aging nickel with vinegar

Discussion in 'The Custom Shop' started by wantsa58, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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.
     
  2. single cut 54

    single cut 54 V.I.P. Member

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    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.
     
  3. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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..
     
  4. single cut 54

    single cut 54 V.I.P. Member

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    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.
     
  5. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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.
     
  6. Dino

    Dino Senior Member

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    Well? :hmm:
     
  7. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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..
     
  8. Mike60

    Mike60 V.I.P. Member

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    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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  9. ES350

    ES350 Senior Member

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    I just put them in a sealed Tupperware container and put it outside in the sun---steams it up pretty good.
     
  10. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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?
     
  11. BOBBO

    BOBBO Banned

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    Gonna try that with my Pigtail ABR1 !!!!
     
  12. Skynyrdpicker

    Skynyrdpicker Senior Member

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    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?
     
  13. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    i scuffed up my pup cover with high grit sandpaper to remove the chrome.. still not having awesome results.
     
  14. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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 :D
     
  15. Skynyrdpicker

    Skynyrdpicker Senior Member

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  16. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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. :hmm:
     
  17. Mike60

    Mike60 V.I.P. Member

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    ...it works...just put the heat on real low...too much heat tends to turn the parts a bit blackish.
     
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  18. maicolp

    maicolp Senior Member

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    galvanic bath is the way to go
     
  19. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    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..
     
  20. wantsa58

    wantsa58 Senior Member

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    double post
     

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