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Stripping chrome to nickel plate

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mr.mow, Nov 28, 2013.


  1. mr.mow

    mr.mow

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    I've got a Gibson LP bass coming, the hardware is chrome, I'm not a big fan of chrome, but love nickel plating (it's a warmer look and ages beautifully).

    I know it's a slightly mental and OCD idea.. How does one strip chrome? I checked the web and there are some home ideas but they sound a little hokey. I also understand that under the chrome there may be nickel plate, is there a way to strip the crime that leaves the nickel?
     
  2. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    I rebuilt/restored a motorcycle a few years back and wanted to get rid of the chrome plating on the various bits and pieces that were chromed. I contacted a chroming company. Evidently, they can also un-chrome things.

    I can't remember the cost.
     
  3. Schlyder

    Schlyder

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    about 10 years ago I had the chrome removed from the clubheads on a set of golf club irons. They reverse the chroming process. Cost for 8 iron heads was $40 total, or $5 per clubhead.
     
  4. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Location:
    SEPA
    I'll presume that was more like auto-correct, and less like Freudian ;-)

    I don't see why you couldn't 'reverse electroplate' the chrome off something. (And by 'you' I mean trained professionals with HazMat experience - chromium is a bit of an environmental nightmare outside a controlled environment...)

    Would it be cost-effective? Hard to say. Expecially since chrome-base nickel doesn't have to be "quite" cosmetic, so you might not like the look of the nickel once it became the top coat.

    Assuming it's not more cost-effective to simply start over with hardware you like, I'm thinking the short path to what you want would be to strip everything to base and then go with electroless (chemical) nickel.
     
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  6. Temezki

    Temezki

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Location:
    Finland
    Found this on lespaul forums:Use vinegar or muriatic acid.
    soak and then check frequently (tie a string to the parts and lift them up to see) after a few minutes.
    I don't know if this will work.
    I would contact a chroming company
     
  7. Luthier Atlanta

    Luthier Atlanta

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta, U.S.A.
    Bingo, I used to get things chromed all the time for a business I owned. This the way to go..
     
  8. BioWeapon

    BioWeapon

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    I was about to suggest that, but with HCl. I then realized the likeliness that somebody asking how to remove Chrome prooobably isn't great with chemistry.

    In case you're wondering...
    2HCl(pure hydrochloric acid) + Cr (Chrome) = CrCl2 (solid crystal unless in water) + H2 (hydrogen gas)

    EDIT: Muriatic Acid is HCl... my bad.
    Also,
    Vinegar's acid (CH3COOH) is a weak acid alone, and considering vinegar is 8% acid the reaction could be quite slow. It would give Chromium Acetate, which is NOT safe to dump because it contains Chrome...
     
  9. mr.mow

    mr.mow

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    :) True!! I think the answer I neede was 'take it to a professional'!!
     
  10. BioWeapon

    BioWeapon

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Sorry for the slightly over complicated response! ;) Please, do take it to a pro!
     
  11. mr.mow

    mr.mow

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    The problem was, I read some articles online that make it sound as simple as 'soak it in bleach/vinegar/monkey poo and hey presto'.. sounded too easy to me!
     
  12. BioWeapon

    BioWeapon

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Oh it's not incredibly difficult, it's just the safety hazards of dealing acids and the products of the reaction that get complicated/scary.

    Volumes of hydrogen gas can explode if introduced to a spark.
    But you need a lot, and there's needs to be the correct ratio of it and oxygen!
    A reaction like this wouldn't produce enough as you're not stripping a boatload Of chrome.
    Not so scary anymore, right?

    Really your only problem would be disposing of the CrCl2, which your local fire department may be able to do (they do here!), and over-stripping as the HCl will eat ALL the metals.

    The more you know:D
     
  13. Temezki

    Temezki

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Location:
    Finland
    Funniest article I found about stripping chrome was:Soak overnight in cola and brush the chrome away with a toothbrush in the morning.
     
  14. BeeTL

    BeeTL

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Oldsmar, FL
    Disclosures:
    Brad Lowe, Lowe Custom Guitars
    The correct answer is sell the chrome parts and replace them with nickel parts.

    Just because something CAN be done doesn't mean it SHOULD be done.

    ;)
     
  15. mr.mow

    mr.mow

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    Gibson Les Paul bridge and stop tail.. can't buy the chrome ones let alone the nickel versions..
     
  16. BeeTL

    BeeTL

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Oldsmar, FL
    Disclosures:
    Brad Lowe, Lowe Custom Guitars
    Advanced Plating in Nashville does all of the Gibson USA metalwork.

    As a builder, I can order from them directly.

    If you're really interested, I can contact them to see if it's available in stock or if they'll do a one-off.
     
  17. Schlyder

    Schlyder

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    http://www.prestonplate.com.au/default/chorme-plating

    http://www.hdplating.com.au/

    Just tell them what you want done. It shouldn't cost very much.

    Eight golf club heads cost me $40. to de-chrome, so I would think a 2 piece Les Paul bridge would be less.
    If you want a nickel finish they can do that too. It may cost you more to then refinish to nickel.
    I know they first use copper, then the nickel and chrome.
    When they de-chrome I am not sure if they can just remove the chrome and leave the nickel, or if it goes down to the copper, and then they would have to refinish with just nickel.
     
  18. phangtonpower

    phangtonpower

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Fukui Japan from San Diego
    I've researched this very thing. I ordered new nickel parts instead. Problem that most people say is that using acids sometimes do nothing to the chrome, and if it does, it doesn't remove the chrome evenly and will most likely strip the nickel as well. Best is to take it to a plater.

    Good luck.
     

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