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Old 03-25-2018, 04:40 PM   #1
wrndln
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Default Nickel plating

I have 2 original window regulator handles for my 29 CCPU I would like to get nickel plated. They are in decent condition other than needing replating. The handles are made of pot metal, which my understanding is they are different to plate than brass, steel, etc. It has something to do with pot metal is porious or something like that. Does anyone know of a plating outfit that can do a good job of plating pot metal for a reasonable price?
Rusty Nelson
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:04 PM   #2
Reconnoiter
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Default Re: Nickel plating

Plating pot metal is a pain. I have one of the Caswell nickel plating kits, and it needs to be flash copper plated first before nickel plating. It is very labor intensive when prepping pot metal parts, since under the original plating there is usually pitting which will need to be repaired first. Just my opinion, but you may be better off just buying a repro chrome set for $19...they look nice


https://www.ebay.com/itm/202268030110
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:16 PM   #3
wrndln
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Default Re: Nickel plating

Reconnoiter,
I am restoring my pickup to near fine point status. I really want to use as many original parts as possible - they look right and fit right! The repro handles have different shaped knobs. I actually have a pair of repro handles and they aren't to bad, but again, not quite right like most repro parts. I am hoping to find a plater that can do a good job for a reasonable price - is that an oxymoron?
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:25 PM   #4
1930-Pickup
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Default Re: Nickel plating

Even if you re-plate the original pot metal, it will continue to degrade. A stressed part like a window crank will deteriorate and break apart faster than an ornamental (only) part.

Pot metal is fairly soft and when its ground in the re-plating process, many times it will come out wavy, especially if you are using a 'cost-conscience' plating company.

At some point, there will be no pot metal handles anywhere...they will all have turned to dust.
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:32 PM   #5
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Nickel plating

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Originally Posted by wrndln View Post
Reconnoiter,
I am restoring my pickup to near fine point status. I really want to use as many original parts as possible - they look right and fit right! The repro handles have different shaped knobs. I actually have a pair of repro handles and they aren't to bad, but again, not quite right like most repro parts. I am hoping to find a plater that can do a good job for a reasonable price - is that an oxymoron?
Rusty Nelson
Rusty, consider using a repro as the basis, then have it stripped of the plating and remove the knob. Use some brass stock on your lathe to replicate the knob, and a small belt sander to recontour the arm. Then replate and you are set.
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Old 03-26-2018, 08:23 AM   #6
wrndln
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Default Re: Nickel plating

Brent,
Unfortunately I don't have a shop anywhere close to the one you have. I don't have a metal lathe to make a correct looking knob. I am lucky to fit the beadblasting cabinet, my true 5 HP compressor and the body and chassis I am restoring in my shop. I actually have my shop in a "barn" I build about 30 years ago. I built a barn so I could store my model A treasures on the second floor. The upstairs looks like a model A salvage yard! The repro handles I have look pretty close to the originals, except for the end of the knob. Why, oh, why can't repro venders make parts like original. Thanks for the response.
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Old 03-26-2018, 12:18 PM   #7
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Nickel plating

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Originally Posted by wrndln View Post
Brent,
Unfortunately I don't have a shop anywhere close to the one you have. I don't have a metal lathe to make a correct looking knob. I am lucky to fit the beadblasting cabinet, my true 5 HP compressor and the body and chassis I am restoring in my shop. I actually have my shop in a "barn" I build about 30 years ago. I built a barn so I could store my model A treasures on the second floor. The upstairs looks like a model A salvage yard! The repro handles I have look pretty close to the originals, except for the end of the knob. Why, oh, why can't repro venders make parts like original. Thanks for the response.
Rusty Nelson

Rusty, the reason why many reproduction parts are not done to exacting proportions is the additional time necessary for tooling and machining. You must remember that when we are speaking of 1,000 widgets being manufactured annually verses 1,000 units per week, things are vastly different regarding production costs. It is a fine balance between the ROI on an accurately produced item vs. a close item.


