Nickel Finish?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by greengeep7, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. greengeep7

    greengeep7 New Member

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    How simple is it to restore nickel finish?

    I am not sure if it is nickel plated or what. I think I was told the revolver is 75% nickel or something like that, if that helps at all.

    Its a small Robin Hood Revolver.
  2. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR New Member

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    Well nickel is nickel. 75% nickel may mean 75% of the gun is nickel plated but nickel does not base its weight like precious metals do. So what is the current state of the nickel now? is it peeling or dull. Most nickel refinish work requires all the nickel to be removed, blemishes on the gun to be removed, buffed and prepped for plating, then plated all over again. Not necessarily a easy or cheap process. Dull nickel can in some cases be restored but it takes some fine polishing skills to not burn through the plating into the flash coat or base metal
  3. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    greengeep7,
    I'm guessing but from the name - you have a Single Action, spur trigger, rimfire revolver made sometime in the 1870's to 1900's as a very inexpesive pocket, vest or "muff" gun. More than likely it is Nickel plated over an iron frame. I've "preserved" quite a few of these - never saw the need nor felt the urge to have one restored because of the overall low collector interest and subsequent value.
    What I've done is lightly polish the remaining finish with a very fine, very slightly abrasive paste polish (FLITZ, usually use METAL GLOW now as it is not as aggressive) following the instructions and using very little pressure. That will remove the 100+ years of accumulated grease, gunk and oxidation and leave a nice polished finish that blends pretty well with the bare spots.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  4. greengeep7

    greengeep7 New Member

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    Thats great! Thanks for the indepth info. Im lookin forward to seeing how it turns out!
  5. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Welcome - thanks for thanking.
  6. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    There's a lot of mis-info or lack-info out there about nickle restoration. For years I have used a home electro-plating kit from Texas Plater Supply to plate entire guns and restore nickel on worn guns. Kit consists of a brush with a little plate on it that acts as the 'anode' in the circuit. A paste is supplied that you brush on the well prepared gun surface which is the 'cathode', connected to about 6 volt DC electrical source which can be flashlite cells.

    I haven't bought it in maybe 5 years but cost was about $40 then and was available in nickel, gold, silver, all of which worked well.

    For worn nickle, I have not tried to duplicate a new nickle job. Several times I have had a gun with nickle worn (or otherwise missing) in area I could re-polish. My re-nickle blends well enough that it has never been questioned.

    Here's a before/after job.
    [​IMG]

    Here (old file pix) S&W Triple Lock, renickel both sides of barrel, before/after.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  7. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR New Member

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    Brush platers work well on touch up but an entire gun I would never venture into. Your a braver man then me, Electroless bath is better suited for an entire gun.
  8. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    Brush plating for sure is not as durable as conventional electroplating. Can't put it on very thick. OTOH here are a couple more full gun jobs done 30 years ago. Handled quite a bit, fired some ----


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  9. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    How many hours of prep work before the brush plating on that Colt Auto?;)
  10. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    Brush plating can be applied as thick as you want, but getting an even thickness is difficult. Tank plating does give an even thickness, but requires more expense, room, and expertise.
    The Texas Electroplaters units work exceptionally well-so well that I am considering reselling them. The kits are quite a bit more expensive now.
  11. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    Roughly 20 hours prep for a large automatic in pitted condition. Autos are easier than revolvers because of a lot of flat space and external curves on autos. I try to do the best job I can, keeping flats flat and edges sharp and avoid dishing around holes.
  12. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    You do nice work!!:cool:
    Did you "clean-up" the lettering? (If so, How?)
  13. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    I took all the lettering off and replaced it. I found a process intended for making printed circuits that I adapted. Basically it covers the entire surface with an insulation coating but leaves the lettering bare. Then using kitchet salt water as electrolyte, with about 6 volts DC, you do the referse of electroplating, which removes bare metal in the lettering. Then clean up and see your result. About 15 minutes in the process gets depth of about .010". A very tedious prodcess with limitations and a lot of ways to foul up. Even so it's the only DIY method i know of other than steel letters or engraving. I have a DVD I made of it.

    All the work shown on the above guns is mine.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
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