it's not a simple matter of mixing available materials together.

However, you can see some information about older nickel brighteners and carriers in ASM Metals Handbook Vol. 5 - Surface Engineering.

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

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