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Old 09-29-2018, 12:30 PM
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Default Brush on nickel?

Anybody ever tried using the Caswell "Plug & Plate" brush-on nickel plating system to repair damaged nickel on a gun?

Here is a video
brush on nickel plating steel - Bing video

The kit is pretty cheap on Amazon



Just curious. Seems like it might work - or maybe not. If anyone has tried it, please share your experience, good or bad.

No offense intended, but speculation, while potentially interesting, really isn't what I'm looking for here - unless this thread completely falls flat because it turns out nobody has even tried it. In that case all opinions welcome.

Last edited by BC38; 09-29-2018 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 09-29-2018, 12:37 PM
Camster Camster is offline
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There's nickel plating and then there is bright nickel plating,which is the factory method.Doubtful that any home remedy could provide more than a thin basic, non smooth finish.
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Old 09-29-2018, 03:46 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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I used to do a lot of electroless nickel plating using Caswell products. Mainly golf clubs. Never tried a firearm. At that time their products were by far the best on the market. Easy to do especially with glass bead prep.never did a high polish. We were looking for durability. Been thinking about digging out the chemicals and trying on a revolver.
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:28 AM
RMFnLA RMFnLA is offline
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The hardest part of refinishing a gun is the polishing.

No matter what the process the finish on the metal will determine the final results.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:00 PM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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I used to use the Texas Platers Supply brush plating setup years back. About as basic as you could get, but the same idea.
I first used a drycell battery for power then got a motorcycle battery charger and set it at 6v and used that.
Worked just fine and in fact still pull it out once in a while and plate some small parts with it like a Win21 trigger for a restoration.

About the largest parts I ever did were Colt SAA back straps and trigger guards ,,some cylinders and bbls too.
Gold, silver and nickel for final finish.
I have copper and brass also.

I did a Browning 25auto in gold once after I engraved it. They all came out just fine.

The plating will build up as heavy as you want it too,,just keep applying it with the brush and in the Texas Plating kit the stuff was a gel that you dipped the brush in and applied it with.
I remember doing a Remington 41 derringer with nickle using it to fill the pitting. Plating then polishing it back off to leave the pits filled.
A repetitive slow process but it worked.
The final product was engraved and silver plated.


Sounds like the Caswell is more of a liquid but the same idea.

Nickel plate needed an under coat of copper in my case,,just a quick flash coating and then polish that copper up nice and brite. Then plate with the nickle.

The nickle when first applied came out very dull, milky colored and uneven in coloration . But as in commercial plating it needed to be buffed to bring out it's nice brite luster. That I did with simichrome on a rag or even a toothbrush on small uneven parts. A small buffing wheel with simichrome rubbed onto the surface and let dry worked perfect for larger surfaces.

The gold and silver also used a copper flash plating underneath (I used a brass plating sometimes if I didn't have any copper avail and it worked fine).
Polishing the gold or silver plate was needed also after the work was done to bring up the luster but that was always done with simple hand polishing as the gold and silver are much softer than nickle and polish up easier and quicker.

I used the brass plating soln to touch up damage done to brass framed guns and other objects. The damage first filled and fixed with the new silver bearing soft solder (tin/silver) low temp of 400F allows simple soldering fix.
The tin/silver solder allows the plating to take just as if it was any other nonferrous metal and the area could be repaired quite nicely w/o resorting to high heat techniques like brazing and hard soldering.

Medallions and initial plates like those on shotgun toe lines that were orig gold or silver plated and worn could first polished carefully. Next masked off to protect the wood around them from the soln.
Then replated. I would use a common needle with the neg lead clamped to it to touch the medalion of plate while the + lead was attached to the brush with the plating compound did the work . Some careful maneuvering completed the work w/o any marks on the surface from the neg contact being clamped to it while in place.

That little set got quite a workout over the years. I think I first started using it in the mid 70's.
The little jars of '24kGold compound' were pretty cheap then compared to what they want now for them, if they're even still around..
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:53 AM
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Excellent feedback 2152hg, thanks for sharing your experience.

My project is an old Luger that had been nickel plated, but has a few flaking/peeling spots. I was thinking of using the Caswell system to re-plate the damaged areas.

Those areas are already worn nice and smooth, so no issues with the underlying metal finish. My only concern is that plating over the edges of the existing nickel will create some unevenness at those edges, but hopefully I can even it out fix that with the buffing out process. Or maybe I should smooth those edges down with a super fine needle file first?

Here's a picture of the Luger in question...
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Brush on nickel?-rtside-jpg   Brush on nickel?-lftside-jpg  

Last edited by BC38; 10-04-2018 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:06 PM
RMFnLA RMFnLA is offline
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A nickel plated Luger; what will they think of next..?
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:25 PM
gman51 gman51 is offline
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From what some have said it sounds like it is worth a try.

People scoff at Durablue because what can you expect from a poofoo can of paint. But I was well pleased with the results. I was surely more satisfied with it than using any cold bluing.

Like they say don't knock it till you try it. People are to quick to pass judgment on things they have no experience with.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMFnLA View Post
A nickel plated Luger; what will they think of next..?
LOL, from what others have said in other threads, apparently there was a whole cottage industry putting "a shine" on old Lugers back in the day.

I'm guessing this one was probably plated 70 or 80 years ago, and it appears to have been done quite well. But 3/4 of a century of wear has taken its toll in a few high spots.
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Old 10-04-2018, 05:11 PM
RMFnLA RMFnLA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
LOL, from what others have said in other threads, apparently there was a whole cottage industry putting "a shine" on old Lugers back in the day.

I'm guessing this one was probably plated 70 or 80 years ago, and it appears to have been done quite well. But 3/4 of a century of wear has taken its toll in a few high spots.
Yeah, many years ago I picked up a shiny nickel S&W 1917 at a gun show.

Not very original but I think I paid about $75 for it and it was a terrific shooter.

To me, a nickel Luger looks like a cigarette lighter.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMFnLA View Post
Yeah, many years ago I picked up a shiny nickel S&W 1917 at a gun show.

Not very original but I think I paid about $75 for it and it was a terrific shooter.

To me, a nickel Luger looks like a cigarette lighter.
LOL, yeah, I can see that. I've never been real fond of nickeled guns myself.

But I have always wanted a genuine German Luger in 9mm, and for some time now they have been priced out of my range.

I got this one for $400 and it is all numbers matching. Just refinished. So it was a no-brainer for me to have one I can shoot all I want for a very affordable price.

Now if I can improve its looks for $50 and a little effort, that makes much more sense to me than trying to do a restoration and spending a small fortune trying to make it something it will never be.
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