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topic 39311

How to Do Brushed Nickel Plating

A discussion started in 2006 but continuing through 2017


Q. Would you please help me to find out the method of application for brushed nickel that would be applied on decorative chrome plated tubes and profiles?

Nesligul Wagner
Ternmosan AS - Istanbul, Turkey


A. Hi Nesligul. Unfortunately, the term 'brushed' nickel doesn't have a fixed and universally accepted meaning, as you will read in other threads on this site. It can mean a brushed texture which is obtained by scratch brushing the steel before undertaking the nickel plating or more of a matte look achieve by glass beading before plating. It can also mean a more "satin" frosted finish which is actually obtained through the addition of proprietary addition agents in the nickel baths. Your plating chemical supplier will be familiar with their availability.

But "standards" of what the OEM and the plating shop mean will be essential for brushed nickel, or unhappy mismatches are assured. Good luck.

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


Q. I have some polished nickel plated brass that I need to turn into a "satin" or "brushed" appearance without replating. I recognize that the usual method of obtaining this surface involves chemical plating and/or starting with a brushed or beaded surface. However, can you recommend any way to (carefully) brush or etch the polished surface to achieve a "satin" appearance.

David Daikh
- San Francisco, California


A. This topic has been discussed at some length before, David, on letter 32950 and others. To the best of my recollection, no one felt there was much hope of chemically etching the nickel, but there may be some possibility of lightly bead blasting it. Maybe you can clearcoat it with a satin lacquer? Good luck.

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

Can you put semi bright nickel over top of nickel

July 21, 2017

Q. Can you put semi bright nickel over top of nickel? I have a set of chrome wheels and they've been dipped to remove the Chrome. And I'm left with a nickel finish.. I would like to have semi bright nickel so I can brush them and then satin clear them. the nickel finish I'm left with is too yellow or gold for me. Thanks, Bob.

Bob Maynard

July 2017

A. Hi Bob. I'm not familiar with brushing nickel after the plating, but there's probably no reason you can't apply semi-bright nickel plating to the existing nickel plating (after activation with a Wood's Nickel Strike). It just strikes me as both more conventional, and probably easier to reliably re-plate if you do the brushing first.

I'm a bit confused about why you stripped the bluish-white chrome plating layer if you find nickel plating too yellow for your taste though. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
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