how to remove silver plate from copper?

Discussion in 'The Break Room' started by werowance, Sep 16, 2019.

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  1. Sep 16, 2019 #1

    werowance

    werowance

    werowance

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    Hi, was visiting my mom this weekend and she has an old serving tray that almost all of the silver plate is gone and she would like to remove what little is left so she can polish it up for a nice copper serving tray.
    problem is there is an etched or carved pattern in the copper and I think steel wool may damage it some what. so I was wondering if there was a cheap chemical way to remove the silver and preserve the copper?
    something that's not over the top to do. we have tried vinegar and lemon juice and it didn't phase it. I do have ferric chloride at my disposal but afraid that to will eat the copper quickly.

    thanks.
     
  2. Sep 16, 2019 #2

    WOB

    WOB

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    The simple way is to take it to a plating shop and they will strip it in a reverse plating bath. The only other way involves strong acids that are hard to obtain and must be handled with great care. Google it for various procedures.

    WOB
     
  3. Sep 17, 2019 #3

    blanik

    blanik

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    werowance

    I have had a good bit of success re-plating and repairing the existing plating, on old silver plated items (mainly decorative plates, tea pots, cuttlery, etc). Caswell Plating https://www.caswellplating.com/ (or if you're in Australia - https://www.caswellplating.com.au/) sell various silver plating kits and chemicals. It is an electrolytic process where you use a 'brush' as one electrode. Caswell have the correct chemicals (in economical small quantities) if you do need to strip the old plating off because the old plating is flaking off. If the old plating is simply worn off, there's usually no need to strip the old plating.

    Check out this link - https://www.caswellplating.com/plug-n-plater-silver-plating-kit.html - which explains how Caswells brush on silver plating system works. Lots of how to videos on the Caswell site as well.

    CAUTION: The only failure I've had using Caswell's Silver Plating kit occurred because I failed to clean the item well enough. You have to follow Caswell's instructions (especially the cleaning instructions) very accurately! The good news is that if you have a failure where the plating fails to take for some reason, you can easily strip the area, re-clean, and go again.

    To give the item some real 'bling' - you could strip off the old silver plating, and use Caswell's brush on gold plating kit. It's similarly priced to the silver kit. You'd need to review Caswell's instructions - but from memory, I think that if you have a copper base, you need to pre-plate the copper with Caswell's brush on nickle plate, and then plate with gold over the nickle layer.

    I hope that info is useful.

    Regards,

    RoyG
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  4. Sep 17, 2019 #4

    BaronJ

    BaronJ

    BaronJ

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    Hi Guys,

    Its a pitty that the old black and white photography stuff is now so rare ! The Sodium Hypochlorate (Bleach) used to fix the negatives was full of silver after use, so much so that there were firms that would buy it from you in order to recover the silver.

    In the past I've used electrolysis to plate radio coils using waste Hypo ! I actually threw out a plastic bottle where the silver had sunk to the bottom over the years and plated the plastic.

    I used a fine brass brush and a car battery at the time. You could see the silver plating the copper tube that I used for the coils. I've also used the same method to plate printed circuit boards.
     

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