Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Draftetdan, Sep 16, 2018.
Beautiful work @Draftetdan! Take your time on the write up of all the steps needed to do the entire process. I'll get the application going with the "Please PIN this thread so folks can find it easily" Committee. No big money off the table for those guys that do this professionally, but for a minimum investment with many components found around the house, this is a WIN!
Thanks, Ryx. You are right, this was not expensive, for me. I've got about 30 hours of "play time" invested in this that I didn't have to pay for. I only had to pay for the nickel source and that was only $8. It's the grinding and sanding and polishing and buffing and rinsing, and scrubbing and rinsing again that is the time consuming and expensive part if someone else is doing if for you.
On a side note: one of the original concerns about sharing this journey was if I would get a backlash from the "purists" that felt that this would detract from the value of the tool. I gave up worrying when I did the math. How much value could an $8 used razor loose? Really? These things are like VW beetles and and Micheal Jackson "Thriller" albums: the planet is littered with them.
and everyone had one. Not really a rare gem.
Now you can work on your other Gillettes, like your bottom dial adjustable, toggle and double ring.
Just like an old house or an old car... it'll never be finished
Agreed in that we aren't talking about New In Box, New Old Stock, or plating for the purposes of perpetrating for resale. This information is presented for the Hobbyist who would like to try their hand at restoring a worn vintage razor to a somewhat original look for their own amusement and use.
These 50+ year old Gillette DE's can be picked up for less than $10.00US knowing they are brassy. I'm assuming the kit you've put together will replate several more until the consumable portions are used up. Not a money making enterprise you've illustrated since the honest ebay merchant would tell upfront that's it's not the original finish. Could be some profit in it, but for that you'd need to invest in professional equipment and pay yourself for the time involved. Opps, there went that profit.
and the pricing somewhat reflects it..
The replacement water pump for my decades old Kenmore Heavy Duty Model 70 washing machine cost me $40.00 plus tax. It's a Lifetime Warrantied part! Knowing a bit about auto water pumps I charged in nearly blind. OK, I watched a YouTube video then disassembled, took a short ride to the parts house, replaced the worn component, & reassembled the machine. Test load is running now. Like the plating process, I cleaned every component while I had the machine broken down. There are crevices in a washer that collect grunge.
I should go back and reread this thread.
A nickel plated washer would be cool.
very cool..volvo 240s had a lifetime warranty for their rear exhaust components. still honored to this day . the last 240 rolled off the line in 1993..
I couldn't grow a "good" beard if you paid me. It'll be kinda hard to swing more razors into the budget. But... if I'm learning a new skill, isn't that an educational expense? It makes me "marketable".
We now return to our regularly scheduled program....
The doors and the corner of this gem have seen better days. The plating was mostly gone and some heavy scratching and pitting was present. I knew it would take a lot of work to smooth the surface enough to get below the scratches. I have nothing but time and learned long ago "slow and steady wins the race" so... slow and steady it will be. I considered starting with a 400 grit wet sanding but I thought that that might be too aggressive. Not that I wouldn't be able to polish the marks away but, I didn't want to work so swiftly that I removed too much metal too quickly and couldn't return. I certainly didn't want to drastically change the shape of the doors or round the edges too much. I decided on 600 grit, which was perfect. I used warm soapy water with the wet/dry paper and used a small sheet of plate glass for a work surface. I wanted to be sure that every sanding stroke I took was in contact with the full width of the doors. I didn't think that I could maintain consistently parallel strokes by hand only. I place the paper on the glass and moved the razor across the paper rather than the paper across the razor. I spent probably 10 minutes just working on the curvature of the doors, making sure that every stroke didn't leave any flat spots. Next I used the same piece of paper folded and wrapped around a 3/8" square oak stick to address all of the perpendicular edges. The tops and bottoms of the doors, the bottoms of the "combs", and any other flat edges that I thought needed to be "dressed". I chose this "stick" because it has very square corners and very flat faces. Again, make sure (or trying to) that the sanding surface remains in full contact with the entire surface through the full stroke. Once all of the deep scratches were gone and nothing remained but the marks that the 600 grit had made, I moved on to 1200 grit. This paper is so fine that it feel like it is doing almost nothing. If you've never handled 1200 grit, its about as course as notebook paper. Add soapy water to it and it feels useless. But, "slow and steady" work and you'll see a polished surface emerge rather quickly. I used the same slow consistent strokes as I did with the 600 grit. Then followed that with the wrapped stick as before but, with the 1200. Finally, once I was happy with the results, I used the 1200 paper to brush all of the corner and edges. All I was trying to do with this step is to break any sharp corners that I may have created and as well as knock of any burrs. This is the only time that I used the paper in my bare hand: this time I needed the "softness" of my flesh to round the corners rather than the hard edge of the glass or wood. A good washing and drying and then it was out to the yard to attack it with the Dremel.
