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Thread: Pen furniture

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    Default Pen furniture

    It is often - though not always - the case that the metal adornments on vintage pens are tarnished or corroded or the plating has worn away. Does anyone in the repairer community re-plate or otherwise restore these adornments? Thinking mainly of bands on cap/body and clips.

    While not wanting to get too much into whether these things should be restored, in general is it possible and is it worth the time/money/trouble?

    Asking because I don't see a lot of discussion on this point. If there is another thread about it all, please put me out of my misery!
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; December 6th, 2019 at 01:10 PM.
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    Bob (December 6th, 2019)

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen furniture

    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Pen furniture

    I do plating. Most of us use pen plating, though I do immerse when plating entire nibs. Its tough to tank plate when the trim is attached to the pen. I worry about acids coming in contact with celluloid, and contamination of the plating solution if you don't get all of the ink out of a cap - which you really can't do unless you take the cap apart. That means that the plating can be rather thin, so will wear if the pen is used quite a bit, no matter how careful the person doing the work is.

    A tank plating setup is expensive, and the solution is expensive too. Rhodium is now over $250 for a 50 ml bottle. Gold will be close to $200 with the hazmat shipping. Prep work is important too. Skip the barrier layer of nickel when plating gold, and it will tarnish quickly. Getting the color right can be tough. Some "14K" solutions match vintage plating quite nicely, others are darker and look odd against the vintage parts that aren't plated. There are solutions that contain cobalt, which helps to make the plating a little tougher. But I think its no worse than what Parker did on their Parkette and Depression era pens.

    A note on rhodium. Not all solutions are equal. The first solution I used looked nice, but reacted with inks, leaving a black line down the slit on a nib. The solution that I use now is not quite as white, but I've had no problems with nibs that I did 4 years ago. It also seems to hold up well on trim on the pens to which it was applied.

    Is it worth it? I think so. If I didn't, I wouldn't offer the service, or do it on my own pens. But it really is up to the owner of the pen.

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    Ahriman4891 (December 11th, 2019), amk (December 11th, 2019), azkid (December 6th, 2019), Bob (December 6th, 2019), catbert (December 7th, 2019), Chrissy (December 6th, 2019), penwash (December 6th, 2019), Robert (December 6th, 2019), silverlifter (December 6th, 2019), welch (December 6th, 2019)

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    Default Re: Pen furniture

    That is fascinating. Knowing nothing of the science behind plating it is so interesting to read this. Sounds complicated and finicky.
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    Default Re: Pen furniture

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That is fascinating. Knowing nothing of the science behind plating it is so interesting to read this. Sounds complicated and finicky.
    Not too bad, but there are some things that you have to be aware of when you start. For instance, when plating sterling silver with rhodium, you have to plate with nickel first because the copper in the silver will contaminate the rhodium. I always find that researching a subject before I take up something new makes for interesting reading. But then I'm the guy who buys the repair manual for his car, and then wanders through the pages just because its interesting.

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    Default Re: Pen furniture

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That is fascinating. Knowing nothing of the science behind plating it is so interesting to read this. Sounds complicated and finicky.
    And we won't get that fascinating explanation from Ron had you not asked. So thank you.

    (And I like your signature).
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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