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"Custom contemporary wall mounted bookcase -- client wants it chrome plated"


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January 26, 2016

Q. Hi, I am a contractor for a private residence that is responsible for the fabrication of a rather large wall hung metal bookcase. The owner is pressing for a chrome finish. It is to be made in a series of different size circles that will nestle together when installed on the wall. The largest "piece" is 6 feet round by 14 inches wide. My question is this...other than this new spray chrome that is out there, is it possible to do pieces of this size in traditional chrome? I have working drawings and a fabricator lined up to construct. I was pushing to make out of stainless steel and then hand polish to a "chrome Look". My other option is to use aluminum or steel and powder coat but the owner does not want to seem to go this route.

John Flannagan
Contractor in charge of project - Sterling, Massachusetts USA

January 2016

Hi John. In theory, size is no impediment. During WWII, driveshafts from warships were shipped by rail on flatcars to chrome plating shops who would leave them on the flatcar and build a tank and lifting/rotating mechanism around them. But in practicality, you need to find a copper-nickel-chrome plating shop capable of handling your pieces, and that might not be easy. Driveshafts from warships are no longer shipped to plating shops; rather they are brush plated in place, and that is another possible approach, although perfect decorative brush plating isn't easy either.

Still another approach would be to hand polish (as you suggested) or electropolish stainless steel parts. It's been asserted on this site before, by experts, that polished stainless steel may be indistinguishable from chrome plating.

You could also make them out of aluminum, and copper-nickel-chrome plate them. But yes, "chrome-look" paint may be the most practical solution of all -- it's certainly far less expensive than the alternatives.


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

January 27, 2016

RFQ: Thanks for the response.... Can you give a ball park guess on how much to budget to have this project properly chromed from your experience? Regards, John

John Flannagan
- Clinton, Massachusetts USA

January 2016

Hi again. Sorry, I can't estimate the cost, but the site's supporting advertisers may quote you; or you can inquire of plating shops. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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