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Heavy brass plate for antique cars that looks like solid and can take a polish??

April 14, 2012

Q. I am restoring two "brass era" cars.

I would like to know about what I have seen called "heavy brass plating" which is thick enough to take polishing over time.

I want some process that can go over steel, brass and bronze and end up looking the same.
From the small amount I can find out about it on the net it seems to come from the plating bath dull and needs to be polished afterwards which is fine by me.

The flash of brass plating over nickel will not do as it does not look like solid brass to me as I think you are looking through it to the shine on the nickel and it will not take repeated polishing.

Any ideas??
Is it something I can set up myself on a small scale?

New Zealand

Gavin Bedggood
car restorer - Paihia, Northland, New Zealand

April 16, 2012

A. If brass plating is thick enough, say .001"+, you should be able to polish it several times without wearing through. Brass over nickel is usually quite thin, and may not stand up to polishing. In fact it may have a clear lacquer coating over the brass.

Can you set up and do it yourself? Yes, if you have lots of expertise and money.

The serious answer is that it will be best to have a professional plating shop do the plating, after having discussed with them that the thickness must be sufficient to allow for future hand polishing. Whether they first nickel plate is immaterial. It will look like solid brass after polishing.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

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