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Thread: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

  1. #1
    HowdeeDoodee is offline New User
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    Default Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    I have many nickelicon plated items. The plating was done 50 years ago and the tarnish has built up over 50 years. Before I replate or do anything else, how do I remove the tarnish? Once the tarnish is removed, I want to go back and polish those items that do not need replating. I have been using Mother's but the job is never ending on just one little piece. Is there a solution, dip, paste, or special wheel I can use to totally remove the tarnish in short order?

  2. #2
    mpierich is offline Metal Finishing Guru
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    I'm not even sure that nickle _does_ tarnish, but if you say so...I don't know why you'd do it in two steps...polishing will remove any "tarnish" by definition.

    I'd start by going backwards thru the compoundsicon...try a soft wheel with red or white rouge, then work back to a stiffer wheel, then maybe tripoli, emery, etc. In other words, using the lightest effort that will get the desired result.

    Don't forget to follow the proper cleaning steps before re-plating.

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    HowdeeDoodee is offline New User
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    Thank you for the response. nickelicon does not "tanish" as does brass but nickelicon does, I think the word is "oxidize". From what little I know, the sulfur content in the brass underneath the plating sort of "bubbles up" into the surface of the plating and then the sulfur chemically interacts with the oxygen in the air, thus creating this black stuff. I have been doing this removal work by hand and cannot get down to the metal only part of the metal pieces to be cleaned. Is there a wheel and compoundicon that will remove the oxidation without removing any of the plating?

  4. #4
    mpierich is offline Metal Finishing Guru
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    Quote Originally Posted by HowdeeDoodee View Post
    Thank you for the response. nickelicon does not "tanish" as does brass but nickelicon does, I think the word is "oxidize". From what little I know, the sulfur content in the brass underneath the plating sort of "bubbles up" into the surface of the plating and then the sulfur chemically interacts with the oxygen in the air, thus creating this black stuff. I have been doing this removal work by hand and cannot get down to the metal only part of the metal pieces to be cleaned. Is there a wheel and compoundicon that will remove the oxidation without removing any of the plating?
    If the pieces are of a decent size, get a 4" loose cotton wheel or two and some white compoundicon. Use a drill with a mandrel and try cleaning them that way. Rake the wheel often.
    OR
    If the pieces are small, get a few 6" loose wheels and run them on a bench grinder or similar machine. This shold have the same effect as your hand rubbinh, only a zillion times faster.

    I suggest a drill first because of the slow speed, thus making it less likely that you will burn thru the plating.

  5. #5
    95gts is offline Amateur Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    We use phosphoric acid, more diluted the better it works...Then rinse part and use soap/soda ash solution to nutralize the acid..then have at polishing the part....
    nickelicon alloys usually contain copper, zincicon, boron and sometimes silver...Phos is great at removing tarnish....
    sometimes even spaggetti sause will clean copper, silver and Nickle alloys...its the acid in the sause....You can see that happen on older pots and pans..copper based bottoms.

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    HowdeeDoodee is offline New User
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    Thank you for responding. Where do I get phosphoric acid and how much do I dilute it? Thank you in advance.

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    HowdeeDoodee is offline New User
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    When using phosphoric acid, do you soak the part overnight or do you just wash the oxidation off like you would wash an item in the sink?

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    95gts is offline Amateur Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    phosphoric acid we use is about 10:1...just soak the part...can also use a buffer..tooth brush or anything to help the process..most will be removed on contact. warm or hot water works best.
    phosphoric acid can be bought I beleive most hardware stores carry it..if not just look up chemicals in phone book...not that bad of a acid..if you get it on your skin its just itchy..don't get it in mouth, eyes or cuts...you will feel that lol

  9. #9
    mpierich is offline Metal Finishing Guru
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    Quote Originally Posted by 95gts View Post
    phosphoric acid we use is about 10:1...just soak the part...can also use a buffer..tooth brush or anything to help the process..most will be removed on contact. warm or hot water works best.
    phosphoric acid can be bought I beleive most hardware stores carry it..if not just look up chemicals in phone book...not that bad of a acid..if you get it on your skin its just itchy..don't get it in mouth, eyes or cuts...you will feel that lol
    What about vinegar?

  10. #10
    HowdeeDoodee is offline New User
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    Default Re: Is There A Better Way To Remove Tarnish From Nickel?

    Thank you for the responses.

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