Stripping is the very first stage of the restoration process and also one of the most important. Parts to be restored will typically need to be stripped of grease. oil, paint, rust, oxides and old plating deposits. We have various methods of doing all these things and the actual method used will depend on what the base metal is and sometimes on the gauge of the metal. Both mechanical and blasting methods can be used but we mainly use chemical processes at this initial stage.
The stripped parts now move on to the repair and polishing stages in a clean, bare metal state. If this is not done adequately and residues are left on the parts, then it will affect the overall restoration in a detrimental way.
The great bulk of what we do at S&T is refinishing vehicle parts dating from the early 1900s to about 1980. This means that inevitably that of all the car and bike parts that we receive for refinishing in nickel or chrome, a significant number will be damaged in some way and need to be repaired prior to being refinished. It is probably true to say that the optimum time to undertake the repair work is after the stripping stage and after the initial polishing stage when the metal is abraded away to a degree which shows up very clearly any mis-shapes, dents, twists etc, and any perforations, splits, cracks or bigger holes. If any repair work is attempted prior to these stages, it is often necessary to make further repairs. We make this point for those people who feel competent enough to undertake any repair work themselves. It is important to undertake repair work at the correct stage in the process. We are often asked to fill holes where tow-bars or spot lights had once been fitted but are now no longer required. We are also asked to 'make good' items where part of the original has actually broken off or missing. Common too, is the need to replace missing studs or trapped nuts.
Whether working with steel, brass, copper, zinc or aluminium, we have the experience and the full range of skills and processes to undertake the repair of parts with confidence.
The polishing shop is the key area in the restoration of old parts. It is the work here before the main plating stages which largely determines the quality of the finished parts. Any marks or flaws left in the surface of an item are actually highlighted by decorative plating and not covered up as some people imagine. There is no substitute for skill and experience at this stage. The polisher is dealing with various metals in various states of decay, thye are also dealing with various shapes and need to be aware of stampings and logos so as to retain the originality of items.
It is often the case that when the polisher has gone as far as they dare, there are still flaws and pits in the surface. In this case build up plating processes would be used to put on a heavy layer of metal which can then be polished to a much better finish prior to the final decorative plating stages.
In the main processing shop we have the plant and solutions for Zinc, Copper, Dull Nickel, Semi-Bright Nickel, Bright Nickel & Chrome Plating. Our tanks are large enough to cope with items upto 8 feet in length.
We can also of Silver & Gold plating for smaller parts such as reflectors, etc.
Where chrome plating of old parts is concerned, again there is no substitute for skill and experience. There is an art to know how to 'jig up' a part prior to its journey through the chemical processes. The plater will be aware of holes on studs to be masked and of parts that have to fit together after plating. They will be aware of power and time settings to ensure that the correct amount of plating is put onto parts, so that they withstand an outdoor environment.
So when an item has been properly prepared in the polishing shop, it can be put through an appropriate process in the plating shop by an experienced and knowledgable plater and the result should be the high quality enduring finish that we aim to produce.
CASTINGS & DIE-CASTINGS
We should like to point out that it is not always possible to achieve the best results when attempting to refinish cast or die-cast items. In particualr, mazak items such as many car door handles and light housings can be very problematic. Although it is fairly straightforward to strip, polish and plate these items, it is not all straightforward to erradicate the pitting in them. Where we see that this maybe an issue we will always discuss this with the customer prior to any process.
S&T is one of only a small number of companies who will undertake to refurbish used exhaust parts in the form of pipes and silencers. All plating companies are aware that the release of 'coke' into process tanks can cause huge problems. We can take on these parts because we have fairly relaible de-coking methods and we have a designated process tank for these parts which means that the greater part of the process is protected from any release of 'coke'. Residues do remain in pipes and silencers however and can still be released during the plating process, this may give rise to some small specs or marks being produced on the plated finish.
S&T also supply electroplating services for many local companies within the Bristol area, a free collection and delivery service is availble on request as our van is in Bristol every day.
Contact us on 01454 313162 or use our contact form.
15/16 The Alpha Centre
Tel: 01454 313162
Fax: 01454 321875
You can also use our contact form.
Mon - Thurs 08:00 - 16:30
Fri 08:00 - 16:00
Sat 09:00 - 12:00
Our Next Show!
The Motorcycle Mechanics Show at Stafford - 14th & 15th October 2017
WE COLLECT AND DELIVER ACROSS THE UK & IRELAND
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