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I think i want to try nickel plating at home...

After reading a post here where a member used a silver plating solution on one of his old razors (basically dip or wipe for a temporary silver coating), I decided to look into the process of actual nickel electroplating at home.

I've got several old Gillette razors (New Long and Short combs, Old Type) that the gold plating is gone. I can also find tons of old "donor" razors at local shops to experiment on for a few bucks. Nothing important to start, mind you.

Surprisingly, all that is needed is vinegar, salt, nickel stock, and a power supply. Even though I've seen an old phone charger used, I will probably pick up an inexpensive bench-top variable power supply.

The process looks fairly harmless, with no toxic substances used (or created), and the only chemicals that require any special care in handling would be acetone or brake cleaner for cleaning the parts, and (more seriously) hydrochloric acid diluted with distilled water, to microscopically etch the parts right before the actual plating.

I already have vinegar, salt, and brake cleaner, and other than the acid (which I may not use on my first experiments) all I would need is the nickel and a power supply (which is not strictly necessary if you want to use an old phone charger or even D-cell batteries).

Anyway, total cost from Amazon for the power supply and some 99.6% pure nickel: $75. Much respect to the professional platers, but that's not much more than the cost of a single re-plate.

I think I'm gonna try it. Winter is already feeling too long, and I'm already getting bored. 😄😄😄

Oh, and copper too. I have a vision of a copper-plated Gillette New.
 
Following with great interest. When my project load goes down a little I may try it. I have the power supply and whatnot in my Amazon wish list. Check out ElectroJewelerJordan on Etsy if you'd like to buy solutions instead of making them.
 
Following with great interest. When my project load goes down a little I may try it. I have the power supply and whatnot in my Amazon wish list. Check out ElectroJewelerJordan on Etsy if you'd like to buy solutions instead of making them.

It's funny, but it seems like the most foolproof part of the process is making the solution. The trickier part is getting the plating correct.

I think (more research needed) the pre-made solutions might contain "brighteners" to give different finishes. I'll need to read more, but I am not sure if I can get a mirror finish by buffing the parts or if a solution with a brightener is required. Still, going to Etsy right now to have a look. Thanks.

Certainly it will be a fun experiment and occupy some of my time during the winter.
 
Interesting!
There must be a bunch of youtube videos as well!
My guess, prep of the old surface will be pretty important.
Keep us posted, with pics!
Good luck!

Tons.

It really looks simple. Pretty sure the hard part is getting a nice shiny finish. I'll probably experiment with coins or some small metal objects at first to see what I can expect before trying a razor.
 
What is your process to strip/clean the razor before the plating?

Well, my first "subjects" are pretty much bare brass at this point. I will probably degrease in my small ultrasonic cleaner, rinse, spray generously with brake cleaner, dry and plate, to see the outcome. If that fails to produce a satisfactory result, I'll tinker with my process. At this point I have no earthly idea what the outcome will be.

I've got an Old Type with a huge crack in the handle, so that will probably be my first test after maybe trying a few pennies or nuts or bolts, or other random metal objects.

For me, this will be a "learn by doing" exercise. I expect there will be soul crushing failure before even mild success.

We'll see. 😆
 
The nickel and copper acetate solutions are toxic, so be aware of that.
I do it in my garage without brighteners and the nickel buffs up just fine.

Thank you. It is basically vinegar infused with nickel or copper, and of course none of the you toob videos ever mention the toxicity. That should be the first thing they talk about.
 
The nickel and copper acetate solutions are toxic, so be aware of that.
I do it in my garage without brighteners and the nickel buffs up just fine.
I don't do any etching or acid cleaning, just a thorough cleaning and degreasing.

How bad is the smell of the solution, during and after "brewing" it? I'll likely be doing this in the garage, in winter temperatures,
 

luvmysuper

C.C. & D.U.
Staff member
How bad is the smell of the solution, during and after "brewing" it? I'll likely be doing this in the garage, in winter temperatures,
I detect nothing besides the vinegar type smell, whether it is just sitting there or cooking so to speak.
Having said that, my wife claims I have a defective snoot and can't smell the myriad wafts of faint odor that she can.
I think she was genetically implanted with Blood Hound genes.
 
That's where the time and energy go.
A satisfactory finish is all about good prep.

Agreed. To me, it's like a car. The thickest coat of paint will never hide poor body work.

My initial focus will be more on successfully plating items and determining the level of prep required to get the result I'm looking for, and if I am even capable or willing to work that hard.
 

thombrogan

Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
First off, I wish you success and throngs of us clamoring for you to redo the finishes on vintage gear.

Second, this is all I could think about reading the title of this thread:
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No idea why. Have read the book before when my scientist was in grade school and they never mentioned nickel plating ever.
 
Not that I know how it is done, but there is also electroless nickle plating. It is very common and may be worth investigation.
 
Not that I know how it is done, but there is also electroless nickle plating. It is very common and may be worth investigation.

Well, I'm all in on the electro version. Just placed my Amazon order for a power supply and some nickel strips and a nickel rod.

This week I'm going to Home Depot for copper sulfate (Root Kill) and a short piece of copper pipe to experiment with copper plating.

My understanding is the nickel plating results are improved when applied over copper rather than directly onto brass.
 
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