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Plug & Plate a Sword blade?

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  • Plug & Plate a Sword blade?

    First a description of what I need chromed:

    1. Finished Sword, no chrome must touch the fixtures that are already attached (guard, leather handle, etc), only the blade needs chroming. Dimensions: Blade-approx. 2 1/2 feet long, 2 inches wide, 1/4 inch at it's thickest.

    2. Sword Blade + Tang, no fixtures attached yet, just a strip of steel. Dimensions: approx. 3 feet long, 2 inches wide, 1/4 inch thick. Length will vary.

    Type of metal: Bare Steel (5160 tempered).

    *Also, I need to keep the heat on any process to a minimum, cold is very much prefered.

    *I do not require a "real" chrome plate, just the look. Some properties of chroming would be prefered (strength, durability, corrosion barrier).

    Is it possible to use your brush plating system (Plug & Plate) to chrome a sword blade? If I went in a few-inch increments down the blade, would it work? Or would the size of the steel mess things like the voltage up? Is it impossible, or just very time consuming? Also, what combination of coatings should I use over this steel to achieve a chrome finish?

    The size and shape of the piece has me a bit confused as to what system would best work, so that poses another question regarding dunking it.

    Could I use any of the immersion plating systems for this project, if I substituted a long, deep tray for the tank?

    What do the experts reccomend for best results in this and future projects. I really would like to keep everything minimal as possible; I am concerned with safety first, both mine and others'.


  • #2
    Could someone please help me out?

    Can you plate a long, 2"wide strip of steel or no?

    From what I've researched on the web, this is indeed the method used for plating pieces too large to put in a tank. I read that you're only plating 2" at a time anyway, the area that the wand is touching.


    • #3
      I have to say how irritating it is, that after spending good money on your products, that you have yet to offer any help or advise.

      From what I see, just in using the solutions and equiptment on a PENNY, that this stuff absolutely does not work. Want a penny cleaned or turned black? Buy Caswell, your money readily accepted.


      • #4
        I would caution you about your attitude, everyone here works for a living, and we don't make that living answering questions here, not one of us receives any compensation from Caswell plating, understand?

        I'm guessing that the experienced platers here (and we have more than just a few) are like me in that they know almost nothing about swordsmithing. That said, I'm an anodizer, not a plater. I do have more than a little experience hot blueing steel on firearms, including highly ornate blueing. I can draw on that. My purpose in this thread to get some discussion started, even if this isn't the forum I shepherd. I don't like to see questions go unanswered.

        Let's get started:

        I'm assuming that you want something akin to a mirror finish on the blade, this will require extensive smoothing and very fine mechanical polishing, it can be done by hand, but it will take weeks of painstaking work. Like blueing, the texture and shine of the plated finish on the blade will be no different than the texture and shine of the unplated blade. Are you set up to do this level of polishing?

        The necessary chemical prep will almost certainly attack wood, leather and any organic, you better remove the furniture from the blade.

        This may not be completely the case in electroplating, but in blueing or anodizing, brush or any partial application will never be as uniform as total immersion, I would think you want to go with immersion for cosmetic reasons alone.

        Figuring on 136 sq. in. of blade surface area (add more for the tang) nickel plating wil require 7.5A of low voltage but well controlled plating current. chrome will require 170 amps, hard chrome 272 amps, equally well controlled. Preplate (flash) copper plating will probably be necessary on steel, fortunately this requires much lower current density.

        The temperatures required for prep or plating will be much too low to effect the temper of the blade, this should be a non-issue.

        BTW, even I can plate a penny, if you can't you have much to learn.


        • #5
          Blackwinter, did you purchase a copy of Caswell's plating manual?

          If you are thinking of getting into plating, it is the best investment you can make.
          Everyone should purchase the manual before buying any supplies.

          A lot of folks think plating is just a dunking/wiping procedure.
          They don't realize all the prep work and proper procedures necessary to obtain good results.
          Please consider purchasing the manual if you don't already own one.

          Regarding the forum:
          The Caswell plating forum is the best plating forum bar none.
          While questions sometimes do not get answered, others go into great detail.
          This is because of the experience of the volunteers (members) who, like Fibergeek said, have no affiliation/financial connection with Caswell.
          If no one has ever tried to plate a sword, well, your are not going to get a response.
          Caswell has provided a fantastic service to us all and without them, where would we go to get any questions answered?

          Concerning your penny:
          Could you tell us what kit or solutions and your procedure(s) you tried when trying to plate the penny?

          Or if you prefer, e-mail me through my profile and I will send you my step by step instructions for nickel plating steel (tank method, not wand).
          It describes using acid copper (not flash copper) and nickel solutions.
          Also required is a decent power supply.

          I wrote up these step by step instructions because a lot of guys (and a few gals) on the board were having trouble and all who have followed them have had success on the first try.



          • #6
            This is an unmoderated forum. In other words Caswell Inc does not read every email, and certainly does not answer every one.

            This is left to our customers, who abide by the rules we set out in our 'terms and conditions'.

            Here is one section of them: You will not post any message in these forums requesting product support
            from Caswell Inc. Caswell Inc. does not monitor these forums on a regular
            basis. Your request will probably go unanswered. Please use the technical
            support section on our web site.
            Mike Caswell
            Caswell Inc
            Need Support? Visit our online support section at


            • #7
              Also, please go to the following refence to our forum moderators:

              A Note About The Moderators On This Forum

              Mike Caswell
              Caswell Inc
              Need Support? Visit our online support section at


              • #8
                All said and done you probably want to polish that sword not plate.
                Before you plate your gonna need to polish it anyhows, and I bet you once you've polished it right your not going to want to plate it.
                Dont think plating is a way to get round polishing as a mirror finish plate needs a mirror finished part going in. I know stroking a sword with a plating wand sounds much easier than polishing but it aint gonna work out.
                Now Im gussing here but I get the feeling plating will destroy the 'frosting' around the knife edge and the temper marks etc.