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Stripping chrome?(6 posts)

Stripping chrome?Tony Edwards
Jul 20, 2003 2:53 PM
Has anyone here ever had experience with refinishing a bicycle in which you needed to remove chrome?

I have a nice old DeRosa Professional (SLX) that I want to refinish, and it has a chromed fork and chainstays that are badly pitted. I don't really care about re-chroming, but my local painter says it will cost $150-200 to remove the chrome. (He describes a reverse electroplating process involving electricity and a chemical bath.) At that point, a refinish will be close to $600, which is hard to justify when I only paid $600 for the frameset, brand-new, in 1994.

I will contact Cyclart, Acme, and Joe Bell to ask them about this, but I am frustrated because it seems it will be cost-prohibitive to refinish my bike. I guess I could just bust out the Rust-O-Leum, but I think the bike deserves better.

Does anyone have any experience with this, or input/suggestions?

I knew a girl that............... (nm)coonass
Jul 20, 2003 3:06 PM
Yes and no53T
Jul 20, 2003 3:16 PM
I do have experience stripping Chrome. You need a plating bath and run the current in reverse. Works like a charm.

Of course if it were anything thicker than a bike frame, I's say take a grinder to it and remove the chrome and polish out the grinder marks with the appropriate finishing techniques, but the bike frame is too thin for this sort of approach.

Did you consider polishing out the pits and living with the imperfect finish? (first 800 sand paper then heavy duty rubbing compound, then semichrome polish) Consider it "character".
playing with fire...Farmer John
Jul 20, 2003 5:07 PM
I also have experience in metal plating. this is not an undertaking that you want to try yourself. Chromic Acid is an extremely caustic substance and at the temperature that you have to heat it to to get a good reaction, it's noxious fumes will gag you to tears.

If you're successful in stripping the chrome without over reversing it (and further pitting the metal under the chrome), you are now left with a chemically altered piece of metal that will have to be heat treated to return some of it's inherent properties.

If you must do it, leave it to a professional. I'd suggest roughing it up well and using a filler, followed by extensive dry/wet sanding until it's smooth as a babies buttocks.

Or polish what's left of the plating and enjoy.
Yes and noTony Edwards
Jul 20, 2003 5:08 PM
Thanks for the input, but I really don't want to spend $400-500 on a paint job with the kind of "character" that comes from painting over a cobbly, rough surface. I know I am being a little finicky, but I would rather have it perfect if at all possible.
Sand and paintLC
Jul 20, 2003 8:00 PM
By doing layers of painting and then sanding, it will eventually be smooth If the pits are that deep that you can't do that then the frame is likely shot and not worth fixing.