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Recycling silver from thrift store finds
(-----) January 2, 2008
I just retired as a maintenance supervisor at GM. I am a serious DIY'er and enjoy learning and doing and having my grandson tinker with me. I frequent a thrift store and find quite a few silver plated items reasonably priced. Some I enjoy, others have no artistic value because of missing silver. How do I salvage silver from silver plated items. I think reversing the plating process would be a fun pass time and make a little money. Can I strip and then re-plate pieces I like and if so, how? ThanksLyle Hutchison
Hobbyist/retired GM employee - Green Valley, Arizona, USA
January 16, 2008
Please start with our FAQ on Silver Plating at Home, Lyle. It will cover a good bit of your replating question. As for stripping, first remember that silver is not a precious metal; gold is more than 50 times as costly as silver. Secondly, that the remaining silver is pretty darn thin if it's worn away in spots. It's probably a few ten thousandths of an inch thick. And I don't think it will impress someone to see a process where something starts out ugly and stays ugly :-)
Rather, I think buffing the pieces with a power buffer to minimize the dullness and restore the shine might impress your grandson on one level, then putting a layer of immersion silver on them might impress him in another way. If they are not actual food service, but just knick knacks, you might find the immersion silver satisfactory.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey