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Customs Nickel plated finish for brightwork?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mike51Merc, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,834

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    Has anyone seen nickel plating as a finish for brightwork on a custom? Any pictures out there?

    Not to take automotive stying cues from plumbing, but nickel has become the "in" thing in fixtures (both shiny and brushed finishes). I kind of like it and considering the outrageous price of chrome, might want to experiment with it on a project.
     
  2. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,482

    striper
    Member

    Looks fantastic in my opinion. Needs more maintenance than chrome.
     
  3. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,206

    earlymopar
    Member

    Most all early cars had nickel plating rather than chrome. The slight yellow appearance of nickel versus the blue tint to chrome has a much better appearance. If you have stainless trim anywhere on your car, nickel on any other mating pieces is the way to go.

    - EM
     
  4. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,243

    The37Kid
    Member

    Either bright or brushed it is a classy way to go. There is a black '32 Roadster that comes to mind that was all brushed nickel, it looked great. Bob
     
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  5. Boones
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 9,560

    Boones
    Member
    from Kent, Wa

    I have heard that the color/ finish can differ from shop to shop, as is each batch. might want to confirm.. had to have some of the work done at one time look different than the next. Since you are not doing high volume production work like a faucet manufacture.
     
  6. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,287

    swissmike
    Member

    I don't think you will save a lot of money since the same amount of surface prep will have to go into the parts. They will have to be built up with copper first, then polished and then nickel plated.
     
  7. SoCal Merc
    Joined: Jul 26, 2007
    Posts: 572

    SoCal Merc
    Member
    from SoCal

    On my OT Nova, I had my hood hinges nickle plated and then clear powder coated. Sorry no pictures.....
     
  8. I love the look of nickel plating. Are you talking about trim pieces like side mouldings and trim around windows when you say brightwork. I think all the stainless or chrome trim on a custom would look fantastic if done in nickel. I wouldn't do it on a hot rod, I think chrome looks best on rods but for customs I'd go nickel.
     
  9. afaulk
    Joined: Jul 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,189

    afaulk
    Member

    Aside from the cost of the chromium, one of the biggest expenses for platers is the EPA requirements for disposal of chromium waste. Avoiding the chroming process should save $$$$. Chrome is essentially a clear coat over the nickel, protecting the nickel from oxidation and making the shine "pop".
     
  10. Zeke
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,716

    Zeke
    Member

    You can nickle plate same stuff at home and it's easy
     
  11. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    VoodooTwin
    Member
    from Noo Yawk

    Nickel for exterior brightwork doesn't hold up too well. For interior stuff, it's great for interior trim though.
     
  12. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    The majority of chrome plating cost is in the prep, polishing, buffing. For a nickel plated part to be smooth and shiny the same work must be done, so no significant savings there.

    In some cases parts are not copper plated. Copper seems to improve adhesion of the plating, but it's primary purpose is to act as a filler for smoothing and filling imperfections. Doing that all on the base metal is much more difficult, and sometimes not appropriate.

    Chrome started being used on cars sometime in the mid to late '20s. Prior to that bright parts were typically polished german silver, polished brass, polished copper, or polished nickel plating.

    Nickel tends to tarnish, but not as quickly as copper or brass.
     
  13. Nickel is a nice understated look though ....there was a green roadster in RD a few years back with all nickel bits...looked really good.
     
  14. Zeke
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,716

    Zeke
    Member

    Very much correct. Back when I did the gunsmithing thing i learned you get whatever quality metal finish that you put into it. You want a mirror image then the metal underneath the best be perfect. In school we would be handed old Mauser barrels that had be nicked and dinged in evil ways were to be buffed out to a "matchless" polish for bluing or plating. Every imperfection will show in a nickle plate. Bead blast or brushed finish is just as durable but much less pleasing to the eye.

    I would clearcoat interior nickle plated items as well as anything exterior just to UV protect it.

    Blitzcloth is our friend
     
  15. What type of clearcoat finish is the best for use on top of bright nickel to keep it from tarnishing?
     
  16. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    The shinier a part is, the poorer adhesion of any coating will be.

    The more durable a coating is, the harder it is to remove when(not if) it fails.

    All things considered, something like car wax is the best compromise for protecting polished finishes on car parts.
     

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