Aged Parts the Easy Way with Chef Chris

calieng

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2,316
There was a discussion a while back about aging nickel parts. I did some pickups today and took a few photos to show the process.

You need contained air space (zip lock bag, pyrex etc depending on part size), large swab, muriatic acid.

CAUTION: wear eye protection and gloves. Do not attempt at home if you suspect you may not be very good at handling strong acid.

And no this does not damage pickups.



Here we go baking with Chris.....


Place parts in container (glass or most types of plastic)

IMG_3946.JPG



Get some large swabs (guns are bad m'kay)


IMG_3948.JPG



Swabs look like this m'kay


IMG_3949.JPG



Get some muriatic acid (acid is bad m'kay)


IMG_3950.JPG


Soak the tip of the swab in the acid (don't splash your face m'kay)


IMG_3951.JPG



Put swab in with parts WITHOUT touching the swab to the parts. Leave a little air space m'kay


IMG_3953.JPG



Close the lid an monitor the progress. About 30 minutes for larger parts.


IMG_3954.JPG



Open lid when done but DO NOT put your face near the parts. The acid vapors are strong. Let them dissapate for a few minutes m'kay


IMG_3956.JPG



Enjoy your aged part!


IMG_3959.JPG
 

cmjohnson

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
2,926
Reaction score
2,545
Guns are good. What are you talking about?

It's not the gun, it's the idiot holding it that you have to worry about.

As for your method....I'm actually looking for a way to restore the shine to dulled nickel plated parts that doesn't involve a buffer.

You'd also be MUCH better off to REMOVE the pickup covers from the pickups before applying this treatment!

Acid treating your pickups (even exposing them to the vapors) can't possibly be good for them. I'd expect rapid pickup failure
due to acid attacking the insulation on the windings. And attacking the alnico magnets as well.
 

calieng

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2,316
Guns are good. What are you talking about?

It's not the gun, it's the idiot holding it that you have to worry about.

As for your method....I'm actually looking for a way to restore the shine to dulled nickel plated parts that doesn't involve a buffer.

You'd also be MUCH better off to REMOVE the pickup covers from the pickups before applying this treatment!

Acid treating your pickups (even exposing them to the vapors) can't possibly be good for them. I'd expect rapid pickup failure
due to acid attacking the insulation on the windings. And attacking the alnico magnets as well.

No the acid vapour is such a small amount it does not harm the pickups and I have been doing this for more than 10 years. Have not lost a pickup yet. I doubt it even penetrates under the pickup cover as there is no air circulation within the container. The enamel on the pickup wire also does not react with the vapor.

I am sure you can imagine some newbie overheating a pickup with a soldering gun and trying to pry the cover off with a screwdriver. That actualy does cause damage. I have a hell of a time getting covers off myself after many times having done it.

But for those with any concerns the method is still a very safe and easy way to age bridges and tailpieces etc.

P.S, I have a FFL03 and a larger gun collection than my guitar collection. I was just joking....nobody on here seems to understand my sense of humor.....must be a bad internet connection or something?
 

zeneffect

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
730
Reaction score
841
I've done this with much safer white vinegar. I keep my swabs and patches for my guns though. A capful sitting next to it works, or a cotton ball.
 

cmjohnson

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
2,926
Reaction score
2,545
Humor (and sarcasm, too) can be difficult to determine when it's just words on a forum page. I've learned that lesson, and it has sometimes been a hard lesson.

On the few times I've had to remove a cover from a pickup, it's never taken long or been difficult. I would as a matter of routine remove the pickup from the cover if attempting any chemical treatment of the cover. I suffer from an overabundance of caution in that respect.
 

Roxy13

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
12,082
Reaction score
30,356
I've also always removed the covers, but I'm also paranoid about pickups.
 

calieng

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2,316
So just curious - what has been the best way to get the covers off? Are you wicking away the solder with a copper braid or cutting the solder with a dremel or what? You also mess up the wax potting usually when you take the covers off (if they are potted).

I know my method is safe with pickups from years of use but anyone who is concerned then I understand not wanting to do it. I do think it is a better method than suspending parts over a dish of acid though for many reasons like safety and having to dispose of all that acid after. So give it a try for a bridge or tailpiece sometime.

Thanks.
 

CB91710

Not Michael Sankar
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
11,156
Reaction score
25,668
Do not attempt at home if you suspect you may not be very good at handling strong acid.
So... do it at my friend's house? :rofl:
 

CB91710

Not Michael Sankar
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
11,156
Reaction score
25,668
So just curious - what has been the best way to get the covers off? Are you wicking away the solder with a copper braid or cutting the solder with a dremel or what? You also mess up the wax potting usually when you take the covers off (if they are potted).

I know my method is safe with pickups from years of use but anyone who is concerned then I understand not wanting to do it. I do think it is a better method than suspending parts over a dish of acid though for many reasons like safety and having to dispose of all that acid after. So give it a try for a bridge or tailpiece sometime.

