1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Converting Stainless Steel Hardware to Gold

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by gb Custom Shop, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. gb Custom Shop

    gb Custom Shop TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    Posts:
    18
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2020
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Hi Folks!

    I'd like to take a stab at trying to convert some brushed stainless steel hardware to have a gold appearance. It seems there are a few different ways of doing this - the easiest being to just buy gold hardware in the first place! But I'm up for the challenge, and don't really care if it'll be more expensive in the end, and just want to have some fun with this project.

    What would you guys suggest for making stainless steel have a gold appearance?

    Here is what the piece looks like:
    https://tlcguitargoods.com/en/nek-plaat-rvs-music-man-stijl.html

    On a side note, if anyone knows where to buy a gold version of the above link let me know ;)
     
  2. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,256
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Location:
    corner of walk and don't walk
    The only thing that comes to mind is to have it gold-plated.

    You can get stainless to show a yellowish or straw color by heating to the point where those colored oxides appear on the surface, but I don't think that's the color or effect that you're after.

    Most (probably all) the gold guitar hardware I've seen looks OK at first, but it gets pretty ugly after some use.

    Maybe that could be avoided with a first-class gold plating job?

    .
     
  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,397
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    and if you DO decide to have it Gold Plated.. wear your pants with the deep pockets..

    r
     
    Steve Holt, bender66 and old wrench like this.
  4. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    37,728
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    Give that guy Midas a call
     
  5. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    16,434
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kimberton
    Get a philosopher's stone!
    It's been awhile, but I recall hold plating being inexpensive.
    It's only a few microns thick.
    I suppose you could gold plate a school bus with an ounce of gold.
    Try Caswell plating to see if he has a DIY kit.
    The price of plating used to be mostly polishing.
    Most people don't know that, when chtome plating, the piece is polished and buffed do that it looks like it's chromed before it even goes in the tank.
    Now I suppose there's more money involved in pleasing the EPA.
     
  6. Drak

    Drak Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    996
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Location:
    DC 'Burbs
    Most gold platers will shoot a thin layer of lacquer over top before they hand it back to you because the gold plating is so thin.
    And they will go out of their way to make sure you know that so you don't use metal polishers on the piece(s) and destroy the thin lacquer coating on top.

    For the past many years, I just use my airbrush and mix up a tinted lacquer concoction that simulates gold as close as I can get it.
    Works for me and costs me nothing, I already have all those supplies here.
     
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,373
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    Look up watch repair and gold plating to get an idea of what is involved.






    .
     
  8. RolandG

    RolandG Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    216
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    Gold is a soft metal. Playing will wear off quickly. If you really want gold coloured frets then re-fret with EVO GOLD fret wire. It’s not quite as hard as stainless steel but not noticeably over then playing life of a guitar.
     
  9. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    38
    Posts:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    If you go to Caswell and look at gold plating, it costs about $250 for a small bottle of gold plating solution. But wait, there's more! For stainless you have to have a stainless activator and then I think an acid copper, so you are looking at a minimum $300 to plate it yourself, not to mention all the trial and error (which involves obscene amounts of cleaning) and then you end up with a very fragile plating. Most gold plated guitar hardware is not actual gold plating, but a mixture of materials to give it a gold appearance and wear a little better, but you can't just go out and buy that solution.
     
  10. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,699
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Location:
    Moon Township, PA
    check the stainless steel parts with a magnet
    some SS alloys are non-magnetic
    I don't think electroplating those will be possible
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
  11. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,256
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Location:
    corner of walk and don't walk
    Here's a question for you @gb Custom Shop -

    What difference would it make if the part under the gold plating was stainless or regular carbon steel?

    There is very little basic difference between the two other than the stainless alloy has a high chrome content which deters staining and rusting, which is sort of a moot point once they are gold plated.

    .
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.