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Removing plating from old chrome plated cowboy spurs


I collect antique cowboy spurs. I often acquire a pair of spurs that has been plated. The plating appears to be chrome colored. Maybe nickel plated? Any way the spurs are made of regular old steel underneath and this is what I would like to put them back to. Plating is very undesirable to spur collectors. My goal is to set up to where I can remove this plating my self. Is there a chemical I can use or will it involve some sort of reverse electroplating technique. I understand that there is great care that must be taken when working with these chemicals.

Please advise.


Brad R [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Obregon, Sonora, Mexico


If you want to chemically dissolve an unknown substance without dissolving the substrate, it's hard to know what to use :-)

If it's decorative chrome, the chrome can easily be removed in hydrochloric acid. Unfortunately, that leaves the underlying nickel plating behind, and that's not removable with chemicals from a hardware store. Nickel strippers are available from Metalx [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] and others.

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

April 27, 2008

I have been looking for the exact same set up. I am also an avid spur collector. Plating on spurs is very undesirable to spur collectors. The best I can tell, most of the old spurs, especially from the USA were plated with a very thin layer of copper and then a thick layer of nickel. If anyone knows an effective way to remove these platings please let us know.

Steve Smith
- Austin, Texas

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