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Unread 07-26-2008, 02:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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aging nickel with vinegar

well i had an old epi pup cover that i had "distressed with steel wool and 600 grit sand paper, and i am seeing if vinegar will give it a little if any patina over time. I have it sitting in a thin layer of vinegar in a Tupperware with the lid on. I know that i got about 99% of the chrome off of the nickel and i also wore it through to the bronze in a few areas where my hand often rested on it.

Im just doing this for fun, and if i have good results i may do this to the rest of my hardware on my paul eventually down the line...

Has anyone used vinegar before, and how long does it take? The surface is smooth to the touch but you can still see the abrasions if you look at the pup cover from certain angles. I figure that with all of the chrome off and the roughed up surface that vinegar should at least give me some results.

And to answer any questions as to why im using vinegar... well since this is just for shits and giggles at the time, id rather not bust out the HCL just yet.
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Unread 07-26-2008, 03:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

I've used White vinager to ''fume'' nickel parts.Just suspend the part over white vinager in a plastic bucket and you can get some very good results.
As usual ,results vary depending on the quality/specification of the nickel plate and exposure time.Also degrease parts thoroughly before ''fuming''.
I think this method is kinder to the environment than the acid/etchant option.
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Unread 07-26-2008, 03:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

hmm, well i may see how well it does with it being submerged for a while.. I have another pup cover that i could fume if i get the time.. Im thinking that a week should do something.. right? Or will a few days do the trick?

Either way this is just an experiment, i use EMG's so that cover wont ever go on my guitar..
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Unread 07-26-2008, 04:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

I've had results in hours rather than days, but as I said, different grades/specifications of nickel all react differently to vinager fuming and to
acid and Ferric chloride [etchant].All you can do is keep your eye on the
progress and stop when you've got a result.
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Unread 07-26-2008, 04:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

oh crap its been in there for 6 hours now and i wont be home till about 9 tonight.. oh well ill see how it looks by then. Thanks for your help single cut.
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Unread 07-27-2008, 01:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Well?
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Unread 07-27-2008, 02:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Came out looking pretty good.. It doesnt look 50 years old but it definitely looks older than it really is. I may do all of my hardware like this next time i change strings. Also fuming gives results very quickly especially on the exposed bronze area.. ( gotta try to not do that to my tail piece etc..)

Also for the rest of my hardware i would use at least 1500 grit sandpaper followed by 000 steel wool, this will prolly avoid the swirl marks that are visible in certain angles. Im going to leave it fuming for a couple of days to see how far this aging process can go..
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Unread 07-27-2008, 10:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

mix vinegar and water in a pot...steam and suspend your parts...works like a charm and takes less than 15 minutes.
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Unread 07-27-2008, 12:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

I just put them in a sealed Tupperware container and put it outside in the sun---steams it up pretty good.
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Unread 07-27-2008, 02:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

cool, but i have a question... The pup isnt really getting that gritty/hazy look from doing this. The finish is just slightly dulling more, would vinegar ever get it to look like the aged pup covers from bareknuckel pup's? sorry i dont have a pic but maybe ya'll know what i mean..

I know that the material was ORIGINALLY chrome, but i assume that with all of my prep work most of it was rubbed off, because in spots the brass is showing and im hoping the brass will rust or something over time..

Would i have to use HCL to get it to really get that relic look?
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Unread 07-27-2008, 03:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike60 View Post
mix vinegar and water in a pot...steam and suspend your parts...works like a charm and takes less than 15 minutes.
Gonna try that with my Pigtail ABR1 !!!!
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Unread 07-27-2008, 03:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

I've been trying all these methods with chrome, but they don't seem to work. I'm working on a relic'd tele, anybody have any idea what to do with my chrome stuff?
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Unread 07-27-2008, 03:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

i scuffed up my pup cover with high grit sandpaper to remove the chrome.. still not having awesome results.
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Unread 07-27-2008, 03:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBBO View Post
Gonna try that with my Pigtail ABR1 !!!!
Will you post a pic of your results? im not sure how much this is supposed to effect the hardware. Id like to see some pics of hardware that underwent this process
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Unread 07-27-2008, 03:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

any pics?
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Unread 07-27-2008, 03:55 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

no pics.. i dont have a before pic anyway. It just not as shiny and has a dull appearance. If i do the rest of my hardware i would use higher grades of paper so there would not be visible micro scratches. I think ill also try tumbling the hardware with some rock, nuts, and bolts to see if i can round out the edges slightly.

In all reality i dont need to have heavily aged hardware on my epi.. because i cant really do anything with that tough as nails poly paint job. I would love to make my epi looked like one of the "faded" Les Paul standards. But i doubt i can. Maybe micro mesh could achieve the affect.
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Unread 07-27-2008, 07:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBBO View Post
Gonna try that with my Pigtail ABR1 !!!!
...it works...just put the heat on real low...too much heat tends to turn the parts a bit blackish.
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Unread 08-10-2008, 06:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

galvanic bath is the way to go
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Unread 08-10-2008, 08:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Forgot to give results from my little experiment...

