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"Can zinc be gold plated EFFECTIVELY with a brush plating system?"


I've been told YES but preplate w/copper first. And I've been told NO NEVER PLATE ONTO ZINC. Which is "right"? If it CAN be plated, is it a fairly easy process like plating onto steel or nickel? Or is it a nightmare like plating onto aluminum?

Fred Luhn
plating service - Queens, New York


Yes, it can depending on whose solution you use.
Nearly all gold solutions are cyanide based.
So rinsewater is controlled.
Preplating with copper is good.
As is strike nickel.
Again cyanide based solution is best.
Copper should be buffed
followed by a bright nickel to help gold gleam.
If pieces are small brush plating may suffice.
but for consistancy you can't beat tank plating.
Also with brush plating you have no way of judging thickness or consistancy of plating.

Steve Clark
English Custom Polishing - Belfast, Maine, U.S.A.


Hello Fred,

In a word, yes you can plate gold on zinc. The method we employ uses a nickel preplate that has been developed to plate over zinc.

This solution was first used on zinc canes for stained glass where the artist wanted a different color than zinc.

You must keep in mind that zinc is fairly reactive so you need to put on a decent amount of both nickel and gold. The problem alot of decorative gold brush platers have is they stop as soon as they see "color". This method leaves the gold coating too thin this leads to the gold turning dark as the nickel undercoat oxidizes.

Chris Helwig
- Valencia, California, USA

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