Although we have a world-leading reputation for
chrome-plating plastic components for the automotive, white goods
and telecommunications industries, we started life as a chrome
plater of all things metal. We often get approached to chrome plate
old metal components, car parts generally and whilst we're rather
too busy to stop production of the thousands of components we
manufacture every day, we're happy to advise, given our 60 years of
Firstly, when it comes to chrome plating, don't go for the
cheapest; it won't last. It is a highly labour-intensive process
which involves costly materials and that means cutting costs will
inevitably reduce the quality of the finish.
It is essential to have other layers under the chrome - at least
nickel and maybe copper below that - to protect the underlying
steel from corroding. The shiny layer of chromium on top is porous
and, without a waterproof layer in between it and the steel, it
will more than likely only last months instead of years.
When selecting where to get your chromium plating done, don't be
persuaded by cost alone. Only a small minority of commercial
platers can re-chrome older car parts as dealing with an old,
grotty, dull and dirty bumper requires real knowledge and
experience. Once it has been chemically stripped and then polished,
dents and twists become a lot more obvious.
You should also check components carefully before taking them in
and make sure the platers are able to make the necessary repairs
before they get plating. Even components which are rusted-through
can be repaired by cutting out all the rust and welding in new
metal before plating, but it has to be done to a very high
standard, which can cost a lot of money.
Where items have threads that need to be used after chroming,
talk to the platers to get the threads masked or plugged. If you
don't then chances are they will come back with a layer of metal
that will make it impossible for you to use them again.
Where you want to chrome items that were not chromed before,
remember that the end result will only be attractive if the item
can be polished all over to a mirror finish before plating. The
smallest of blemishes will be magnified when plated.
Once you've got it plated and it's looking stunning, look after
your chrome. You should avoid chrome polish as it is too
aggressive. Choose wax polish instead, as you would for paintwork.
Severely corroded chromework can sometimes be brought back well by
rubbing it with extra-fine wire wool.