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Woods Nickel Strike


Q. Is there actually a specification for Woods Nickel strike. We use it as a starter some times before electroless nickel and before cadmium plate. But is there actually a spec that tells the recommended thickness and process?

Any information on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

Keith B. Dodds
- Tempe Arizona


A. Look in 6 reference books and you will find at least 4 different answers.

The true answer to the formula is, it depends.

Difficult to activate stainless like Hastelloy probably works better with a higher HCl concentration. Pussycat SS like 410 probably will work better with a lower HCl.

Thickness is a dealers choice. When you can see definite color, you have enough thickness to plate over very well.

Whatever works best for you, is the proper choice.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Electrodeposition -- The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates
from Abe Books


September 2013

A. Hi Keith. Although James is right about variations, and although my old, but alas, deceased friend Donald Wood might not quite agree, I'd go with 240 g/l NiCl and 125 ml/l hydrochloric acid for a simple reason, i.e., that's the formula Jack Dini quotes in "Electrodeposition" =>

I consider that book to be by far the best reference on the subject because it includes actual tests of adhesion values for varying current densities, pretreatments, etc. Good luck.


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

(2004) -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. We silver plate 12% chromium steel and use a Woods nickel strike as part of the process with the following parameters: Hydrochloric Acid: 25-40 g/l Nickel Chloride hexahydrate: 300-400g/l

Is this a reasonable set of parameters for such a metal or should the Hydrochloric acid value be much higher to give a solution of low efficiency and improve adhesion?

Nigel D Gill, B.Sc.MIMF AIEMA
- Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland


A. We plate up to 28% Cr steels using the woods nickel strike, however we do run the HCl concentration higher than yours, typically 80 to 120 gpl, whilst we've found that for say 13% Cr down to 60 gpl is ok as we have a variable mix of 13% to 28% Cr we run the bath at the higher concentrations, Ni Cl2 we tend to run as low as practical to minimise dragout say 120 gpl, but the concentration will tend to rise in use.We let it rise, then fall as we bail out to maintain the acid concentration. Haven't added Ni Cl2 for years.


Richard Guise
- Lowestoft, U.K.


A. I agree with Richard, 120 g/l NiCl2 is fine but it increases with time and you have to bail it out. 8-10% HCl is good.

8-10 % HCl, I mean from the 32% HCl commercial which is actually only 3% out of the theoretical 100% HCl.

sara michaeli
sara michaeli signature 
Sara Michaeli
chemical process supplier
Tel-Aviv, Israel

September 25, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I need some help to get a nickel strike bath solution started I don't have a a big tank but the size is 17" x 2' x 3'. Can anyone help me to see what kinds of liquids I will need and what % I will need to have to mix up and start my bath. Thank you for your responds.

- Oxnard, California, USA

September 27, 2013

A. 2#/gal Nickel Chloride, 2 quarts/gal HCl, Rolled Depolarized anodes, bagged. Take out the anodes when not in use to prevent metal increase.

robert probert
Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina

Editor's note: Mr. Probert is the author of Aluminum How-To / Aluminio El Como

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