Plating on Pewter

Ask an Expert From: Products Finishing, ,

Posted on: 12/1/2002

Question: In a moment of weakness I took on a job of plating a number of antique pewter pieces with silver.

Question:

In a moment of weakness I took on a job of plating a number of antique pewter pieces with silver. We routinely plate silver, but these pieces are old and I want to do the job right (they belong to a good friend of mine). How should I handle this job? W. J.

Answer:

For the readers of this column who are not familiar with pewter, it is an alloy made up of tin, copper and antimony. Tin is usually present in the range of 90 – 93%. Sometimes bismuth is also added. Pewter does not contain lead.A good sequence for plating of pewter is as follows:
1. Alkaline soak cleaner
2. Acid activation
3. Cyanide copper strike
4. Silver strike
5. Silver plate
Good rinsing is required between each step. To minimize the need for buffing of the final silver plate, use a bright silver-plating bath.



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