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Chromium and nickel stripping from pewter


Q. I am faced with the problem of a pewter article with an unwanted chromium or nickel plating. I can find enough information about stripping chromium or nickel from other metals but nothing on pewter (tin/lead/antimony alloy).

Does somebody have experience with this sort of work?

Tonny Beentjes
- Chichester, West Sussex, England


A. Tonny,

I'm surprised that no 'plater' has answered your questions ... probably because they'd be scared witless of attacking the pewter as I would be, too.

One idea, however. Go to a plater and ask if it was possible to use your pewter thingamabob as an anode in order to strip off the coating.

What twit plated the pewter in the first place?

It's not the lead that worries me, it's those other ingredients ... but olde time pewter had much more lead in it and turns very dark unlike modern pewter and was probably much more acid resistant... and you'd need some nasty acids to remove the coating.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


A. I think that the standard strip for removing Ni from Cu would probably be Okay, i.e., Sodium MNBS (m-nitrobenzene sulfonic acid) + 5% sulphuric acid. See your local electroplating supply house.

Geoffrey Whitelaw
Geoffrey Whitelaw
- Port Melbourne, Australia

July 6, 2014

Q. Hi, Tonny, did you find an answer to your query?
I have the same problem.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Roy Flello
- Suttoncoldfield, West Midlands, UK

July 2014

A. Hi Roy. Questions on this site tend to be a little esoteric, and thus the threads may run for years rather than days --- so Sonny will probably not be here to read your posting. I think Geoff answered it properly, although the chemicals required would not be household items. The best strategy may be to send it to a plating shop for stripping but, if you don't want to do that, see if Metalx (Ronatec.us) [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] or another plating process supplier can offer the chemistry to you. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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