Author Topic: Brass plating made easy  (Read 24139 times)

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Offline davis96

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Brass plating made easy
« on: October 09, 2012, 10:34:25 am »
So I've always liked the idea of electroplating as a more permanent solution for bare steel parts, and I like the look of brass plating. I toyed with the idea of buying a kit from somewhere like Caswell Plating, but their kits are relatively expensive. So I tried this technique described in the video below to brass plate my chipped/peeling/rusting fork cap nuts, with good results. Total spent: $4 for a couple of brass "stripping" brushes from Home Depot (already had a propane torch).

The technique:
Brass plating with heat

The result:


In the future I think this will be a more durable option than paint to coat bare metal parts and protect them from corrosion.

-Davis
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 11:27:33 am by davis96 »
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Offline mono

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 10:46:49 am »
i commented before watching the video.   yes, this is a commonly-used blacksmithing technique.  however, the amount of brass transferred is very thin, and definitely is not as durable as actual plating.  still, for non-wearing parts like your fork caps, it's going to look better than not doing it, and  it should hold up pretty well if you polish it with some kind of protective polish.

* also, unlike the dude in the vid, you should wear a leather glove.  :P haha.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 11:03:07 am by mono »

Offline davis96

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 12:44:11 pm »
i commented before watching the video.   yes, this is a commonly-used blacksmithing technique.  however, the amount of brass transferred is very thin, and definitely is not as durable as actual plating.  still, for non-wearing parts like your fork caps, it's going to look better than not doing it, and  it should hold up pretty well if you polish it with some kind of protective polish.

* also, unlike the dude in the vid, you should wear a leather glove.  :P haha.

Yea I definitely don't think this could be used on, say, a sprocket. But after 5 or 6 "layers" of brass, it is MUCH stronger/resilient than paint (i.e. the caps were unaffected when I used a wrench to tighten them back down). I am hoping they don't immediately discolor/oxidize on the bike. After taking this picture, I hand polished with some mothers metal polish and applied a layer of normal car-type wax, we'll see how they weather.
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Offline mono

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 12:57:10 pm »
i would suggest Renaissance Wax, but Mother's and/or any other polish and a good waxing should work fine.   We just use Ren Wax a lot in the smithing/sculpture area and boy that stuff works great.

Offline Gordon

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 03:00:15 pm »
Do you mind if I move this to the "Tricks and Tips" section after it drops off the first page?  If it stays in the tech section it will be buried after a couple of days.

Offline BobbyR

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 05:47:59 pm »
I have solid brass door hardware. I polish and coat it every couple of years. It will be high maintenance. Tried every coating you can name, clearcoat seems to last the longest.
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Offline scottly

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 06:58:34 pm »
Very interesting! 8) Did you sand-blast the fork cap first, or just heat it up and hit it with the brush?
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Offline dave500

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 09:05:19 pm »
i think its bloody great for small brackets etc!good tip thanks,make sure if you buy a wire wheel its all brass,some are steel with a brass looking colour over the bristles.

Offline singedebile

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 10:02:33 pm »
This is great! though I dont want to be too bling with my bike.. . are there any other metals you can use instead? or is brass the only one that "melts" at a low enough temperature?
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Offline CBGhia

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2012, 12:19:33 am »
This is great! though I dont want to be too bling with my bike.. . are there any other metals you can use instead? or is brass the only one that "melts" at a low enough temperature?

+1 I have been wanting to try nickel plating.
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Offline mono

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2012, 06:14:47 am »
This is great! though I dont want to be too bling with my bike.. . are there any other metals you can use instead? or is brass the only one that "melts" at a low enough temperature?

+1 I have been wanting to try nickel plating.

i know that gold, copper, and silver (and high percentage alloys) work with this technique .... not sure about nickel

Offline davis96

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2012, 06:57:35 am »
Do you mind if I move this to the "Tricks and Tips" section after it drops off the first page?  If it stays in the tech section it will be buried after a couple of days.
That's fine by me, I know I'll be using this technique again in the future!

Very interesting! 8) Did you sand-blast the fork cap first, or just heat it up and hit it with the brush?
I found a picture of the caps right before I went to Home Depot to buy the brass brush, you can see my caps were totally trashed:
The chrome was speckled with spots of gouged, bare, rusting steel.
I dissolved the remaining chrome/rust with sulfuric and muriatic acid. Once I got all the chrome off, I dry/wet sanded the bare steel. The way I understand it, whatever the "finish" of the steel is before plating will be the finish of the brass. So if you actually buffed/polished the bare steel, or you still have good chrome, you can plate over that and the result will be a brighter shinier brass coating.
This is great! though I dont want to be too bling with my bike.. . are there any other metals you can use instead? or is brass the only one that "melts" at a low enough temperature?

+1 I have been wanting to try nickel plating.
I have too, but electroplating is expensive and (aside from something simple like copper) there are too many variables that you have to get just right in order to get a decent looking result. I would like to try my hand at electro-less nickel plating though.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 07:21:00 am by davis96 »
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Offline DJ_AX

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 07:59:25 am »
Nice. Now where can I get a gold wire brush?
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Offline davis96

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2012, 08:48:41 am »
Nice. Now where can I get a gold wire brush?
I don't know about gold, but brass brushes are available at any hardware store; Home Depot has several sizes
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Offline mono

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 09:47:41 am »
Nice. Now where can I get a gold wire brush?

Try King Midas.  ;)   lol... but really - i doubt with the price of gold being what it is that anyone even makes them.  also, what would you use a gold wire brush for??  ???

Offline DJ_AX

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2012, 09:49:11 am »
Nice. Now where can I get a gold wire brush?

Try King Midas.  ;)   lol... but really - i doubt with the price of gold being what it is that anyone even makes them.  also, what would you use a gold wire brush for??  ???

... for plating my nuts of course. :)
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Offline mono

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2012, 07:36:53 am »
Nice. Now where can I get a gold wire brush?

Try King Midas.  ;)   lol... but really - i doubt with the price of gold being what it is that anyone even makes them.  also, what would you use a gold wire brush for??  ???

... for plating my nuts of course. :)

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 12:56:12 pm »
Thanks for posting this, I am inspired me to try it as well.  How long did it take to plate that bolt head?

Offline davis96

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Re: Brass plating made easy
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2012, 03:56:29 pm »
Thanks for posting this, I am inspired me to try it as well.  How long did it take to plate that bolt head?
Each layer took maybe 10 minutes of heating/brushing, and I think I have 4 layers on each one of my fork cap bolts
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