View Full Version : Replating Camera Parts

Kevin Klazek
25-Aug-2005, 14:05
Does anyone have any experience with electroless nickel plating for restoring nickel plated brass? I have a Deardorff that could use some TLC. I found a company that makes a home use kit (Caswell Inc). Any other thoughts/tips on replating?


John Cook
25-Aug-2005, 14:31
Having lived in Springfield, MA, since 1941, I am a product of the days when there was a factory of some kind on nearly every street corner and everything on retail store shelves was made locally by friends and neighbors.

My Dad made clothes washing machines, televisions, table fans, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, radios and most of the Coke machines used in the USA.

Those days are gone, of course. But Fountain Plating is still here. Years ago, my minister sent all the brightwork from his old sailboat over there to be redone. So at one time their services were affordable by the average person.

Just for a lark, I did a quick web search. And what do you know, not only have they not moved to China with everybody else, but they actually have a site. Will wonders never cease?


25-Aug-2005, 16:41
There are some places in Chicago that do plating. Just google plating Chicago.

Jack Reisland
25-Aug-2005, 17:02
I have used Casewell's Plug-n-Plate brush plating system to plate nickel. For small parts, it works quite well as a dip plater. The parts must be VERY clean before platinng, and sometimes a part must be re-plated a few times to get it right. I would recommend that you practice on some other items first, but the price for a Plug-n-Plate kit sure beats the cost of taking the parts to a plater.

Mark Sampson
26-Aug-2005, 06:14
Electroplating is a nasty process . I'd leave it to the professionals. Why not ask at a local auto body shop, or better, restoration shop, about who they use for rechroming the trim on classic cars? That might be a good lead.

Conrad Hoffman
26-Aug-2005, 13:34
Most larger cities have anodizing and plating shops that will work with you. Just look in the phone book and give them a call. They'll usually add your parts to a larger run to keep the cost reasonable. They will also know when and how to remove plating when redoing parts. My only caution is that every now and then a part gets ruined in plating. Don't risk some valuable part that can never be replaced.

Jack Reisland
26-Aug-2005, 14:09
Large scale electroplating is a nasty business, but the Casewell plug-n-plate system consists of a wall plug in transformer, an electrode, and a small bottle of plating solution. No large tanks, fumes, and as long as you don't drink it, it is pretty safe. As I mentioned, though, it does take a little fiddling to get things plating just right, but in my experience the option of taking (or shipping) parts to a plater is very expensive. Also, most commercial platers are geared toward plating very large parts, and I have too often had small parts lost or ruined through over buffing by commercial plating shops. If you do choose to go the commmercial route, be sure that the plater you choose has experience plating small detailed parts, such as one of the firms that specialize in antique fountain pen restoration. Unfortunately, they will probably be even more expensive.

Kevin Klazek
26-Aug-2005, 19:25
Thanks for your responses. Electroless plating is not electroplating and not a nasty process.

Jack R, is the plug-n-plate process durable? My initial thought on that product was the thickness of the plating would be minimal and may not stand up to even normal use.

Jack Reisland
26-Aug-2005, 22:47
If used as a brush plater, the plate would probably be too thin to hold up. I used it as an immersion plater, and ran it for a long time, taking the part out and rotating it every once in a while. I have no way to test it, but I believe it gave me a reasonably thick plate.