Plating hardware. Functionality issue?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tryxx, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. Tryxx

    Tryxx Sputnik Forums: Bass Mod

    Jun 1, 2005
    Hurst, Texas.
    I was hoping to scrounge up a few dollars sometime soon and begin a little project. Though, as opposed to the usual chrome, black, or gold hardware, I'd like to copper plate the hardware for a different look.

    One of my concerns is simply, will it keep it from working? Even simply on the outside of the tuners will it affect performance? On the bridge (and possible tailpiece) is intonation going to suffer?

    I'm also wondering if the texture of the hardware would affect the quality of the copper plating. Finishing and all that coinciding.

    If anyone's ever thought of the idea or has any information, I'd really appreciate the insight. :smug:
  2. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Once you have it copper plated, aren't you also going to need to have it clearcoated? Unless you want green hardware...

    Copper is very soft and strings abrasive, so I'd be concerned it would wear easily off the bridge saddles, tuner posts and nut (if metal).
  3. Tryxx

    Tryxx Sputnik Forums: Bass Mod

    Jun 1, 2005
    Hurst, Texas.
    Yes, I was concerned about that. I just think it would be rather cool, really vintage that way. But the plating and coating will probably end up making it much bigger, so on the bridge I'd be concerned about the saddles and all that functioning.

    Thank you, though.
  4. Dharma is right on about the hardness of the coating - totally unsuitable for what you want. However, the thickness won't have any effect on the functionality. All steel parts with a chrome finish must be copper plated first because chrome doesn't adhere to steel.

    You might take a page from the chopper builders. One that I saw had what looked like a copper plating all over it but because of the problems mentioned above, they didn't want the actual metal so they used chrome and then applied a transparent copper colored powder coating over it. The look was killer! Just like polished copper but very hard and roadworthy without tarnish and getting scratched.
  5. Tryxx

    Tryxx Sputnik Forums: Bass Mod

    Jun 1, 2005
    Hurst, Texas.
    Thank you, VERY informative.I greatly appreciate it.

    Was that the OCC episode where they made the Liberty bike? I didn't catch the whole thing. :(
  6. No, the Liberty bike was real copper from the skin of the Lady Liberty. That was over the top! This one I saw was on American Thunder and was a commissioned piece for Easy Rider or something.
  7. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Theres actually a solution now where anything can be chromed.. even plastic. I can't remember where I saw it, but it can be done.
  8. Don't confuse other plating processes with the real transfer of chromium to other metals. Real chrome plating is a chemical and electrolytic process (a pretty nasty process actually) and it's a fact that for the process to work with steel, a preliminary copper plating is done first. In fact, the copper is used for just about all metals even base metals. It's hard to see if you file off the chrome but if you magnify the edge of a piece where the chrome has been removed, you will see a very thin layer of copper.
  9. Usually, for cosmetic chrome, you don't even see the chrome but look right through it and see the nickel underneath (which sits on top of the copper). The chrome gives it that blue-ish shine, but it's so thin it's basically transparent. Also afaik, when chroming plastic, they usually vapour deposit a very thin layer of copper onto the plastic and then plate it (galvanic process)...

    Cheers Rody

    ps I thought that Liberty Bike was awesome.....