Tutorial Replating a 40's SuperSpeed

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Draftetdan, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    I recently had the need to purchase a replacement double edge because I left my previous one in a hotel in another state (far, far away). I really, really like the way the Gillette DE's shave so I kinda knew what I was looking for. I happened upon a 40's Super Speed with no date code for $8 dollars. It shaves very well but it is definitely a "high mileage" tool. The TTO knob had no finish: pure brass. The head also has a lot of exposed brass. Luckily, mechanically, it is perfectly functional except for the (not uncommon) "TTO drop " problem The shave, to me, is the important part, not necessarily the looks. But, because I didn't buy this for a collection or for any antique value, I have no problem attempting to make it look better. So... this posting is my journey through the land of electroplating. Don't judge me, I barely know what I'm doing. I've done a little bit of reading and a little bit of trial and error. I'll try to document everything I do as well a take a bunch of pictures. Everyone is welcome to come along for the ride.
     

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  2. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    Lot easier to just pick up one that is in good shape. Very common razor. But I also understand the fun of do it yourself stuff. I will be following along to see how it turns out!
     
  3. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    i will follow along. i have a couple of old techs i would like to replate...
     
  4. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    The first thing I needed to do is to disassemble the SS as much as I could. I've seen bits of information in a lot of places but, not everything in one place. Specifically, there is a screw in the bottom of the handle that keeps the bits form falling apart. I don't know the size (thread pitch) but I did learn that it is reverse threaded AND requires a unique tool to remove it. I've attached a photo of the screw head as well a sketch with some rough dimensions. The screw head has 4 non-connecting slots (kind of like an inverted Phillips head). I carved an old craftsman flat-head screwdriver down with a Dremel until I could get it to work in 2 slots ( I wasn't going to try to make a 4-point tool) . The shaft (at least the 1st half inch or so) needs to be trimmed down to about .220" (about 5.5mm) in order to fit into the TTO knob. Hopefully, the diagram will help you adventurous souls get a good head start. The screw came out with very little trouble. Because my TTO knob was not seated in the embossed internal groove, once I unscrewed it, it came out easily, too. I'll need to address this issue when I reassemble. (The knob unscrews from the shaft that articulates the head (inside the handle)). This is where I had to stop. The door assembly on the top moves freely but is unable to be removed completely because of 4 tiny tabs on the bottom (I've got a pic of this, too). They penetrate the lower frame/deck and are bent outward in such a way that it keeps the parts from falling out. I'm not willing to try bending these. I'm afraid that they would snap off before I got them bent back. So... the best I can willingly disassemble is into 3 pieces. Because my TTO knob had zero finish remaining, this is the only part I really wanted to remove anyway.
    Next is cleaning the bits and creating the Nickel Acetate.
    Check out the pics. See if there is anything useful for you.
     

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  5. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Are you doing it as electro or chemical plating?
     
  6. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    I did a lot of internet surfing in an effort to learn if this was something that was even possible in a home environment. Turns out... it's much easier, maybe I should say less complicated, than I thought. What is needed is vinegar, salt, pure nickel, and a low voltage DC power source. Vinegar is easy: distilled white vinegar, available everywhere for a buck or two. Salt, also easy to get. The salt, according to the internet, is only present to increase the conductivity of the vinegar. Because I've tried this already when you weren't looking, 1 pint of vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of salt works well. I'm sure that there are more accurate recipes out there but this worked for me. Many web sites recommend using a cellphone charger as the power source. It's DC, 5 volts and readily available and many people have had great success using them. I chose to use a variable benchtop power supply because 1: it's variable and 2: I had one in my inventory. The last thing on the list is nickel, pure nickel. How hard could that be. Back to the internet. US 5 cent piece? No...only 25% nickel. Welding rods for cast iron have a pure nickel core...nope... gotta buy 10 rods, $30...nope. Premium Ernie Ball guitar strings are pure... well darn, the local music store only has plated strings. Well, pre '82 Canadian 5 cent pieces are pure nickel...damn,...not in Canada. Last resort....Amazon....SCORE. $8 for a 1x6 inch plate.
    All is present.
    Wow... it's late. Tune in later for a continuation and more pics.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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  7. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    Electroplating.
     
