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Nickel plating on an antique

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  • Nickel plating on an antique

    I am restoring an old desk, and it has a makers nameplate on it. I stupidly assumed it was solid metal and went to polish it with fine grade sandpaper (#800), and polished through the plating. Several days later, I've finished swearing at myself for being such an idiot, and now I'm looking into what I can do about it. If possible, I would like to carefully restore the nickel on the areas I have sanded.

    It's from 1870 and it looks to be nickel plated brass. I can't take the plate off the furniture, so anything i do has to be done in place. There is no copper layer between the brass and the nickel, so I'm thinking it might be electroless nickel plating. Is that a good theory?

    Is there a suitable plating process I can use to carefully restore some nickel onto the surface, without risking further damage to the plate? I've done a bit of electroetching and electroplating before, but I don't know anything about electroless plating, and I don't know what would have been used originally in 1870. I'd love to hear some thoughts.
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