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Technical CHROME PLATING STAINLESS & ALUMINUM TRIM

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. I was talking a old friend tonight that is building a '62 Bubble top and he was telling me he was having all the trim chrome plated, he went on to say it was cheaper than having all the trim polished.

    I hand polished all the trim on the wagon and I am not a professional and it's not perfect but are the professional polishers more expensive than chrome shops? HRP
     
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  2. chrome doesn't stick to stainless.
     
  3. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,538

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    Depends. It has to be repaired and polished before plating as you know. Sorry I'm referring to aluminum. Lippy
     
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  4. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 907

    Curt Six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Actually, that’s not correct...stainless (trim or otherwise) can be plated. It can look pretty cool on the right car. Kevin Anderson’s Cadillac is a case in point...all the stainless on his car was plated at my pal Jon Wright’s CustomChrome Plating in Ohio. I’m pretty sure it was more expensive than simply polishing it though!
    0F2ECE56-9CE9-40EE-97A0-657691408FA8.jpeg
     

  5. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 653

    kabinenroller
    Member

    I am sure that stainless can be plated but I seriously doubt that is is less expensive compared to having a part professionally polished. I used quite a bit of NOS trim on the Comet but still had many pieces rechromed, I also had all of the stainless professionally polished. Polishing is not cheap but chrome is more expensive.
     
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  6. 61SuperMonza
    Joined: Nov 16, 2020
    Posts: 489

    61SuperMonza
    Member

    The benefit to having the stainless plated is that it will no longer need as much maintenance to keep it shiny.
     
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  7. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,391

    rockable
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    All off the stainless from the belt line up on my 49 Buick was chrome plated. It is now being replated.
     
  8. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,566

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Aluminum is polished then anodized. To have the aluminum trim restored is very expensive. Never knew it could be plated.
     
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  9. I have heard that rumor as well and while I am not sure about it being cheaper. I can say locally here in Portland its very hard anymore to find a good professional polisher, harder to find than a chrome shop, so it might be one of the reasons. I know the guy that did all of Taboo's trim has stopped doing it, but man the stuff looks as good as chrome and was very reasonable.
     
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  10. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,550

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    The nice thing about chroming stainless is when it starts pitting you don't see any rust. :confused:
     
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  11. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,155

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    I had the injector stacks plated on the Ivo car. Hilborn used SS on the tubes but brazed the steel mounting lugs. If it was all SS, I could of had them "Electro Polished" for that chrome look, My Chrome plater said that to chrome the stacks, that he would have to do a "Nickle Strike" first before the copper, then reapply the nickle in order for the chrome to stick. Aluminum gets chrome plated all the time as early as the late 60's
     
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  12. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,155

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    The exhaust is electro-polished SS on the Ivo single upload_2021-4-22_8-10-0.png
     
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  13. MCjim
    Joined: Jun 4, 2006
    Posts: 220

    MCjim
    Member
    from soCal

    To get good chrome plating done, the part must be polished to a mirror finish.
     
  14. 55blacktie
    Joined: Aug 21, 2020
    Posts: 351

    55blacktie

    Listen to Mcjim and deracer. Platers have been plating aluminum for many years, and if you expect your parts to shine, they will have to be polished before plated. In other words, the cost of plating is no less expensive than professional polishing because it includes professional polishing. Nothing will last forever-chrome can become pitted, it rusts, and can flake off. Anodizing and clear coating wears off. Most of the exterior trim on my 55 T-bird is stainless, and it's still presents well after 66 years. However, my interior trim is chrome-plated, and there's some pitting, but virtually no rust. Chrome bumpers become cloudy and can rust, pit, and flake. Not all plating jobs are equal; some will last a long time, but some won't last at all, particularly if exposed to the elements-salt air, salted roads, cat and dog pee- or not well cared for. Manufacturers used stainless trim on the exterior for those reasons. Who would have bought a car if the exterior trim looked like you know what after only a couple of years.
     
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  15. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 944

    3W JOHN
    Member

    I have had stainless steel show chrome plated in the past and it still looked good when I sold the car a few years ago.
     
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  16. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,665

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You can plate stainless but why? Polished stainless is gorgeous! I had the side trim polished on my 442 24 years ago and it still looks like it was done yesterday. I'd take polished SS or aluminum over plating any day and it is why I make so many parts for my cars out of those materials. Don't get me wrong, I fully support my local chrome shop but i prefer the luster of polished metal over plated metal.
     
