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Remove Rust on Chrome?

Q. Chrome parts on antique banjo uke have light dust rust, some rusted even more.

Any suggestions on removing the rust and avoiding replating which would be prohibitive?

D.W. Austin
- Chino Valley, Arizona

A. How "antique" are we talking, D.W.? For a couple of decades from maybe 1900 until early 1930's things were nickel plated without today's usual topcoat of chrome plating. They will be slightly yellowish as compared to the very slightly bluish tint of nickel-chrome plating.

Practically speaking though, nickel and/or chrome never rust, it is the underlying steel that is rusting through pinholes or porosity in the plating. The reason this matters is that because, once the plating is perforated like this, any fix you do (short of replating) will be rather temporary. But after you remove the rust and/or tarnish with any metal polish or chrome polish from your local auto store or hardware store, you could give it a few coats of wax or of clear lacquer. It's won't be nearly as good as plating it, but it should be good enough for a while. Best of luck.

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

A. To easily take rust off use coke and aluminum foil. Chrome will again shine beautifully. Check out the many videos on u-tube

Tina Ungerank
- Hardy, Arkansas USA
October 7, 2015

thumbs up signHi Tina, thanks. Definitely worth trying.

But again, the chrome plating has holes in it and the shine will be relatively short lived.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 2015

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