  8. CarlfromMO

    CarlfromMO Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread. I will be watching your progress.
     
  9. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    My only suggestion would be to practice on some brass pipe fittings before you do the actual work. Figure out how to buff the metal if you want a mirror finish before plating for example. Without knowing for sure but knowing it is used for water pipes try to get a red brass alloy which is most likely what the Gillette razors are made of.
     
  10. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    Absolutely, BBS. I always take baby steps and usually try to make sure I can undo my last step. Of course, once the "dip" happens, it's a LOT harder to back track. I surely appreciate your "heads-up". There are sure to be several sacrificial donors before I commit.
     
  11. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    OK, back to the story. We've got a jar of vinegar with salt in it. To turn this into the nickel acetate that we need for plating we need to saturate it with nickel. It is necessary to connect both electrodes of whatever power supply you have chosen to 2 pieces of the pure nickel. My power supply has 2 leads with alligator clips. If you choose to use a cell phone charger or something similar you will need to cut the end off, strip the wires and attach some mechanism to allow you to connect them to the nickle (paper clips, binder clip...or similar). The internal conductive wires of the positive and negative leads must touch the nickel. Next, place the 2 pieces of nickel into the vinegar on opposite sides of the jar. Do not submerge them so deeply that the copper wires and/or steel clips enter the solution. Apparently this will contaminate the solution in such a way as to cause dull or textured plating. I used rubberband around the top of the jar to keep the leads from slipping in. Additionally, once power is applied, you don't want the two to touch, another good reason to secure them. Next, apply the electricity. Plug it in, turn it on, connect the wire... what you need to do to "energize" the circuit. Within a few seconds you should see bubbles forming around the nickel piece connected to the negative lead. The higher the voltage, the more vigorous the bubbling. Likewise, the higher the voltage, the quicker the the vinegar will become nickel acetate. As this occurs the solution will turn green. I let my batch brew for about 3 hours. I got a light green solution. The next night I added another 3 hour and had jar of nice emerald green magic. This is your goal. Similar in color to Superman's crystal that he used to great his fortress of solitude (christopher reeves 1978). This elixir , and electricity, is what will be used for the plating process.
    Now the disclaimer. This stuff is not harmless. It is an irritant, especially in the eyes. It is poisonous if ingested. But, it won't melt your face or dessolve your lungs just by being near it. Use normal safety procedures like gloves and glasses while working with the stuff. I read that one of the byproducts is hydrogen so, don't do this on the stove or while smoking. Be careful and be safe and all will go well.
    Tune in later for more. Next is to clean ,polish, and clean again.
     

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  12. twhite

    twhite Peeping Tom

    Subscribed!
    Awesome writeup so far.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  13. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    Thanks, Tom. I'm hoping that readers can apply some of this to their projects OR that they enjoy the the story (like the old serial western but with less cliff-hanghers). I know it's an adventure on my end. Thanks for taking the time to say so. I hope to not disappoint.
     
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  14. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    This kind of thread is why I love this place!
     
  15. twhite

    twhite Peeping Tom

    If it works out. I may have to try it.


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  16. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Moderator
    Thank you @Draftetdan for giving details of the process, cautions and warnings, and photos! This kind of tutorial tends to find itself "Stickied" - receiving a priority label that keeps it on the top of a list of threads.

    I have a question about materials.
    Not sure about new coinage, but are old nickles made of nickle? If not, where do you get yours?
     
  17. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    This is great.
     
  18. Draftetdan

    Draftetdan Active Member

    Ryx, according to the interweb, the current US 5 cent nickel is 25%/75% nickel/copper. Seems to have been that way since 1866. Except, apparently, around the time of WWII the US mint made no-nickel Nickels due to the metal shortage. But, that didn't last long. Otherwise, I'm unaware of any US coin that was ever minted with 100% pure nickel. I have to add that I know almost nothing about currency. I'm sure there are others here that will gladly fill in the blanks.
     
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  19. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Moderator
    A quick easy google search reveals Amazon sells a 1/3 ounce 1" X 6" Pure Nickel plating anode for US$9.04. That ought to do several razors.
     
  20. AGHisBBS

    AGHisBBS Well-Known Member

    Pre-1981 Canadian nickels are 99.9% nickel.
     
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