  17. I get why someone would plate stainless. No matter how well it's polished, it still won't have the same 'color' as chrome and if the parts adjoin each other it can be fairly obvious, particularly if a 'trim line' mixes stainless/chrome/aluminum. It's a bit of an anal thing and there's certainly folks here who are that anal... With that said, I'm like Bandit Billy; if I can build it out of stainless and avoid plating cost I do.

    Plating aluminum trim is very understandable. 'Correctly' restoring aluminum trim is as expensive as plating it and there's probably fewer places that do it. Plating also improves the durability and structural rigidity of aluminum trim to a degree.
     
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  18. lcfman
    Joined: Sep 1, 2009
    Posts: 276

    lcfman
    Member
    from tn

    I guarantee Advanced Plating can plate aluminum as they did the grill in my 59 Impala and it turned out great. You can even plate plastic.
     
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  19. Advanced plating did most of the chrome work on our Ranch Wagon, they do great work and can even repair broken pieces. HRP
     
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  20. bobd1976
    Joined: Sep 24, 2010
    Posts: 68

    bobd1976
    Member
    from Illinois

    I bought a bench buffer and stand from Harbor Freight to do all the stainless on my 48 Plymouth myself. Less than a couple hundred dollars invested total including the pads and compounds. Never done it before but managed to repair and polish it all for mostly just time invested. Didn't turn out too bad for an amateur's work. p3 (3).jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
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  21. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 664

    cfmvw
    Member

    We do a lot of copper plating on aluminum to repair minor pitting and corrosion on various submarine components, adding enough material to remachine back to specs.
     
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  22. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,968

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    The '49 or '50 headlight rims on my shoe box are SS but Ford [?] chrome plated them. I don't have a clue why plate as they were buffed any ways, don't know if all the '49/50 rims were SS or just from certain venders, I don't think any of the '51 rims I have are SS. I sanded all the chrome off [not easy!] and buffed them. Look great and match my SS grill. GRILL 51 06 Final Install 002.jpg
     
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  23. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 944

    3W JOHN
    Member

    I remember Danny telling me he was polishing the trim on the wagon and had to find a replacement piece when the polishing wheel grabbed the trim and sent it flying across his shop.
     
  24. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,968

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    That does happen.!
     
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  25. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,155

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    And that a BIG concern to deal with , just cant go to the bone yard or dealer to get a new trim piece. Cost a plater friend a few thousand dollars when his guy polishing some SS trim got wrapped around the buffer and cut his arm to the bone and trying to fine another trim piece
     
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  26. John threw me under the bus but what he said is true.

    I was fortunate enough to find all 6 NOS pieces of side trim for the wagon and all they had was some shelf scratches but I decided to clean those pieces up, I was on my last piece and it was the drivers door trim when the buffing wheel snagged the trim and ripped it out of my hands causing it to sail through the air and slam into my tool box on the other side of the shop, It was wadded up, bent and gouged beyond repair.

    My old pal Randy found me a replacement piece it Temples Salvage Yard, it wasn't NOS but it was nice and was dented free, I took my time and the piece looks as nice as the NOS pieces now. HRP
     
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  27. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 944

    3W JOHN
    Member

    Sorry Danny, that happened so long ago I didn't think it would still run your blood pressure up.;)
     
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  28. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,933

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I had the stainless back bar of my 55 DeSoto grill chrome plated when the plater did the pot metal teeth. SO the color matched.
    I've had aluminum finned valve covers plated, as well, so I didn't have to spend hours polishing them every year!
     
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  29. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,766

    ray
    Member
    from colorado

    with chrome, you don't generally polish the substrate, it's sanded to a fine finish then copper plated, the copper is sanded and polished. copper is much easier to sand and polish, and hides minor blemishes that would be more labor intensive to repair on a piece that is only to be polished. so yeah, it's possible that the cost could be cheaper, especially on rougher parts.

    i've fully polished parts for chrome in the past trying to save money. the chrome shop told me the parts looked great, but not to do that.
     
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  30. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 944

    3W JOHN
    Member

    I know the guy Danny is talking about and he is the kind of guy that want's what he wants and cost doesn't come into play.
     
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