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Old 06-18-2010, 05:47 PM   #1
Gary
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Default Re-plating pitted chrome

Hello fordbarn folks,
I have a pitted chrome tailight housing, anyone ever " metal finish" the pitted areas and have the whole thing replated ?
I know it ( surface ) needs to be smooth ( baby butt smooth, no dimples)
Then they ( chrome plater ) copper plate then chrome it ??
Any experiences or cautions gladly accepted, opinions too!
Thanks.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:09 PM   #2
Dennis/Arkansas
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

Gary, If the pits aren't too deep and you can remove them with increasingly finer sand paper, starting with 120 and finishing with 600 you should be OK. As a final step, if you have access to a buffing wheel, polish the heck out of it with jeweler's rouge. Platers remove the old chrome in a bath and start over with the copper. Because of the cost of plating these days they eliminate some of the work they must do. In an ideal world they would buff the copper out, replate, buff out again and continue doing so until the copper fills all of the pits. Then they would do the chrome plating. Most shops don't mess with that. They content themselves with a single coat of copper. It would behoove you to have your piece mirror-like before you send it off. Good Luck, Dennis/Arkansas
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

Excellent advice Dennis, chrome shops are not what they use to be, do as much smoothing, removing pits ect. then choose a good chrome shop.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

great advice, what if pits are into the metal ?
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:14 PM   #5
Dennis/Arkansas
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

Gary, I have in the past soldered pits with 60/40 (tin to lead ratio) for some nickel plating I had done with OK results. Brazing the pits would be a possibilty if you can keep from burning through. The best would probably be wire welding them over, then go through the polishing process. What year model tail light housing is it? They repop some of the housings that are available in chrome. That would be less labor intensive and probably a cheaper alternative. Dennis/Arkansas
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great advice, what if pits are into the metal ?
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

Hey Dennis thanks for all the help.
They are 40's or maybe 50's mopar sideways on my 34 sedan delivery, could not afford the Chrysler airflow ones, but hell its my car, and I like em.
Flat motor, all else is Henry, the left one ( drivers ) is pitted a bunch been looking on E---Y , but no luck ( they might even be early fifties ??
Anyone have one ...?
Thanks again
Gary
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary View Post
Hello fordbarn folks,
I have a pitted chrome tailight housing, anyone ever " metal finish" the pitted areas and have the whole thing replated ?
I know it ( surface ) needs to be smooth ( baby butt smooth, no dimples)
Then they ( chrome plater ) copper plate then chrome it ??
Any experiences or cautions gladly accepted, opinions too!
Thanks.
Gary, there are shops that continue to do beautiful show quality plating. I send all of my work to The Chrome Shop in Menasha,WI. The owner, Steve is a true craftsman and a very ethical one at that. He does what he promises and delivers when he promises.
Not a place to send the stuff you want good enough for a 'driver'. Rather, the place to send stuff you want done for a true concourse restoration.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:19 PM   #8
19Fordy
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

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great advice, what if pits are into the metal ?
Before you do anything show the pieces to the plater and ask if it is ok for you to work on them first. Most platers will not quarantee work not done completely by them. As for soldering, my plater told me that he first needs to copper plate item. Then he will give it to me to solder using lead free plating solder. The solder adheres very easily to the copper. I then gave the item back to the plater and he copper plated it again followed by nickel and chrome. He told me to use lead free plating solder as he didn't want lead to contaminate his tanks.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:57 AM   #9
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

Usually it's pot metal that is pitted. I have used Muggy weld to repair pits (after having the chrome chemically stripped)

See here-- http://www.muggyweld.com/potmetal.html
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

I use the Muggy weld solder too. The 51 Mercurys have a lot of zinc die cast stuff and it will fill most pitting and leave a surface that can still be plated.
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:36 AM   #11
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

I'm with 19Fordy. Take the items to the chrome shop and get them to strip off the old chrome, clean them up and copper plate them. Take them home, fill up all the pits with 50/50 soldier, smooth the soldier off and take them back to the plater who will replate them with copper and then chrome them. I have done this quite a few times and they have always turned out really good.

David
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:23 AM   #12
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Default Re: Re-plating pitted chrome

Contact your potential chromer before you do anything, some dont mind you working on it, others however will either redo your work (and charger you for the extra labor) or flat out refuse to touch it if you attempted a repair.

Remember, they are the ones that are gonna have to stand behind it, and if your part of the repair causes problems, they arent gonna be happy.
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