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topic 9647

Removal of Nickel Plating


I have an oil lamp of the type in everyday use in the early twentieth century. I understand this lamp was available in either brass or nickel plating over brass. The nickel plating on this lamp is in poor condition and worn through in patches. Is there any way to remove the remaining nickel plating without harming the brass base? I am reluctant to use an abrasive as I have another different type of lamp from which the nickel has been removed by abrasion, leaving the brass perilously thin in areas. I know nothing about metal finishing; but I wonder if there is some way to dissolve the nickel without damaging the brass.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Neil B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Perth, Western Australia, Australia


Strippers for exactly this purpose of removing nickel from brass are available from Metalx [a supporting advertiser] and others. The process is easily done by a plating shop, but you'd need to check with Metalx if they consider it do-able at home.

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


I've been doing some electroless plating. I've botched one or two jobs on steel so I just used a 50/50 solution of battery acid/distilled water. Using 12 volts, the cathode(-minus) is a stainless steel spoon. The anode is the part to be stripped of nickel. The pieces I do have a female screw hole so I attach a screw, and clip my anode wire to the screw and immerse. In a clear glass jar, you watch the bubbles boil away the nickel. I monitor the process carefully and it works for me without damaging the steel parts. I use a 1/4 hp fan directly over the bench and smell no fumes whatsoever. I am very careful in this regard.

HOWEVER, having said all that, I don't know if this will or will not attack the brass prematurely.

Andy Woitowicz
- Timmins, Ontario, CANADA

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