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topic 8611

Restoring metal caps on salt and peppers shakers


Q. I want to remove the rusty caps of old salt and pepper shakers. I don't want to damage them, just get them off!

Larry Thomas
- San Diego, California


Q. I cannot remove the silver-plated top from a lead crystal salt shaker. Who can Tell me a good method to do so?

Thomasine Breher
- San Diego, California, USA

Crystal Salt & Pepper Shakers

A. Hi. I don't have the problem so I haven't tested it but, considering the fact that metal has a much greater thermal coefficient of expansion than glass, and that any salt crystals can act like miniature ratchets preventing unscrewing, I'd say put it in very hot water for a few minutes to both enlarge the cap and to dissolve any exposed salt, then try to unscrew it while the cap is still at that temperature. Let us know if it works.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 16, 2015

Q. I have received my great-grandmother's salt and pepper shaker set and would like to use them. One of the screw-on tops are flaking off the chrome. Is it possible to have them replated, or is this too small scale?

Beth Miller
- Monticello, Minnesota

January 2015

A. Hi Beth. It's very possible, but probably cost prohibitive. Plating shops face the same issue everyone else does of labor cost. If they were able to race it through the shop with a total labor time of 20 minutes, which sounds optimistic, it would still cost maybe $35. But most shops have to do a minimum lot charge, just as appliance service people have minimums, so it would probably be 2-3x that. I think you might look on Ebay or Craigslist or and see if you can find something that fits :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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