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  • Plug and Plate??

    We manufacture stained glass products, including small sun catchers. We have seen small sun catchers with a bright silver, or chrome finish. As a low cost introduction to plating would your plug n plate product be a good start for plating the lead came, or copper foil of the sun catchers?
    Sandi and Helen at Wine Country Store .Net
    209-223-1102

  • #2
    Lead is tricky to plate because it generally requires a flash copper first that can be polished. And all oxidation must be removed from the lead before attempting any plating. You could try it, but it's tricky as it is getting enough flash copper on an item with tank plating to polish it. I don't have any good suggestions for polishing lead other than getting substantial copper on it first. Even then, you'll have to buff very carefully to prevent spot heating that will flow the lead underneath creating--well--a big mess.

    I've had mixed luck plating lead directly with nickel as long as it is spotless clean ahead of time. It's just hard to get a polish on the lead up front, You might want to experiment.

    No question you can brush plate a copper substrate with nickel. First, copper is easy to polish. Second, it is the easiest thing to nickel plate that you can find. Once you have nickel on the copper, you can even gold plate over that. Just make sure you clean the copper substrate spotlessly before attempting any plating. And be sure to get a good water break beforehand as well.

    Kind regards,
    Ken

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    • #3
      I found this on Caswell's website. He has a kit for plating came on stained glass suncatchers. Check it out. He recommends polishing the lead. Try it. But my advice is be very careful! Too much heat will flow the lead, whether it's before or after plating. He also recommends tank plating. I agree, because it's the only way to get enough flash copper on there. See how it works.

      The procedure:

      1. Thoroughly buff and polish the came to a shine, using the die grinder and white buffing compound. Degrease in SP Degreaser.
      2. Place article in dishwasher and run the cycle as for glassware.
      3. Dip article in PICKLE #4 solution for 2-3 minutes.
      4. Rinse in fresh water.
      5. Plate for 15 minutes with Flash Copper™.
      6. Rinse in fresh water.
      7. At this point, the copper may be antiqued, see our Antiquing Solutions such as Tiffany Green etc.
      8. Plate with Copy Chrome™ for 15 minutes.
      9. Lightly buff and/or polish using the white compound and die grinder.
      10. If required, plate with Plug N' Plate™, Fast Gold or Silver. These kits should be ordered separately.

      Kind regards,
      Ken

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      • #4
        Here's the url for his website on plating suncatchers:

        http://www.caswellplating.com/kits/suncatcher.html

        Comment


        • #5
          i have had excellent results tank plating lead. the copper dosent need any buffing if the amps per sqaure inch are correct from my experiance. then i go right into the nickel after a good rinse and everything gomes out bright and shiny with no buffing required. all substrates "must" be properly cleaned first as well no mater what the base alloy is.


          bill
          http://home.comcast.net/~jhodges87/wsb/index.html

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          • #6
            Yes I have had good luck doing exactly as Bill described tank plating lead finials. I agree--get substantial copper on there first with tank plating. Usually I am working towards a gold gilt finish, so my pre "polish" on the lead is done carefully with a small brass wire wheel.

            I usually skip the pickle step because it just blackens the lead--even in dilute concentrations. If the part is clean and passes waterbreak, all is well.

            Caswell's bright nickel uses a formulation that acts as a brightener/leveler, and it does result in a nice finish. But that's not the same as you'll get if you buff first to a high polish. Again, try it. As Bill says, it may be bright enough for you without pre-polishing. That would make the process very straightforward if the finish is suitable for you.

            Kind regards,
            Ken

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Plug and Plate??

              Originally posted by 2020disney
              We manufacture stained glass products, including small sun catchers. We have seen small sun catchers with a bright silver, or chrome finish. As a low cost introduction to plating would your plug n plate product be a good start for plating the lead came, or copper foil of the sun catchers?
              This is what's used for pewter, so just might work for lead. Dunno. Try a piece first.

              You need carbon black. I found it at Lowe's where they have the concrete dyes. The, it is mixed with kerosene as the carrier. Just a small paste. It IS messy, but may be able to do it by hand for a test.

              I clean it off with carburetor cleaner folled by TCE (brake parts cleaner) or acetone.

              Seth

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