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I Forge Iron

Killing the shine on nickle plate


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Hello guys, This may be a bit off topic but I know that there is a wealth of knowledge here, so please allow. I fabricated several reproduction parts for antique outboard motors, these were originaly nickle plated. Got my parts nickle plated , no polishing, just plain nickle plate on the mill finish steel. The question... how best to age the "new shine" appearance so that these parts look like they have been around for 60 years. I supposed that I could bury them in the garden for a few weeks, but looking for something quicker and more controled.
Joe B

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Joe; As nickel tends to be very resistant to acids and other patina chemicals and given that you've applied the plating over mill finish I would think that any significant abrasion runs the risk of exposing unplated areas. Considering also that the reason for the plating is to impart this corrosion resistance to the parts... it would seem to me that you might be best off leaving them shiny or just doing a strictly cosmetic faux patina. You could spatter and/or wipe them with a tinted acrylic finish like "Breakthrough", possibly in a couple of colors, then maybe wash off some areas. The faux patina would be sacrificial and disappear in use but would look nice in the showroom and be replaced by real aging as it disappears.

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You might try 3M pads available at the local mega-store in the paint section or refinishing section. 3M pads are available in various coarseness and are great for dulling a finish and removing rust.

I would suggest starting your experimentation using a fine-grade pad gently on some bolts or other low value surface prior to applying to your custom made stuff.

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I suggest Perma Blue. Paste gun blue by Birchwood Casey.
I use this a lot on my blacksmith projects. You just apply it with a soft cloth, the more applications the deeper the color, then rinse with cold water when you reach the patina you want.
Its also good for reblueing your guns. :)

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Thanks for the ideas, I tried a few different chemicals, and yes nickle seems pretty much impervious to any of them, at least in the short term. So I'll go with the faux patina idea, I tried some Minwax wood stain and it leaves a translucent coloration that does kill the "new car" shine.
Joe

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