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nickle plating over engraving/etching,advise needed

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  • nickle plating over engraving/etching,advise needed

    I have a few pocketwatch cases that are nickle plated and also have engravings on them.these items need to be cleaned and replated.
    how do i protect the engraving from being plated over ?? the engravings are trains, planes, autos, and busses.

    a couple of these engravings are week, worn, could etching liqued be used to set the design deeper.

    thank you

  • #2
    Nickel plating over watch cases

    Hello Richard,

    Your work is almost the same as mine, which is restoration of antique clocks. Check out some of our "products" at for examples of what our work looks like.

    In general, the plating process alone is unlikely to plate over the engravings, since it plates everything evenly, including the area in and around the engraving--and the plating is very thin. The real concern is the surface prep.

    Are you planning on removing the nickel first? Metalx makes a great product for this. DON'T try reverse plating or acids for this step! You can contact Gayle Coffey at Metalx at 828-758-4997. I buy the B-9 which is very gentle on copper or brass base metal. I bought a small box of it (which will last me years) for about $60.

    Afterwards, you'll need to buff up the base metal (likely brass) carefully. This needs to be done carefully and slowly to avoid losing the engraving.

    This all assumes the part was engraved before plating. If not, then you'll probably have to leave the original nickel in place, which is the safer route. If so, then the best thing is to "plug-n-plate" as a touch up over the nickel, then gently polish.

    A potential problem with buffing without removing the nickel is this: anywhere that the nickel buffs away you'll hit the base metal which will polish faster and nicer. It will leave you with spots that are more polished than others. You could try touching up with plug-n-plate on any spots where the nickel is worn through first, then lightly buffing. But it's tricky.

    It's tough to advise further without seeing the parts.

    Good luck. If you'd like to discuss this further let me know. Again, this is a tricky process and the best process really depends on the condition of the case to start with.

    Kind regards,