Electrolysis and Nickel plating on tools

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Forum topic by DouginVa posted 02-22-2013 12:13 PM 2717 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DouginVa's profile


490 posts in 2238 days

02-22-2013 12:13 PM

I just acquired a Stanley #55 molding plane that has a litttle rust on it’s parts. See below:

I want to remove the rust and restore the luster of the nickel, but I read somewhere that electrolysis may damage the nickel plating or remove it. I use electrolysis all the time on irons and other metals, but not with nickel plating.

Does anybody have any experience with electrolysis and nickel plating?

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

4 replies so far

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3359 days

#1 posted 02-22-2013 01:44 PM

I dont think the electrolysis is going to affect the nickel plating, but I have read that will affect the wooden parts. Taking off the handle is kind of a hassle on those planes!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 2295 days

#2 posted 02-22-2013 01:49 PM

My experience with nickel plating and electrolysis, is that it’s about like japanning. If there is rust underneath the plating or japanning it will flake off, but if it’s in decent shape, and you just have surface rust, it will cleanup nicely in the electrolysis tank.

That being said, I’ve found the nickel plating pretty tough, and pretty resistant to the kind of penetrating rust that makes finishes flake off.

But, if you’re really concerned about it… use evaporust.

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View Ripthorn's profile


1454 posts in 2951 days

#3 posted 02-22-2013 02:02 PM

Nickel plating is actually typically applied using electrolysis and will therefore be removed by it. If you are dealing with rust, I would go with evaporust, as it won’t take off any plating. However, if you like, you can do the electrolysis and get it all off, and then replate using a small kit like the one Caswell Plating sells. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but I have a couple projects that it might be fun to do.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View dhazelton's profile


2755 posts in 2262 days

#4 posted 02-22-2013 02:05 PM

Dremel type tool with the small soft brass brush (you’ll probably go through a couple of the brushes). Fast and effective and a lot less messy than dips. It won’t touch the plating UNLESS it’s loose already.

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