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topic 0445

Brush plating SS with Wood's Nickel & Gold

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A discussion started in 1996 and continuing through 2012.
Add your Q. or A. to restore it to the "Current Topics" discussions.


I'd love to see a table of surface preps (recipes) for substrates before plating. I know some of this info can be found in the Metal Finishing Guidebook, but there's no substitute for tips from experienced platers - it's an art.

I have a question also, I need to plate some 9-in diameter stainless steel plates (~400 parts) with gold (~3 microns). What surface preps, anneals, strikes, plating solutions would you recommend? I'm leaning towards brush plating due to the size of the parts with a nickel strike (Wood's?) followed with gold. I'd appreciate input from the experts. Thanks,

Fred Elsner
- San Diego, California

"THE" brush plating book:
Electrochemical Metallizing
from Abe Books



Brush plating should allow you to deposit gold onto the steel plates. The exact preparatory procedure and preplate required depend on the base material. There is a slight difference between the steps used for a 300 series and a 400 series stainless.

Typical steps for a stainless steel include an electroclean, an etch, a desmutting step (400 series), and an activation followed by a nickel preplate and finally the gold deposit.

If you would like to discuss the brush plating option further, contact me.

Derek Vanek
Independence, Ohio


Thanks for getting back to me so quickly with your advice on plating stainless, it will definitely help me get through the learning curve faster.

Fred Elsner
- San Diego, California

December 7, 2012

Q. Hello people, I have purchased a stainless steel candlestick holder and tried to gold plate the item.

I degreased it using warm water and washing up liquid.
Dried thoroughly with a fresh paper towel.
Nickel activated it with 6.5v
rinsed with de-ionised water.
dried thoroughly again.
initial gold plate all over at 7.5v
once initial plate was done then began to plate with a view to build thickness.

As I started the gold plating part of the process the item went a dark black color and began to blotch all over. then the parts that took some gold basically looked like stainless steel with dried water streaks on it?

Anyone able to explain what I have done wrong?

When I did same process on salt and pepper shakers from same company and line, then I had no issues and brilliant finish.

thank you.

Chetak Pindolia
- UK

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