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Electoplating wood. CHEMISTRY QUESTIONS! Answered

Hello guys, Thanks alot for reading. I don't know much about chemistry outside of my one high school class. We electroplated a penny.

I have a 1.5ish square-foot piece of wood, and i am wanting to CHROME IT.... chrome paint kits cost hundreds of dollars, and i've before seen chrome-plated wood.. and i want to replicate the results.


I'm looking for a cost effective alternative to expensive chrome kits (+300 dollars for a pint)
In theory.... my method would involve somehow plating the guitar with some sort of metallic based paint, then submerging it in a chrome bath.
Is there a metal chemical that can somehow be applied evenly to the entire surface of the wood? (i.e. paint?)
What, and how much of the specific chemicals do i need, and where can i find them?

I really want this to be mirrored.

Thanks so much for your responses to my problem:P



11 years ago

Start here, the info you need to start with is 'tward the bottom. There is a HUGE number of questions answered elsewhere on the site about finishing.

There's a Yahoo group about electroplating at home or as a business.

MirraChrome is a paint that is supposed to be close (98%) to chrome, but only slightly cheaper at $80 for a 4 oz bottle of paint.

One thing to remember in any plating, the surface you start with is what you end up with, polishing is everything because the plating is so thin. The same with the MirraChrome, every imperfection is going to be obvious. You will see every dent, wavy edge, scratch and imperfect curve,


11 years ago

Do you have any more information about chrome powder-coating? I understand that there are services that will do it for me, I really am a DIY kinda guy... and a broke college student :P. Is it possible to create such a mirrored effect with electroplating?


Reply 11 years ago

The way they use powdered coatings is with a special spray gun which has an adjustable electrostatic corona charge of between 10,000-90,000 volts with a negative ion orientation. This is similar to the way dust sticks to your television screen, except that it is supercharged so the dust (in this case, the powder), will stick to the parts.

At this link is a list of places that do it, but I have no knowledge about any of them pricewise or reputationwise....


11 years ago

If you want a mirrored effect, why are you starting with wood? Why not start with a piece of metal that you could polish / electroplate / polish repeatedly to get the finish you want?


11 years ago

1) I don't think a company called "east coast powder coating" is achieving their results by electroplating. "powder coating" is something different (and not necessarily out of amateur reach, BTW.)
2) I think your assorted chrome plastics are also not done by electoplating.
3) electroplating non-conductors tends to be a pretty complex process. I think it goes like: a) coat with something mildly conductive. b) nasty copper process to deposit a more conductive layer. c) more traditional copper plating to build up a nice solid layer. d) nickel plate for its surface properties. e) thin layer of actual chrome.
4) chrome plating is pretty nasty. Caustic, hot, carcinogenic acids and such.

I think I've seen services that will "chrome" almost anything for a moderate fee; you might want to look for one of them...