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Chrome Relicing Tutorial

 
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Joeglow
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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Location: NY/NJ

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:10 am    Post subject: Chrome Relicing Tutorial Reply with quote

by solderjunkie
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OK... nickel is easy. Chrome is much tougher. Here is my way:

This bass is going to be a "closet classic", so the relic'ing action will be minimal. The process is the same for heavier relic'ing, just more and longer

Go to the grocery store, and buy a big plastic tub with a lid, and two smaller plastic tubs that fit inside:


These tubs had to be trimmed to fit both inside and get the lid on...




Put on latex or nitrile gloves. Any fingerprints now will be permanent. Wipe all of your parts down with acetone. Arrange the parts in the tub so they aren't overlapping:



GO OUTSIDE!

DO NOT DO THIS IN THE HOUSE!

Pour 3/4" of muriatic acid (diluted HCL, available at hardware and pool supply stores) in the large tub:

Then "float" the small tubs on the acid. Snap the lid on tight and walk away:


Leave it for an hour at a time. Check on it often after the first hour. Look for "dim" areas and green corrosion (it washes off). Go slightly further than you want with the etching... you are going to polish it back a bit when it's done.

Remove the parts, pour the acid back in the container, and rinse everything with water. Leave the parts wet. Layer damp paper towels in the bottom of a container. Arrange the parts on the towel and snap on the lid. Leave it in the sun all day (or in my case, under a lamp):


Remove the parts and wash them again. Hand-polish the areas that are easy to polish.


Screw them to your bass and rock out for a minute...



... then take them off and stow them in the case like every bass player did for the past 40 years. It sucks trying to play with them on... like your bass is wearing a chastity belt
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Nickel Custom Bass Works

Edit:The process works just as well on nickel, but in half the time. Youll need to keep an eye on it.

It's a little harder to see the progress with nickel because it turns green and clouds-up pretty quickly, but it all wipes away under running water when you are done. Once most of it has turned cloudy and green, pull it from the vapors, rinse and put it in the "humid" environment tub for a day.



I put the items to be reliced on a soft cloth in the bottom of the shoebox with the tupperware container at the other end of the box. I put the lid on and put a small lamp above the end with the muriatic acid. This makes the environment in the shoebox a little more humid w/ the acid.

Key thing like you said-- use acetone or naptha to make sure there are NO fingerprints on any chrome, as it will be permanent afterwards! I pout the muriatic acid back into the container. I have a small glass mason jar for this, with a plastic bag between the lid and the jar (otherwise the acid will eventually corrode the lid off!)
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