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DIY Gold Hardware (electroplating?)

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by blue17, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. blue17

    blue17 Tele-Meister

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    Hi all,

    Amid the never ending time at home, a new project came to mind and I decided that I wanted to replace most of the chrome hardware on my old MIM Strat with gold hardware. To start with, I'm not unwilling to just buy the OEM parts, but what seemed like a good project was trying to make my own.

    I know there are some DIY gold plating options, but I haven't seen much of people doing it with guitar hardware. Has anyone ever tried? I'm willing to get messy and to buy some (tame) chemicals and spend a little bit of time doing this.

    Has anyone tried, and if so how did it come out?
     
  2. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    I've done zinc, copper, nickel, bronze, and cadmium plating off & on for years. to gold though. the price of the materials is pretty high if you mean real gold. like wowzer high. there are some brass alloys that look close.

    you should put gold over the top of nickel or maybe copper. I don't think it can go on top of chrome, pretty much nothing does well over chrome. any chrome needs to be removed by electrostripping in either and acid or caustic electrolyte. you could start with nickel hardware though.

    there is brush plating and tank plating. Caswell is the most reliable supplier for the hobbyist. there may be others but not many left doing this type thing

    https://caswellplating.com/
     
  3. Informal

    Informal Tele-Afflicted

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    Go with gold nail polish... It will last about as long as most plating, but If you tire of it faster than expected... Acetone will reverse it quickly.
     
  4. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    If the professionals can never get it right (and they can't, that tacky -ish starts to tarnish and flake off as soon as you look at it), what makes you think you can?
     
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Electroplating is a very dirty process, and there are plenty of bad/poisonous chemicals involved. You'll also generate toxic waste.

    Consider all of that too.
     
  6. Novatuc

    Novatuc Tele-Meister

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    I bought one of the Caswell kits to gold plate a few extra long neck screw heads. It works well but the gold rubs off fairly easily. Perhaps the SS screws were not the best material to plate.
     
  7. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    It will be cheaper to buy gold replacement hardware unless it is something you just want to try as a hobby.

    Mobile brush plating was a thing back in the '80's. The mobile services would offer "Gold Packages" through the car dealerships and electroplate medallions like wheel center caps, body badging and other parts on-site without even removing them from the car. The results were gold plated parts that lasted a few years before beginning to degrade from car washes and the weather.

    Amazon sells home plating systems but most are $500 on up. There is a low cost hobby kit that Amazon sells from Becker Industries for $59 that will do either immersion or brush plating (for parts that can't be removed or are impractical to immerse due to size).

    In order to gold plate chrome parts, you have apply a chrome stripper first. Also, gold plate does not bond with stainless, so you have to plate with an intermediate first. For example, automotive chrome plating over steel is typically a copper plate base coat, followed by nickel intermediate coat, followed by chrome coat. Becker sells what they call Nickel Activator which coats the stripped chrome or stainless part so it will accept and bond the gold plating. The solutions are pricey but you can plate in nickel, gold, rose gold, nickel, copper, silver and black chrome with their premixed solutions.

     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  8. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    I looked into this a while back as I was looking for a gold fender jazzmaster trem (they are impossible to find,actual fender ones) And figured I could plate my own

    I made the decision that it was more trouble than it was worth

    If you actually do it I hope you check back and tell us how it went
     
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