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topic 4015

Problem with decorative chroming of sandblasted brass



I have recently sent a brass panel for decorative chroming. The results however were less than desirable. According to the chroming shop, it was because the panel had previously been sand-blasted and therefore it was difficult for them to polish it to the necessary finish. But they charged me a negligible fee as a result.

This piece of panel is the only one I can find these days. How can I solve this sand-blasted finish problem? Will plating more layers of copper or a thick layer of nickel help? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.



Shian Jer, Kik
- Germany



While I obviously have not seen the brass panel you described, the finisher's response to you seems reasonable. There's an old saying in the metal finishing world, "you can't make jewelry out of junk." In other words, it's not reasonable to expect that a rusty, rough piece of cast iron is going to appear right and smooth after plating. If the brass panel had indeed been sandblasted it's quite likely they were unable to polish and buff the piece to a mirror finish. That is what is required to obtain a suitable chrome finish. The underlying metal must be polished to the finish desired prior to nickel and chrome plating.

I hope you can get a piece suitable for a good finish. Good luck in your endeavor.

Daryl Spindler
- Portland, Tennessee


I have a question . I have a piece of jewelry (bracelet) which I'm sure is brass. This piece was nickel plated but the nickel is but all rubbed off. Rather than go to the expense of silver plating (because the bracelet was only $20) I was wondering if it could be chrome plated and how expensive this process is . I would love a reply on how or how could do this .

Ace Diamond
- Australia


Hi, Ace. Chrome plating is a difficult process to do on a shape like a bracelet. Despite the slightly higher metal price, silver plating would probably be more economical than chrome.

Plating is labor intensive and the plater doing the replating will be spending his time on one bracelet rather than processing a rack of 100 or more bracelets like the original manufacturer did. So replating is expensive and you likely won't find anyone to plate it for $20 or less. Unless the bracelet has sentimental value, you'd probably be better off just buying a new one.

But one possibility if you rarely wear the bracelet, so the thickness and wear resistance isn't important, is a do-it-yourself immersion plating process. Please see our FAQ "Silver Plating at Home". Good luck.

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

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