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"Removing old plating and adding new (to pewter)"


Alright I am rather ignorant on the subject, other than a few day's internet research. I have a set of pewter figurines that were, at one point, gold plated, but have worn significantly over the years. One more point of note - the figures are permanently affixed to marble stands and hold various crystals, so I'm a bit nervous to bathe them. I have several questions.

1) Is there a way I can remove the existing plating myself?

2) I would be satisfied replating with either gold or copper - for decorative reasons only - the finish need not serve any conductive or other material purpose. Is there a way I can do this myself? I am interested in solutions, cleaning suggestions, etc.

3) Regarding the copper plating - can you give me any opinions of plating kits? I am looking at a copper plating kit for these pewter pieces, but it looks too good to be true...

I really appreciate any help you can give me. Great site!

Steve Moore
- Atlanta, GA, USA


I don't think you need to remove the gold plating, just plate more gold on top of it. With practice there probably is no reason you could not get reasonably professional results from a kit, but it may make more sense to call in a professional brush plater to do the work in situ.

You would be dealing with some strong chemicals so you should have proper equipment and training.

The biggest question mark is environmental. You'll get limitless opinions regarding whether the discharge standards apply to individuals or not (you'll find 7 years of such debates on this site); but the EPA doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get definitive on this issue even after all these years, so I think you're pretty safe (legally) if you use a plating kit only for personal use.

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


I appreciate the help - I've been looking into a local shop. What a great site - so great it has me working on something else.

So then on a somewhat unrelated note, I read an extremely long thread on removing tarnish from brass, but I'm still a bit up in the air. I'm leaning toward the ketchup and/or vinegar/salt mixture, but I would like some definitive advice from one of you pros before I dig in too deep. Thus far I've tried Brasso [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] with limited success. Any suggestions?

Steve Moore
- Atlanta, GA, USA


I should also mention I found the following suggestion (on the internet). Any validity here?

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup powdered detergent
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup very warm water

Steve Moore
- Atlanta, GA USA

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