My suggestion to you is if you do not have a metal lathe, then find someone who does. Ask at the club meeting or maybe at church who has a lathe. There are many retired machinists that have small lathes in their basements or garages that would be very capable at machining them for you. Someone will know someone who has one that would love the challenge to make that for you. In the interim, maybe you can purchase a set or two of reproduction handles that you can send away have the plating stripped. Then using a small die grinder, compare the original to the repro and modify the repro to have the same shape as the original. Then with the new knob, send it off to be nickel plated and you are set. This is what sets the fine-point restorers apart from the parts changers in our hobby. You can do this, just take baby steps as you proceed.
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Nickel plating

In addition to what has been mentioned, ask whoever is going to do your plating if they have a non-bright nickel. If they use a modern bright nickel, the plating will tarnish very quickly as oxides are used as brightening agents in the nickel bath. Model A era nickel has no brighteners, so after plating, the part was polished to get it shiny.
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Old 03-27-2018, 05:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Nickel plating

The problem with pot metal is when it starts to pit, the grey soft stuff, it keeps on going. So the plater will try to grind down to good metal and then plate it up to get back to shape.

Pretty much you need to listen to Brent on this one if you want something decent in the end.

As for the plating, in the 30's they did not have the bright nickel so the patina you see is the result of using the dull nickel that is polished. I do not know how they do the butler finish.

FWIW, it is likely wise to ask Brent in a PM whom he prefers to do his plating. He can not afford to have a crappy plater that does not know how to do the finishes properly.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: Nickel plating

pot metal for a reasonable price?

dont expect plating to be reasonable, but if you are looking for low cost, I use Hanlon plating in VA

wont win a Marc Award, but good for a driver.
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Nickel plating

You may want to contact ;
Iverson Automotive
14704 Karyl Dr.
Minnetonka, MN 55345
www.iversonautomotive.com
800-325-0480
email: georgeiver@aol.com

They do concours show quality stainless, aluminum and pot metal restoration.

I've seen their work, and they are top notch. Where I saw their work, they compared like parts, one done by a competitor, which was wavy from grinding, and theirs, which was flawless, also 'before' (pitted) and 'after' parts from the same car, left and right etc.
Absolutely unbelievable work, they are amazing. No, I do not work for them, but will help promote a quality business when I see one.
They have their own process for restoration, unlike anyone else.
Check out their website.
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:25 AM   #12
wrndln
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Default Re: Nickel plating

Stew,
Thanks for the info. I sent them an email about plating the handles.
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Old 03-27-2018, 05:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Nickel plating

You could also try Cambridge Chrome in Cambridge Ont. Or the Plating House in Toronto. Cambridge does nice plating, Plating House does amazing plating, the costs reflect what your getting.
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Old 03-27-2018, 05:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: Nickel plating

sherms custom plating, sacramento california , advanced plating, nashville tennessee, ogden chrome, Ogden, Utah,, all three of these shops do super high end plating, all the top car builders use these guys, there not cheap but you get what you pay for
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Old 03-27-2018, 05:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Nickel plating

I have had many pot metal handles and window cranks plated by Custom Plating Specialists, Inc. in Brillion, WI through "Doc." They are also ones that do a great job on intricate items such as tire valve stems. They can be reached at www.customplatingspecialistinc.com or at 920-756-3284. Owner Terry Meetz is always at Hershey in Orange Field next to where Doc was.
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Old 03-27-2018, 06:41 PM   #16
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Default Re: Nickel plating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Karr View Post
I have had many pot metal handles and window cranks plated by Custom Plating Specialists, Inc. in Brillion, WI through "Doc." They are also ones that do a great job on intricate items such as tire valve stems. They can be reached at www.customplatingspecialistinc.com or at 920-756-3284. Owner Terry Meetz is always at Hershey in Orange Field next to where Doc was.
I agree 100% with Gary, Terry has done many items for me including an Original 1928/29 "Stanco" Pot Metal Quail that came out beautiful, with very little loss in detail, if any..
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Old 03-31-2018, 07:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Nickel plating

Never had window handles re-plated, but I have a question for those who have. How does the joint area where the roller handle and the shaft get plated? I would think that the parts would need to be separated to get that area to be plated correctly. As someone has posted, the part will be copper coated, maybe numerous times before nickel is applied.
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Old 03-31-2018, 07:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: Nickel plating

I had my 66 Ford window handles done by Librandi's Middletown, Pa. 717-944-9442 I asked about the roller, They said no problem and they did not take it apart. They look Beautiful!
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