The Dremel kit came with several polishing pads as well as a small canister of polishing rouge so nothing else had to be purchased. I started with a cotton/felt disk that was probably about 1" in diameter. A liberal application of rouge and medium speed of the disk made quick work of the large surfaces. As before, I was careful to not create any flat spots so I made sure that the disk was ALWAYS moving. Next I switched over to a small chubby polishing head that was about the size of a long pencil eraser. I used it to get to the inside surfaces of the doors, the contours of the blade tray (top and bottom), the linkage parts and the top of the handle (where it joins the head). I made the mistake of buffing the knurled portion of the handle. All that did was clog up the grooves with black muck that required the wire brush to remove. Then... back to the kitchen sink for another scrubbing. Finally, I broke out the Brasso polish. This put an awesome shine on the razor and was the last time I had to rub anything. (By the way, the smell of the Brasso and the shine of the brass took me back to being 13 years old and shining up my Boy Scout belt buckle and skill awards so they would shine nice and pretty for the Christmas parade. Maybe its just me... )
Attached are a few pic of the post-polishing results. As RyX stated, they are "brassy". I didn't try to remove all of the nickel because nickel plate likes to stick to copper, brass and nickel.
I'll end things here for now. The next installment will be the plating process. I'll be helping Dad with a few projects so it'll probably be next week before I can continue. Until then... enjoy the pics. Additionally, thanks, everyone for the kind words and "likes" so far. I'm glad my enthusiasm is shared and/or contagious.
I don't know why it duplicated several of my pics. I probably did something wrong. It does "look" like an exciting post even though its only 4 pictures.
awesome stuff..my picky ness wouldn t let me by brassy razors, so i always paid more.with this skill you can buy more worn but great working rare razors and plate them. great thread. thank you.hope you plate more and post them ..
Thanks,Brit. This home-brew plating sure gets you in cheap but, it's a LOT of time. I'm not sure if I'm feeding a hobby or an addiction. If do this again i will certainly share.
hobby or addiction, its an accomplishment that many including myself have not tried...bravo..
Now it's time to wrap things up. The nickel acetate is ready and the razor is polished. Pretty simple from here. Clean, clean, clean, rinse, rinse, rinse the razor. The solution is waiting. I've got one piece of nickel attached to the positive connector of the pwr supply and secured to the side of the mason jar. It's worth mentioning that I used a mason jar because the glass is inert. I've seen several internet videos that show plating happening in plastic "tupperware-like" container. I don't think that the solution will in anyway damage the plastic but, I was I wasn't interested in research the reactions with different materials but, I knew glass would be just fine. So, next I attached the negative lead to the knob of the razor. Based on the exercises performed on pennies, it seems that the smoother and brighter finishes occur with lower voltage. I set my pwr supply on the lowest setting which was 3 volts DC. With everything connected and turned on, I lower the razor into the solutions and slowly "swished" it around. It immediately started bubbling. The low voltage created very fine bubbles. The "plating" didn't happen as fast as I would have liked but I knew it would be a slow process. After about 5 minutes silver started overtaking the brass. I continued for about 30 minutes dunking and swishing. The whole time I continued to tilt and turn the razor. I opened and closed the doors as well. I noticed that the finish quality was poor in areas that the bubbles were forming so I tried to keep large areas of bubbles from forming on the large smooth surfaces. I also lightly tapped the razor on the jar to dislodge the tenacious bubbles. I probably could have stopped far sooner that 30 minutes but, I didn't think extra nickel would be a problem. You'll notice that some of the photos are lit from the front and some are from the back. I did this intentionally so as to highlight the concentration of bubbles. Backlit seemed to show them better, front lit showed the bright nickel better. Straight out of the solution (when I stopped the plating the process) the finish was not as stunning as I would have like: very nice but, I wanted better. I again washed thoroughly and rinsed well. I then buffed it lightly with the Dremel and a final shine with the Brasso. And that's it. All done.
I'm happy beyond words. This was an exhilarating process and leaning curve. Not only did I take an almost useless razor and make it functional but, also brought back it's original "handsomeness".
Very handsome finish @Draftetdan! Amazing what being handy and giving it a try can do right in your own kitchen.
you are right, Ryx. I had nothing to loose so, why not give it a try. This time it was the journey that was important and no so much the destination.
Someone else showed a simple tool for screw removal, they took one of the black clips with the metal tabs on it and took tab from one side and bent tab and made a quick removal tool
Not a lot of activity here, but I'm curious how the replating held up.
You have to de-soil and activate the surface or the plating will tend to blister and peel. The parts of the razor that were polished would be active but not de-soiled (clean of solvents and polish), but the rest of the surfaces would not be active (free from oxides). Depending on what's contaminating the surface you may end up with an splotchy, uneven surface or a perfectly shiny surface that blisters and peels quickly.
After polishing, I like to clean the razor in a boiling solution of distilled water (300 mL), ammonia (200 mL), dish soap (1 tbsp), and tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) (2-3 tbsp) for about 10 min. This bath takes off everything and I've even starting cleaning razors with this solution before doing anything else. It takes off all the soap scum, grime, and what ever gross stuff has collected on these razors for years. It will also remove all the paint and powder coating so be aware before cleaning something you don't intend to completely strip. It does not remove the plating.
Once de-soiled, you need to activate. Nickel is activated best in 15% sulfuric acid (soak for 1 min), but I usually use a 15% muriatic acid (soak for 2-3 minutes). You can buy muriatic acid at Home Depot. Sulfuric Acid (Battery Acid) is available at most auto-parts stores but needs to be cut 50/50 with distilled water. Be sure you add the acid to the water and not the other way around.
Add these two steps before plating and you'll get much better results. It does seem a little strange to plate in vinegar based nickel acetate after activating the surface in HCL, but that's a subject for another day.
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