Thanks.
Braid, or a solder sucker, and "pop" the connection carefully using a razor blade.
Yes, you do have to be careful and can damage the coils. I would not mess with vintage or particularly valuable pickups... I'd send them to someone who does this stuff for a living like James @cooljuk and know it will be safe.
 

GitFiddle

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Messages
11,163
Reaction score
14,158
So just curious - what has been the best way to get the covers off? Are you wicking away the solder with a copper braid or cutting the solder with a dremel or what? You also mess up the wax potting usually when you take the covers off (if they are potted).

I know my method is safe with pickups from years of use but anyone who is concerned then I understand not wanting to do it. I do think it is a better method than suspending parts over a dish of acid though for many reasons like safety and having to dispose of all that acid after. So give it a try for a bridge or tailpiece sometime.

Thanks.
The simplest way to remove pickup covers is to put a fresh blade in a utility knife and simply slice right through the two solder blobs. Cuts very easy and makes it very easy to heat the blobs up when re-attaching.
 

truckermde

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2012
Messages
18,028
Reaction score
23,420
The simplest way to remove pickup covers is to put a fresh blade in a utility knife and simply slice right through the two solder blobs. Cuts very easy and makes it very easy to heat the blobs up when re-attaching.
+1 on that :thumb:
 

truckermde

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2012
Messages
18,028
Reaction score
23,420
Nice. Those turned out really well. :thumb:

I've done mine with vinegar, too, when I have a reason, but I like how quickly this way takes care of it.

Takes quite a while with vinegar.

I guess my problem with it is that I don't have Muriatic acid on-hand, and this is something I rarely do.

I still may try it, though. I've been wanting to knock down the shine on my bridge & tailpiece the next time I restring. We'll see. I'm ridiculously over-booked right now...

Thanks for posting.

:cheers2:
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
17,580
Reaction score
26,598
The simplest way to remove pickup covers is to put a fresh blade in a utility knife and simply slice right through the two solder blobs. Cuts very easy and makes it very easy to heat the blobs up when re-attaching.

Gotta be careful, with that method.

First, that you angle the tip of the blade away from the coil and towards the inside of the cover. Otherwise, you might just slice into the coil when the solder gives and the blade jumps.

Second, that you cut very close to the cover and remove it such a way that it doesn't scrape against the coil inside.

I've repaired many pickups because someone killed a coil taking off a cover, often in that way.

Here's one that was damaged from the sharp edge of the solder on the cover scraping against the coil. It even damaged the top of the bobbin in the same way. You can see where the damage is between the D and G screws on the outside of the bobbin.

i.php
 

calieng

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2,316
Nice. Those turned out really well. :thumb:

I've done mine with vinegar, too, when I have a reason, but I like how quickly this way takes care of it.

Takes quite a while with vinegar.

I guess my problem with it is that I don't have Muriatic acid on-hand, and this is something I rarely do.

I still may try it, though. I've been wanting to knock down the shine on my bridge & tailpiece the next time I restring. We'll see. I'm ridiculously over-booked right now...

Thanks for posting.

:cheers2:

Muriatic acid came from Home Depot so I assume you can find it if needed. Certain pool chemicals work too but often are more dilute. Check for the correct ingredient (HCl).

So it seems from my past trials at least, that HCl (muriatic) is what works best for oxidizing nickel compared to CH3COOH (vinegar) which left a black residue and H2SO4 (sulphuric) which has the stinky sulfur byproduct.

Cheers.
 

CB91710

Not Michael Sankar
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
11,156
Reaction score
25,668
Gotta be careful, with that method.

First, that you angle the tip of the blade away from the coil and towards the inside of the cover. Otherwise, you might just slice into the coil when the solder gives and the blade jumps.

Second, that you cut very close to the cover and remove it such a way that it doesn't scrape against the coil inside.

I've repaired many pickups because someone killed a coil taking off a cover, often in that way.

Here's one that was damaged from the sharp edge of the solder on the cover scraping against the coil. It even damaged the top of the bobbin in the same way. You can see where the damage is between the D and G screws on the outside of the bobbin.

i.php
Please tell me you put all of that Mojo in a jar for installation into Rewind pickups :D
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
17,580
Reaction score
26,598
Please tell me you put all of that Mojo in a jar for installation into Rewind pickups :D

Ha! You should see the inside! Amazing that it wasn’t “general crustiness” which killed it, right?
 

calieng

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2,316
Installed pics in my 2018 Brazilian '59. Decided to put original equipment back in it even thought the Wizz sounded great.

Matched up a set from the 6 I aged with a 8.12 bridge and 8.07 neck. (often I find factory Custombuckers have a hotter neck for some reason).

I really like the result. Also aged the bridge as well.


IMG_3971.JPG


IMG_3972.JPG
 

Latest Threads



Top