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"Will nickel plating the top of cookstoves work?"

January 14, 2010

I am a retailer of wood airtight cookstoves. The cookstoves that we sell have a polished steel cooking top. The problem with this is that it darkens and "looks Dirty" from the intense heat. I approached the manufacturer about plating the tops with "nickel plating" and the response was " we tried it, and after a week the nickel plating burned off." The question that I have is, Did they do it right?

Will nickel plating remain shiny even under stove top heat? and because these stove tops are welded on, will the plating be damaged when the stove tops get welded on the body of the stove from the welding heat? Is there a plating product that can withstand the heat of the stove and remain "chrome like". Thanks Mike N.

Mike Neutel
cookstove retailer - Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

First of two simultaneous responses -- January 15, 2010

Done right, the nickel will not burn off, but it will turn every color under the rainbow from the high heat and oxygen in the air. It will probably end up a very dark blue or purple.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Second of two simultaneous responses -- January 16, 2010

First, you have to distinguish between plain oxidation from burnt adhered contaminants. An oxidation proof metal or alloy will not necessarily keep clean. So, you have to look for a surface that is resistant to hot oxidation but can also be cleaned without loosing its properties.
A good nickel+chrome plating will slightly discolor and have a medium to acceptable life depending on the cleaning procedure and frequency. Aluminized steel would be more durable but more expensive and hard to find. A good stainless steel would be even more expensive but will retain its properties indefinitely no matter how many times you clean it. Ask the people that manufacture and install mufflers in your area. They also deal with welding issues.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

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