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topic 14893

Stripping chrome plating from metal


I restore motorcycles in my spare time. Can anyone advise me on a simple method that I may use to remove the chrome plating from metal surfaces?

Many thanks,

Max Lange
- Cape Town, South Africa


Hi Max,

May I suggest you go to the archives and have a look-see at # 12044 ...(another motor cyclist, another chrome problem).

If you don't mind 'wading' through a lot of data, you'll eventually find some answers ... but thanks must go to the intelligent dawgs many of the repliers show.

Anyhow, that will sure save me lots of time if you do that!

I wish you success with your restorations ... a Black Shadow Vincent, perhaps? If I recall correctly, didn't a side car version hit the world's speed record of + l40 mph many years ago .. in South Africa !

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


Many thanks and very entertaining, most of which I don't have a clue. What I do know is that I'll take the stuff to the shop...I don't want my dog drinking all that waste!

Max Lange
- Cape Town, South Africa


The quickest way to remove chrome and the copper/ nickel undercoat is dilute sulphuric acid (as used in lead acid batteries. You can soak with periodic inspection and rinsing or you can speed the process up using electrolytic action, e.g. connect the item to be stripped up to 12 volt supply and use a piece of lead as the cathode (similar size to item being stripped) also connected to supply positive. If you have it the wrong way round the lead plate will fizz instead of the item you want to strip (reverse connection. however the soaking method will work for most decorative plating finishes in a short time. Be careful with acid use long rubber protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and apron [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and eye protection (goggles [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]).

Good luck,

Mike Tew
- UK


I think soaking with periodic rinsing and inspection will never remove the nickel and copper because neither nickel nor copper is soluble in sulfuric acid--have you actually tried it? Yes, you can remove it in acid with electricity, but it is usually better to use an electrolyte or process which selectively dissolves a coating without attacking the substrate. Sulfuric acid will attack the steel at least as fast as it attacks nickel and copper. Still, for a down and dirty approach, it's interesting.

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

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