rechroming is expensive

Three Reasons Why Re-Chroming is Expensive

Why is re-chroming so expensive?

Why is re-chroming so expensive? This is a great question, and as an expert with over 35 years of chrome experience, Custom Plating Specialist, Inc. (CPS) sheds some light on this age-old question.

Owner of CPS, Terry Meetz comments “First, it’s important to understand that the process isn’t considered “dipping” like many people tend to think. This is a misconception in the chroming industry.” The CPS re-chroming process is a plating process where the parts are plated and not dipped. Here are three reasons why re-chroming can be expensive.

#1 – Overhead – chemicals, tanks, structure to house the tanks and equipment, electricity, labor, and more. With any business, there are expenses. As a consumer, it is important to understand the overhead involved in chroming. The plating process involves several different process tanks, each containing a very specific and different chemistry. The tanks are regulated daily by CPS experts to ensure that all chemicals maintain the proper operating levels. Electricity which is an integral part of this process is another expense that must be calculated into the cost of re-chroming.

Here are some parts getting the plating stripped off. It’s a combination of acid and water as well as electricity that dissolves the plating from the parts.

# 2- Re-chroming is not a quick process. At CPS, every part that is re-chromed must go through several steps in order to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality chrome. In the beginning of the process, parts are “racked up.” What this means is that the parts are affixed to a copper plating rack that will enter the strip tank. The power entering into the tank is reversed and the chemicals dissolve the plating. The parts are then sand-blasted to remove rust and other impurities. At this point the metal finishing process is started, sanding. We start with 150 grit, move to 320, and 500, and respectfully finish with 800 grit. Once the sanding is complete, the polished metal is buffed until it shines, but that isn’t where it stops. 

This is a vent window frame that just had its chrome plating stripped off.

Our industry award winning triple plating process is next. The first coat of copper plating comes next after the parts are racked up. This time the part enters some cleaner tanks and an acid wash to make sure the bare metal is free from any dirt and buffing compound. The parts are suspended in the copper plating tank for about two hours and then are removed along with the racking. The copper-plated part is sanded with 800-grit sandpaper and then polished out with various buffing wheels until all scratches are gone and the part is as shiny as a brand-new penny. The part is then racked up again, this time it is nickel and chrome plated. After chrome plating, the piece is un-racked and then hand waxed. It also goes through an inspection process to look for any defects prior to being wrapped in a soft protective wrap and shipped out. At CPS, we don’t take shortcuts.

Here are some parts that metal finishing to sand out the pits and such. Notice the extra drilled holes. That is because some of the pits so too deep so we drill them all the way through and will weld them up after a coat of copper plating.

Left side: Copper plated part that gets multiple coats of copper plating before we attempt to solder up the rotted areas. This isn’t a standard way to fill ill holes, but the part is so bad and thin that we need to build some thickness first. Right side: These parts are now all polished and ready for nickel and chrome plating. These parts will be in the nickel tank for about 30 minutes before getting plated with the chrome.

#3 Unexpected Repairs are Common. Similar to a contractor remodeling a house. Sometimes there are challenges or surprises that are unexpected that add more time or costs to the project. In our world, many parts need repairs, which, by itself, is an art, and takes many years of experience to figure out ways of fixing broken or rotted-out parts. 

Here is a 1946 Chevrolet grille that is rotted at the bottom. We will be welding this part up to fill in where the metal has rotted away.

Let’s recap. The top three reasons why re-chroming is expensive. 1) There is a high amount of overhead with chemicals, labor, electricity, and more to re-chroming. 2) The re-chroming process has several steps and requires hours for processing. You can’t cut corners in the chrome industry if you want to have award-winning chrome. 3) In many cases rotted car parts need to be repaired. This takes time and experience and is sometimes an unexpected expense.

Parts ready to be hand-waxed, wrapped in soft paper and then sent back to customer.

Custom Plating Specialist, Inc., located in Brillion, Wisconsin, has the experience and knowledge in producing triple-plated award-winning chrome. Next time you have a project that requires chroming, remember these reasons why re-chroming can be costly. It’s a specialty service that CPS has perfected over the years. Proven testimonials and repeated work time after time can confirm that the CPS process provides exceptional re-chroming services, hands down. To learn more about CPS visit the website

chrome restoration

What Three Things to Look for in a Chrome Restoration Specialist?

Whether you restore old vehicles, boats, or motorcycles as a hobby, or it’s your profession. You may already realize that getting parts for old cars can sometimes be a process. Some cars have an abundance of parts, and some do not. Some parts are available as reproductions. You can read this blog to find out where you can get these parts. Even if you can get a part, it may not be in the best condition, and chrome restoration services might be on your task list. With certain vehicles, there isn’t that option and you are left with only one option and that is getting your parts restored. Here are three things to look for when you are searching for a good chrome restoration specialist.

#1 – Do they triple plate with copper, nickel, and chrome plating? It’s important to know that as chrome experts for over 35 years, we’ve been around the block and know what works and what doesn’t in the restoration process. 

Re-chroming a part involves stripping away the old chrome, nickel, and copper. After it is stripped, sanding the metal smooth is important before the electrolysis process begins. This is where the copper is applied to fill any small pits or scratches. After this is polished, the nickel plating process, followed by the chrome is where it all happens. The purpose of the nickel is to add smoothness, reflectivity, and corrosion resistance to the part. The chrome is very thin and the appearance of the decorative chrome comes from the nickel plating. Whether you start with bare steel or buffed copper, at least two layers of plating follow — a layer of nickel and a layer of chrome. But high-quality plating usually requires two layers of nickel. Check out one process of chrome plating here.

#2 – How many years of experience does the chromer have? Albert Einstein said it best “The only source of knowledge is experience.” More experience in the field of chroming that a company has gives them a competitive advantage. At Custom Platinging Specialist, we believe that another advantage is the experience of working on a wide array of projects like old cars, boats, airplanes, motorcycles, pot belly stoves, jukeboxes, hood ornaments, gas pumps, antique tricycles, and more.

#3 Do they also do repairs on diecast parts (pot metal)? Not many companies repair pot metal. According to Wikipedia, the term “pot metal” or monkey metal, came about around the early 20th century, basically throwing non-ferrous metal scraps and melting them to form cast products. Pot metal was used in the auto industry because it was inexpensive and able to produce complex shapes. In fact, this process is still used today. However, what is also known to chromers, is that it is difficult to re-chrome. The biggest issue with pot metal is pitting and how to get rid of the corrosion area. If you don’t sand below the corrosion then plating will not stick to those areas, much like a dentist has to get all of the tooth decay before filling it or the filler will not adhere to it. Chrome plating companies that can repair pot metal areas that go all the way through a part without any sign that a repair was made tells you that that company is a good company to have work on your parts. In fact, you probably found a chrome restoration company for life.

When dealing with old nostalgic parts, choosing the right company is highly important. Asking these three questions will help you to seek out the right partner for the project. 1) Make sure they triple plate chrome – copper, nickel, and chrome plating. 2) The more years of experience the better, and 3) Knowing they have experience with pot metal makes them of high caliber in the chroming industry. Finally, if you are searching for an industry expert, with years of experience, check out the google reviews. Custom Plating Specialist is highly rated in “show chrome”, just a quick google search on Facebook and Google will provide you with the credentials you need to get started with your project.