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Silver Plating

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I saw an ad on Ebay for something called Silver Plating Formula. Binds to any copper based metal. (That means alost everything on a sax, including bronze, nickel silver and existing silver plate). Wasn't cheap, about 15 quid for 150ml. But that's a lot cheaper than trying to get someone to plate it for you.

My saxes are silver plated, and showing signs of wear in a few places, so I was looking for something to recover from the damage.

It arrived yesterday and I tried it out on my PPT (brass ring) and Kohlert.

PPT brass ring took it well, but required quite a few coats to get a decent silver colour. Finish is superb. Kohlert slightly slower - also required quite a few coats. And needs some more. It's not filling any cracks/scratches, but it is starting to plate it OK. So I'll end up with a thin layer of silver over the rough bits. Will look better, but not perfect, and I don't want to start buffing the scratches out and thinkking the metal.......

Now for the fittings on the lig.... And a couple of patches on the Santoni.

So a thumbs up from me, but with the reservation that it takes a long time, it's not the instant fix it's sold as.



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gladsaxisme

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Hi Kev

That's great info I was thinking of giving that stuff a try myself but kind of dismissed it as probably not much cop so it's great to know it actually works.Have you tried it on any the rub wear area's yet like around the thumb rest and pad cups? I wonder how it will stand up when you start to handle these area's again...john

ebay here I come
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Only got the stuff yesterday, so no way of knowing how long it'll last around the thumb rests, which is where I've done the first lot (apart from the PPT). BUT - it's a VERY thin layer, so may not last long, especially with aggressive polishing. But the stuff makes a good polish, so maybe that's a way to keep it looking good.

Goldwash - I need to do this myself. There's something on cybersax about it, can't remember where, but I think they suggested a home plating kit from one of the US suppliers. But this was an electro plate method, so may be tricky. Need to be careful about chemicals and disposal, I think they're moe lax in the US than here. Will be checking it out...

Photos, will try, difficult to get something that shows things properly...
 

Lodger

Member
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108
An interesting and not always remembered point about plating was touched on above. Plating for decorative or protective purposes, which covers the majority of things we normally meet, does not improve the surface of the article, i.e. it won't fill scratches etc. Our business, from when my grandfather started electro-plating in 1895, did all the usual types (copper, nickel, chromium, silver, cadmium, zinc) until a few years ago we got fed up with the problems of pollution/disposal and with people bringing in their old metal teapots and rusty car bumpers, expecting them to look as good as new after plating. Of course a lot can be done to improve them if there is enough metal left to stand all the polishing needed before plating, but normally you just end up with shiny scratches!
 

gladsaxisme

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Hi Lodger

Nice to see we've got someone with a knowledge of the plating industry onboard ,do your comments mean that your no longer involved in the business due to the never ending increase in regs,thats a terrible shame if it is the case.Do you have any knowledge of this gold wash treatment for saxes.I'm sure we would all like you to share any knowhow with us that you might have...thanks...john
 

JasonC

Member
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217
I've got an electroplating kit and have done a fair bit of Gold plating.

The thing that it most important is the finish that you are plating, if there are very fine scratches on the surface you want to plate then these will show through the plating. This has not been too much of a problem for me because the items I have plated so far are open to the elements anyway and will inevitably scratch at some point. For the best finish the surface has to be very highly polished before you plate, although I'm pretty sure you can plate with Silver first which plates thicker than Gold and then plate Gold on top, however, I haven't tried this so I can't be 100% sure. You can obviously plate as much as you like to make it thicker but the Gold solution is expensive so plating with a cheaper metal (like Silver) first is more economical.

I have not heard of this 'Gold wash' stuff so I cannot comment on that. Gold plating is actually quite easy once you've got the kit, but it will put you back a few hundred quid before you start. If I was going to Gold plate my sax, depending what bits I was going to plate I would probably lacquer the Gold afterwards to increase the durability because plate will eventually wear off if its rubbed a lot.

