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Chrome plating or Re Chroming Advice

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Hi All.

Any advice sought on re-chroming a Stingray bridge/tail piece. I want to convert a top-loader to thru' body by drilling the bass plate as per Guitar Centre 2009 special edition.

I know that the holes will need radiussing (is that a word ?) and polishing, but will the whole plate need to be stripped and polished or is there some kind of resist that could be applied to the whole plate except the bare steel of the holes ?

As usual grateful for ant advice

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I'm confused 🤔

From your post I gather that you are going to drill 4 (or 5) holes through your bridge for the strings to pass through. Then radius, do you mean countersinking the hole, ie putting a bevelled edge around it so there's no sharp edge to damage the string. That all seems quite normal but then you want to strip the whole bridge and re-coat it but not get any in the new hole? Why re-coat at all if you don't want the new bare metal coated? Or is the original coating tatty? 

Rechroming is expensive BTW. 

🙂

 

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I read it as the OP is asking about somehow 'masking off' the rest of the bridge, and just chrome plating the countersunk holes (?) -- I doubt that's possible mind.

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I have  not explained myself clearly it seems.

The base plate is perfect but ,yes, holes will be drilled and a radius put on the edge so there is no sharp edge to catch the strings windings? These holes and the radius edge will be bare steel,, therefore open to oxidation. So this newly bared steel will need chroming. The question is:

1) is it possible to chrome just this bare steel, i.e. holes and edges, without  subjecting the whole plate to re-chroming ( this is where I ask could some resist ,wax or oily coating be applied to the already chromed surface) or.

2)Can new chrome be plated over the existing surface (chromed and newly bared steel) or:

3)Would the whole plate need to be taken back to bare steel and be re-chromed from scratch.

I have a feeling that maybe bassists with a biker background might be helpful with this.

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I’ve seen chrome paint in car spares shops, but I don’t know how good it is, also they do chrome paint in modelling shops , which you could try on an offcut of metal to see if it’s any good 🙂

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Posted (edited)

Gotcha 🙂

I took the 'resist' to mean a coating to resist tarnishing ie chrome, rather than something to mask/resist the chroming process. Making the whole post back to front. 🙂

Firstly any kind of chrome paint won't work, it's just paint and no matter how good it is the action of fitting strings and tensioning them will chip it off. In a similar way any oil, grease or other coating will just make your strings, and then your bass, messy. 

As far as I'm aware you won't be able to mask the bridge and only chrome the holes, but if it is possible to coat the bridge in something to stop the chrome salts being attracted to it then I'd guess it'll just be prohibitively expensive. Also a copper coat is often first applied before chrome (and nickel but that's standard so irrelevant), I think for better adhesion to certain metals, maybe to do with conductivity, and if this needs to be done then even more fiddly and time consuming. I would guess it's cheaper to just rechrome the whole thing which I'm sure can be done over the old chrome, but will need dipping to key it for the nickel and chrome plating. 

Hopefully someone who works with the stuff can confirm, or just ring your local platers and explain what you want and they'll advise you. 

Edited by Maude
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A good chrome finish is all in the prep work, it'll be cleaned, dechromed and polished up before rechroming again. Mind the items get dipped in vats so i dont think you'll get away with one small area, best bet classic motorcycle magazine theres always chromers in there who know their stuff, and countersink thats what you call the bevel around a hole good luck bud

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OK thanks for replies.

BTW "countersunk" means an flat angle to accept a recessed screw or bolt head i.e. it still has a sharp edge but not 90°. a rounded edge to provide a smooth curve is a radius!

So endeth the sermon, now hymn N° 139 in your hymn books omitting verses four, seven and ninety-six.

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I worked in chrome plating for many many years.

1, you can drill your hole etc

2, send the bridge plate to the chroming company. Here they will strip existing plating back to the bare metal

3, They will probably need to re-polish the metal (we would have), so that the visible surfaces are free from any marks, pitting etc

4, Then they will re-chrome. They may put a light coating of copper first (sometimes we did, sometimes we didn't) then nickel then the chrome top coat.

Much of the work involved is in the polishing of the stripped metal.

Sometimes we would increase the price because you just know a particular job is going to be a nightmare (some jobs are, some customers are)

We still have some chrome/ nickel/ zinc plating done where I work (we shut our plating shop 18 years ago. It was a health and safety nightmare and becoming harder every day)

We use a company called Butterworths, based in Ramsgate. They could probably re-do your bridge. We would have charged a minimum price, which was £25 plus vat. (if, however it was someone I knew/ liked it would have been free)

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Thank you police squad, that is exactly the kind of detailed advice I was wanting !

 Excellent!!

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