Nickel for free (or cheaper)?

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by lklawson, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    OK, I've decided to move ahead with another DIY project (as some of you might know). I'll be experimenting with home-electroplating.

    My plan is to plate some of my magazines, probably starting with C9 mags. I intend to galvanize (zinc plate) the springs, similarly to the Beretta Nano recoil spring, and nickel plate the magazine body. I am in the "collecting materials" phase. I have a source for zinc at no cost to me, so I'm good there, but I need "pure" nickel.

    Thus, I am soliciting ideas on how to acquire 99% pure nickel. So far, I've found that I can buy ingots, bars, slugs, and sheets/foil off of ebay, though I'm not sure if any of them are "good deals" or not. I've also found that I can buy "pure" nickel rods from welding supply sources, though I'll have to remove the flux. But that's still sinking real money into a project which might not turn out at all and could potentially be a giant waste. All of my other materials I either already have ("sunk costs") or are grocery store commodities at grocery store prices (notably distilled vinegar and muriatic acid).

    So, any ideas where I could potentially scavenge pure nickel? Doesn't have to be a lot, 6 or 8 ounces is all it should take for me to figure out if this will even work.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  2. Not sure, but brass or copper plate before nickel plating. It will hold better. And you should have plenty of brass to plate with. This will also give you a feeling at how the process works for you.

    Actually a brass slide is something rarely done. It would look really good polished.

    ETA it is possible to plate with stainless steel, which is easy to come by.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014

  3. Hermitt

    Hermitt Hey! Get Off My Lawn! Member

    I can give you some nickels for a quarter apiece..... :p
     
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    If they were 99% pure, I might take you up on it. But they're mostly copper. :(

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  5. Moestooge

    Moestooge Member

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    47
    If you can find any, pre-1981 Canadian nickels are pure nickel.
     
  6. Hermitt

    Hermitt Hey! Get Off My Lawn! Member

    A polished copper plated slide would be awesome!

    When I worked in the chrome shop, I brass plated a railroad lantern, and copper plated a 10 gallon milk can. I also did a few copper plated shelf brackets and screws. You have to spray clear lacquer after they're polished so they won't tarnish. I still have the milk can and the lantern.... :cool:
     
  7. Better yet, find some WW2 Nickels 1942-1944? Made with silver.
     
  8. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I don't see much in the way of canadian coins in Ohio, but I'll keep my eyes open.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  9. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    It would look pretty neat. Very "steam punk."

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  10. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Collectors have every last one of 'em. And it doesn't really get me nickel except that I might be able to trade or use them at face value to buy. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  11. GoesBang

    GoesBang Supporting Member

  12. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    It's not about bling, it's about historic corrosion resistance. Nickel plating is one of the oldest firearms finishes, dating to black powder firearms. Bluing, plating, and, yes, even painting and lacquering, all predate the U.S. Civil War.

    Historically, nickel plating was expensive and only folks with money could afford it. It was used for superior corrosion protection or for a "statement" piece (Presentation Pieces or "look what I can afford"). With the rise of the 20th Century, better industrial and production methods reduced the cost of nickel plating but it was still more expensive, though so much more accessible that even low-end companies such as Iver-Johnson were able to offer nickel finishes.

    The finish quality, or "bling," is (from what I've been told and have read) a function of how polished the base item being plated is. A matte sanded or etched surface will yield a matte nickel plate. Because I have low current interest in "bright nickel" (shiny reflective), I'll be using an acid etch method of cleaning and prepping the metal. Apparently this is historically accurate and common because acids are comparatively easy to use and easily available.

    But I'm still looking for super-cheap-to-free sources of "pure nickel." Any welders out there tell me whether or not all of the nickel rods are used up in the process or is there a "stub" left unused and discarded because it is too short or the like?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  13. GoesBang

    GoesBang Supporting Member

    I agree on the corrosion resistance factor. The bling is a bonus.
     
  14. Hermitt

    Hermitt Hey! Get Off My Lawn! Member

    Hmmm... how about sterling silver? :cool:
     
  15. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

  16. I would not recommend it. I have sterling on the grip frames of my Navies. It tarnishes, and polishing eventually wears away the silver requiring plating.

    On the other hand brass is inexpensive to plate again as it wears. Old brass casings that wear out can be used for the plating. Copper pipe is easy to pick up at the hardware store.

    Some people have mistook the brass frames on my Navies not painted as Gold. So it looks very impressive. I have a brass frame avenging angel that the cylinder and the barrel are in the white, and it looks exceptional with the brass grip frame.
     
  17. Hermitt

    Hermitt Hey! Get Off My Lawn! Member

    I've installed white brass bathroom hardware and door hardware before. It looks quite nice!
     
  18. panoz77

    panoz77 Member

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    7
    Well, it appears like that ebay auction would suit your needs. I guess as far as "worth it", you'll spend more in gas trying to find welding rod ends, than the $5 for pure nickel strips.
     
  19. MaryB

    MaryB Supporting Member

    Not pure silver, only 35% silver, 56% copper, 9% manganese