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"Protecting Metal Bird sculptures in the Tropics"

February 1, 2008

My name is Roger Jessop and I live in Kenya. I am an artist and my main interest is in metal work, making birds, etc. As we live right on the coast we have a dreadful problem with rust and as I paint all my creations and spend a lot of time doing it, it is vital that the metal is prepared by zinc electroplating first. There is a small shop in Mombasa who actually do all my electroplating at the moment, but they are always threatening to close. What I need to know is the solution in the electroplating tank. Most of our stuff can be done in a 44 gallon drum.

Roger Jessop
Artist - Mombasa, Kenya
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February 1, 2008

A. Electroplating isn't a one-step process, Roger. The thing is, electroplating electrochemically bonds the zinc to the steel and, for it to do so, the surface must be exceptionally clean and then acid activated. And after the plating, a chromate conversion process is required. So I would suggest that you might try "Cold Galvanizing Compound / Zinc Rich Paint" instead (spray painting the work with a zinc-rich paint).

But if you decide to electroplate, for small volume artwork the cleaning can be done by careful scrub brushing with Pumice [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] in water (a little detergent won't hurt). The acid dipping can be done with diluted Muriatic Acid [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] (about 10 percent HCl).

Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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April 22, 2022

thumbs up sign I have an early ostrich light from you which traveled around the world.

Ostrich metalwork by Roger Jessup

Purchased it when I stayed with Aussie P years and years ago. I also taught at Mombasa Academy ... your metal craft light is much admired.

Maury Ervine
A Friend - England
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