Here's some pics of some of the bits and bobs I've done:





 
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Lodger

Member
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108
Hi Lodger

Nice to see we've got someone with a knowledge of the plating industry onboard ,do your comments mean that your no longer involved in the business due to the never ending increase in regs,thats a terrible shame if it is the case.Do you have any knowledge of this gold wash treatment for saxes.I'm sure we would all like you to share any knowhow with us that you might have...thanks...john
Sorry John, my knowledge is very limited as I was never an electroplater myself - I'm a mechanical engineer. We stopped plating, not because of any regulations, but because disposal of the dead solutions is very expensive and it hadn't been a large part of our business for some years. It just became more trouble than it was worth, unless we wanted to invest and make it a much larger enterprise.
 

gladsaxisme

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Hi Jason

That's very impressive and hardly what I would call bits and bobs.Is it real gold or an electro anadising treatment, the kind of thing you see on kitchen pan covers and bahtroom fitments etc,what ever it is it looks fabulous ...john
 

JasonC

Member
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217
Thanks John, Kev. I have a classic Vespa and I'm currently in the process of Gold plating the whole thing! time is a problem for me though so it's going a bit slow :(

It is real Gold and electroplated to the parts using a special electroplating machine and chemicals. The Gold solution is about £80 per bottle and how far it stretches depends on how thick you layer the Gold. The Gold wheel you see above plus another one used nearly a whole bottle! Because I am doing this on a pretty small scale the waste is minimal and easy to dispose of, plus the chemicals I use are low in toxins compared to some products on the market.

I do have a polishing machine to do parts that need some preparation first but I haven't had chance to use it yet, plus most of the parts I have plated so far were Chrome plated in the first place so all I had to do was strip the chrome and then re-plate with Gold, this gives good results because the underlying nickel plating is normally quite thick and has a good smooth finish.
 

gladsaxisme

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Hi Jason

I've just been looking on the old dreaded ebay for electro plating gear and come across one or two interesting things.one was a wand that you can do gold or silver with complete with a bottle of soluton for about £55 and the other was a complete kit for about £260.Is this the stuff your using or did you find a different supplier,and have you ever tried the wand,I 'm obviously contemplating re silvering an old sax and my thoughts are that if you can run the wand over the worn area's it may be a good way of tackling the problem rather than attempting the whole sax,any advice would be much apreciated ...john

ps is your polishing machine a vibrating tub with polishing medium in it
 
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JasonC

Member
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217
Hi John,

I got my plating kit from here and the kit I bought was this one. They do smaller kits so I would have through these would be fine for touching up, although I do recommend practising on something else first until you've got used to it. Remember that preparation is very important so don't rush doing this part. There is a manual you can download which gives you a lot of information on preparation, what metals need what etc so I recommend downloading that for a look first.

The polishing machine I have is a bench mounted thing, a bit like a bench grinder, but for small objects or areas you can just use very fine sandpaper and then polish is with some polish to get as many of the fine scratches out as possible because these will show through the plating, although as I said earlier, Silver goes on a little bit thicker so it should be a little easier to do than Gold. Also remember that some metals plate easier than others and some can't be plated at all with the kits on that site, such as Aluminium
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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A link for the gold washed blls - http://www.cybersax.com/BellWashes.html

I downloaded the training manual from Jason's link. Lots in there. I reckon with the stuff in the cybesax link, and something like the kit from Jason's side, it's quite possible to do at home. I remember seeing another page at cybersax, where they said that they'd restored someone's gold washed bell using a wand type home electo plating kit. Found the link for that - it's a US firm, www.caswellplating.com. details here: http://www.cybersax.com/Buescher Resto Issues.html

On his Buescher restoration page, he mentions plating springs with gold. Recommendation is to first copper plate, then gld plate, cos the gold won't adhere to the steel, true, but I think from other reading that there's a trap in there - copper diffuses into the gold, so I think you need a layer of silver before the gold for lasting results. .
http://www.cybersax.com/Buescher Resto Issues.html

And there's more plating stuff here:
http://www.cybersax.com/QA/Q&A_DIY-Advanced.html
http://www.cybersax.com/QA/Q&A_Chu_Berry_Conn_Identification-Spot Plating.html
 
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gladsaxisme

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Thanks Kev and Jason

Some very useful info from you both, it's a bit surprising that this subject has never come up before.I'm thinking of giving the cheaper wand a whirl first before starting anything more expensive,thanks again to you both,the cybersax thing is very interesting isn't it...john
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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13,957
And of it will take a lot longer to know how well it stays there. Presumably it's silver, in which case it will tarnish and will need polishing. I wonder how it will fair then?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Silver doesn't really take a lot of polishing. Just a proper wipe ove after you finish playing. And a going over with a polishing cloth evey couple of months. MAy be different if the sax sits in the open on a stand.
 

JasonC

Member
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217
If you do need to polish Silver plate, make sure you use a very low abrasive polish and cloth, but as Kev says, just a wipe over with a none abrasive cloth should be fine after use. Obviously the thicker you plate the Silver the longer it will last from wear.

Some of my Gold parts are already starting to show wear after about 12 months but those parts are constantly being rubbed by some part of my body or something else, having the kit myself though means I can just touch it up when needed.
 
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