Prepping a frame for chrome
I'm mulling over the idea of a "perfected" randonneuring frame done up in full chrome. I have never had a frame chromed but have heard that the prep work is a real pain in the arse. I am under the impression that every surface needs to be polished to a mirror-like finish before the frame is sent out for chroming.
Has anyone ever done this, and can you give me an idea of what is involved?
What was your question again?
Originally Posted by Six jours
So how do I get there from here? What materials, methods, etc.?
CyclArt has a pretty good step-by-step account of the process HERE.
I wondered about just having CyclArt do the whole thing. Looks like $600 for the whole process...
You don't have to get the frame to a mirror polish, but it does have to be polished pretty darn nice. The worse the initial polish, the more coats of copper will be needed to get the job done. What happens is that you plate the steel with copper, then you polish the copper.The copper fills in some of the surface flaws. You repeat the copper plating and polishing until you can get a mirror finish. The final coat of copper must be polished perfectly before the nickel is plated over it. After the nickel is plated, you "flash" plate the chromium to protect the nickel's luster. $600 to chrome plate a frame sounds like a very fair price.
I recently did a restoration that required the fork and most of the rear triangle to be re-chromed. The original chrome was in poor condition. The only requirement that the plater had was that all the paint was removed from the frame. There was no requirement that I do anything to prepare the the frame for plating. The cost to do the entire fork and the rear triangle was $125.00. He would have done the entire frame for the same price.
I have attached photos of the finished bike. I know the photos do not show great detail of the chrome, but the plater did a first rate job.