Well, it didn't go great, go figure, overall very little aging happened during my 4 day out in the sun "fuming" extravaganza. I think its just because epi hardware is crap plating. Odd thing is that it actually aged MORE after i just left it out in the room for a few days. It now looks kinda hazy and the exposed brass is purple and green. Looks damn near funky..

Tried the fuming on a old nickle tuner and it went great though.. I guess its just hard to take chrome off to age parts. So in summation, if you want to age your chrome parts save some time and go ahead and shell out the cash for some nickel hardware..
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Unread 08-10-2008, 08:05 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

double post
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Unread 08-11-2008, 11:15 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Iron chloride (used for etching) is pretty cheap, but it works like a charm. In just several seconds it can turn shiny nickel to this:













This is the hardware of my 2008 Tokai LS95. You gotta be carefull though, cause if the nickel is very thin and there's copper underneath, it will show in just a matter of second. I'd recommend mixing the iron chloride with water.

Last edited by alexvdl; 08-11-2008 at 04:16 PM.
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Unread 08-11-2008, 12:08 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Hmmm...
Maybe My Bigsby...
I like the look of worn metal.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 04:51 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

chrome is never gonna age like nickle, in my experience chrome is only defeatable by muriatic acid. Somewhere i read that concrete stain would also work, but i've never tried it. personally i dont like the look of reliced chrome. chrome is one of the most durable finishes ever invented. The only time I ever see real aged chrome it has been corroded. thats when you see that green like rust. ever notice that you see alot of that in old bathrooms. my guess is urine will make chrome corrode.

maybe someone could try submerging chrome into ammonia, or an ammonia salt mixture.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 04:53 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

I once had a tele with a bigsby and all gold hardware. i took a really abrasive metal polish that i cant remember the name of. it was green and smelled sour. and rubbed all the gold off and the hardware had a really cool nickel look to it.

anyone know what is under gold?
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Unread 08-13-2008, 05:01 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

nickel is under gold more than likely.

I scuffed up the chrome on my pup cover, so badly that i made it to the brass underneath the nickel in some areas. Most agree that HCL ( muriatic acid ) does very little to chrome, you need to get it off by scuffing or electrolysis to get to the nickel. What i found odd was that more aging occurred after the vinegar treatment. It looks nothing like the above pictures though, more like a slight aging.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 05:08 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

here are photos of the tele. wantsa58 i think you are right, and wikipedia also agrees with you.

fisheric - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

i really miss this guitar. it was a 1982 american tele with a red bobbin bridge pickup and just screamed. the neck was an all parts neck with a heavy flame on the top and back (it was a one piece)

when i first got it I couldnt get it to stay in tune. it was because of the bridge. someone told me to wrap them in electrical tape so i did. first i set the height exactly where i wanted it and then pushed them in. It was a force fit. and that guitar held tune better than any other i've owned.

i traded it for a mint 1972 twin reverb
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Unread 08-13-2008, 05:24 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

You can definitely overdo this stuff---I aged an 80's MIA Strat bridge some time back with HCL and it is now a non-adjustable model...
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Unread 11-19-2008, 06:40 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Hey All,
Is there any danger in 'fuming' tuners? Does it cause any damage to the inner workings of the gears?
Thanks!
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Unread 11-19-2008, 08:16 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

If you're looking for natural corrosion, a salt solution would work much better. If you could pass an electric current thrrough it, that would be even faster. Natural corrosion is an electro-chemical reaction and acid is not going to simulate it realistically.
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Unread 11-19-2008, 08:58 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: aging nickel with vinegar

Quote:
Originally Posted by wantsa58 View Post
Forgot to give results from my little experiment...

Well, it didn't go great, go figure, overall very little aging happened during my 4 day out in the sun "fuming" extravaganza. I think its just because epi hardware is crap plating. Odd thing is that it actually aged MORE after i just left it out in the room for a few days. It now looks kinda hazy and the exposed brass is purple and green. Looks damn near funky..

Tried the fuming on a old nickle tuner and it went great though.. I guess its just hard to take chrome off to age parts. So in summation, if you want to age your chrome parts save some time and go ahead and shell out the cash for some nickel hardware..
Chrome is a "clear" coating over nickle-> which is over copper. Use some fine sandpaper, Scotch-brite, lapping compound, or Beartex to just remove the chrome...(not the nickle or copper) ...it will then expose the nickle. Now fume it with vinegar or etchant, and rinse in cold water to stop the process and it should look pretty convincing.
I've even used a rock tumbler with med-fine compound to take off the chrome.
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