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I have some antique handplane lever caps I would like to retore back to their former glory. They are made of nickel plated cast iron. The plating pin holed and flaked in areas, creating rust spots.

I am planning on stripping the nickel using hydrochloric acid and electrolysis. I've heard that nickel has a much better affinity for copper than iron. Would it be a good idea to first plate the lever caps with copper and then plate them with nickel for a more durable finish? Any other suggestions for improving the quality if the finish?

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    $\begingroup$ Will you be doing the electroplating yourself? If so please take note that copper plating on iron/cast iron will require a special type of copper plating solution because the normal CuSO4 solution will not work, that is because Copper is more noble than Iron and it will form a flash coat of copper on iron/steel, but that coat is spongy and comes off real easy! $\endgroup$
    – Nicalandia
    Mar 5 '19 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ Can you tell us what is in the special solution? $\endgroup$
    – Luquettm
    Apr 4 '19 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ The standard technique is to copper plate then nickel ,then chromium, if you want chrome. The copper protects the steel then the nickel provides a silver surface color ,normally significantly thinner than the copper. $\endgroup$ Mar 25 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ @blacksmith37 Interesting.. I have thought eventual chromium goes directly after copper. Perhaps nickel forms foundation for more smooth and shiny final chromium layer? Or chromium sticks better to nickel than to copper? $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Aug 22 at 8:04

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