Author Topic: Nickel Plating - Bright or Satin  (Read 3588 times)

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Offline ROGER

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Nickel Plating - Bright or Satin
« on: 25 Jul 2010 at 05:10 »
I am ready to get some bits for my 1925 CW (Inlet Manifold, Tank caps, handle bars, throttle and brake levers etc) nickel plated but the platers want to know if I want bright or satin finish
Can anyone advise which way to go

Also the fuel tank needs to be repainted -  my tank is silver with light blue panels yet all the pictures I have looked at show silver with dark blue panels - what is the correct colour scheme
for the CW and does anyone know if there current automotive colours to replicate the original (or close to it)

Offline Chris

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Re: Nickel Plating - Bright or Satin
« Reply #1 on: 25 Jul 2010 at 08:43 »
Hi Roger
      The original plating was what is now known as "dull Nickel" This is not generally available commercially now as many years ago the nickel plating process was "improved" by the addition of brighteners. The result is nickel plating that is hardly distinguishable from chrome plating. I have seen recent restorations that glisten like a Christmas tree. Dull nickel can be done at home using the nickel plating kits that are available via adverts in the classic motorcycle press. It is not difficult to do and is very satisfying and considerably cheaper than getting it done commercially. I am not aware of satin plating for nickel although it was widely used for chrome plating for items such as petrol pipes on later machines.
      The colour blue used on petrol tanks was generally described as "Oxford Blue". This is a dark blue. Light Blue is Cambridge blue. For well over 30 years the LDMCC has defined the best match colours for the early machines as Rootes Oxford Blue (sometimes listed as Talbot Oxford Blue) for the petrol tank panels and lining and Vauxhall Sebring Silver Starmist for the tank background. Rootes cars such as Hillman, Humber, Talbot and Sunbeam etc. disappeared many years ago from our roads and although Vauxhall cars are still marketed in Europe under General Motors ownership neither of these colours are now available off the shelf as aerosol cans from outlets such as Halfords anymore. However, the colours can still be mixed by any good automotive paint supplier either in bulk or in aerosol cans. The two colours named above are listed in the swatch books and tables that suppliers have and for a long time I was able to quote a number reference but different paint manufacturers seem now to have their own references. Some later machines in the middle thirties such as the Endeavour and the Bantam did to the best of our knowledge have lighter blue livery but more of a mid blue rather than Cambridge blue.   Chris.

Offline Doug

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Re: Nickel Plating - Bright or Satin
« Reply #2 on: 26 Jul 2010 at 00:14 »

I would add that the term 'dull nickle' indicates that right out of the plating bath a bit of extra polish would bring out the full luster. This has been replaced in modern baths by the addition of chemical 'brightners' that Chris mentions, eliminating the need to post-polish. In time all nickle plate, whether electroplate or the electroless process, will revert to dull nickle with time and neglect!

Douglas used nickle electroplate on the small hardware like studs, nuts, and bolts. This was left in the 'flat', 'dull', or 'as plated' condition, and was intended more as a conveniently durable rust-proof finish than to be cosmetic. Larger surface areas, like the handlebars, petrol cap, and inlet manifold would get the post polish treatment. Whether the new owner kept up the polish was their own preference. But it would not be wrong for these major features to sparkle when new. Or you could go for the vintage patina look, and let the plating go dull. It also saves on polishing!

I have not heard of satin nickle. I wonder if they mean bead blasting the surface before plating to dull the reflection, or it is a corruption of the term 'dull nickle'?