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How to plate Nickel over old Nickel when steel shows through

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  • How to plate Nickel over old Nickel when steel shows through

    I'm posting for the first time and honest , I've searched the archives and read the manual. I just can't find the answer. Maybe one of you experts can help me.

    How do you plate Nickel over old Nickel when the steel substrate shows through ?

    Specifically, I have a 1939 Rickenbacher lap steel guitar that I'm restoring. It is steel with thick nickel plate. I could be happy polishing the nickel and living with a "experienced patina" Problem is there are places where the nickel is worn off and the steel shows through. This is evidenced by a few rusty spots.


    Can I activate the spots w/ acid and brush plate the steel/nickel "crater" ?

    Can I "mark" the steel spots with a "rust stop" and brush plate ?


  • #2
    Just make sure the entire area is clean, then brush plate both old nickel and steel.
    Mike Caswell
    Caswell Inc
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    • #3
      They may be the experts, but I don't agree.

      I'd clean the steel with either gun blue remover or naval jelly. After that you MUST use steel wool or sand paper to break through the layer the phosphjoric acid creates. For small areas get one of those fiberglas pens they make for auto body sanding on small spots.

      Then, copper plate first. You can do a little plate-polish-plate-polish filling some of the rust deterioration in first.

      In any case the copper sticks to both the steel and surrounding nickel extremely well. Then nickel plate the copper areas while spreading into the nickel areas. I have repaired guns this way.



      • #4
        Copper plate first

        Be sure you are using flash copper if you are plating directly onto steel.

        Acid copper won't plate on steel.
        You need to lay down a nickel strike coat first.

        George W.