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#1 18-12-2015 11:40:56

Auchterlonie
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Registered: 19-10-2015
Posts: 37

NICKEL PLATING OF CLUB HEADS

Has anybody tried electroplating (nickel, chrome) of old club heads?
I have quite a few NON-COLLECTABLE "chromed" clubs where the chrome is either peeling or bubbling. I have been removing the chrome and then sanding/buffing the steel heads back to a smooth finish. Obviously the steel is not rust proof. See "molasses" topic photos for some of my attempts so far.
A neighbour of mine who restores antique motorcycles asked me recently if I had considered electroplating as a means of protecting the steel club heads. He has a nickel kit he purchased from Janes Electroplating kits for approx $300.
After doing a bit of reading I'm thinking about trying the "electroless nickel plating" kit from Caswell which uses a chemical method of depositing nickel. There are plenty of reviews on the internet that give great reviews.
Any thoughts?

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#2 18-12-2015 14:48:19

Pipdog
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Registered: 19-10-2015
Posts: 54

Re: NICKEL PLATING OF CLUB HEADS

I too was going to try electroplating, Ross, but I think there is an issue related to the (electrode - Anode or Cathode? - not the club head) SHAPE.  In an ideal case, the electrode should be the same shape as the (club head), and evenly spaced from it, to get an even coat of plating.  Not sure about the chemical method, but anything is worth a try.  Some of the kits seem to be over-priced.  Probably start off with a home-grown kit and go from there.........


Have a few clubs, mostly junk, but all playable.

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#3 18-12-2015 16:56:57

Auchterlonie
Putter
Registered: 19-10-2015
Posts: 37

Re: NICKEL PLATING OF CLUB HEADS

Hello Rob
The electroless method apparently overcomes the uneven distribution of nickel onto the surface of the object. The downside being that each volume of plating solution has a finite number of coatings. A $350 Caswell 9.5 L kit does between 1900sq cm and 3400 sq cm @ 0.0005".
Using the electroplating method once you have the solution all you need to replace is the nickel slugs that are used in the process. From what I understand to get decent results with the electroplating method you need as large a volume of solution as possible with the cathode at least 3-4" away from the anode to avoid the uneven buildup. Of course for a club head this would mean at least 10L of solution which is $385 from jane Kits. So either way you're looking at around the $400-$500 mark with other equipment needed.

The key with either method is apparently meticulous cleaning of the object to be plated

My neighbour bought the 4L jane nickel electroplating kit but he's only doing small bits and pieces from his bikes. He hasn't used it yet and I was going to wait and see his results before deciding on which way to go but he selfishly is not working to my timetable.
I think I might ask santa for the electroless kit, it gets some good reviews from users and is simpler to set up and do and 9.5L kit would certainly do quite a few club heads. I hope there isn't a problem carrying chemicals in the sleigh!
Cheers
Ross

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#4 18-12-2015 19:20:02

SFBUM
Putter
From: Chipping Norton NSW
Registered: 19-10-2015
Posts: 51
Website

Re: NICKEL PLATING OF CLUB HEADS

Ross,

I can't say that this is anything that had crossed my mind . . . until maybe now for play clubs.

You need to think outside the square.

If your neighbor hasn't used his kit yet, suggest that he test it out on a couple of your cheap club heads rather than his expensive and sometimes irreplaceable vintage motorcycle bits. :-)

There was a bloke on eBay a little while ago selling clubs that he polished so they looked a million dollars. I missed out on a couple of Arthur East clubs, and he resold them a couple of weeks later refinished. You would have struggled to recognize them as the same clubs. Tony Doggett went and visited him, and they had a long chat.


Gone golfing - be back at dark thirty.

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#5 18-12-2015 21:16:34

Auchterlonie
Putter
Registered: 19-10-2015
Posts: 37

Re: NICKEL PLATING OF CLUB HEADS

Steve
For a set of play clubs it will work a treat and protect them against rusting.
From what I've read the secret is all in the preparation, spend the time sanding, cleaning and polishing and the actual plating part is a walk in the park. The benefit of proper electroplating for anybody looking to get into club restoration (that I didn't mention earlier) is the ability to use copper plating first as a type of filler to remove dents pitting etc. You can mask the areas such as cleek marks but fill unwanted rust damage. You build up the layers of copper and sand in between to achieve the finish you're after. When you're happy you then proceed with the nickel plating. The copper is only done by the normal electroplating so you'd would do both using normal electroplating. They sell the kits with the extra metals for only slightly more so adding copper or other metals such as cobalt is not a bad idea.
I was only going to try it on clubs that were in good reasonably good condition and didn't need much more than sanding and polishing to get rid of any blemishes or minor damage before plating, wasn't keen to get into the complete repair situation as they do in car restoration. I'd love to give it a go but realistically I just don't have the time. The set of Nicoll irons I have with peeling chrome will be perfect for this.

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