View Full Version : Can aluminum be chrome plated?

Daniel Shnitka
02-20-2009, 2:05 AM
I am wanting to make or have made two metal leg ends for a bathroom sink console in the style of Hepplewhite.
Each metal leg is four sided (square) having a measured 4 cm width at the top and tapering to a 2.5 cm width over a length of 15 cm.
I am thinking I mave have to machine them from aluminum and then apply a chrome plate for apearance.
As quick search on the internet showed very little.
I figure I will have to make myself.

Rick Lizek
02-20-2009, 5:59 AM
Aluminum can be plated but it's far more complicated and expensive than other metals. Brass would be your best bet as it's easier to work than aluminum and takes plating easier. No worries of rust like steel. If you want it polished it will be more work. Since you didn't know the answer I can assume you haven't even talked to a plating shop. Brass can be worked with most standard woodworking tools...table saw, router, etc. Spent a number of years as a Metalsmith doing custom hardware and dealt a lot with custom plating of bright and brushed finishes. You might consider nickel instead of chrome. Similar but slightly more yellow and a brushed finish is cheaper to prep than a polished. Standard procedure is to prep the metal for plating and first a copper plate is applied than the chrome or Nickle plate. Most of the Stanley planes are Nickle plated.

It's not impossible to do but you need to do more homework.

Tom Majewski
02-20-2009, 7:07 AM
With some 1000 grit, compound, and polish, aluminum can be a chrome look-a-like. I've done it on cars and motorcycles.

Jack Briggs
02-20-2009, 7:19 AM
Aluminum can surely be chrome plated. After it's plated with copper and nickel, first.


Bill White
02-20-2009, 12:10 PM
Jack nailed it. Saw it done on the tube just the other night.

Jeff Monson
02-20-2009, 4:21 PM
Aluminum is chromed all the time, it is also very easy to polish to a very shiny state, depends on how much you want to spend.

Bruce Page
02-20-2009, 6:05 PM
As Jack pointed out aluminum can be chrome plated and itís a fairly common process. And as pointed out, extruded or rolled aluminum can be polished to a mirror finish though it wonít look like bright chrome if that is the look youíre after. Polished alum has a darker/greyer look.

Daniel Shnitka
02-21-2009, 1:07 AM
Thanks for the the tips and guidance. The forum is made up of people with all kinds of knowledge much of it coming first hand. Thank you for being a great resource.

David G Baker
02-21-2009, 10:01 AM
Tom M. gave you a good idea. You can polish aluminum so it looks like it has been chromed. You will have to put something on the polished aluminum to keep it from getting a coat of oxide on it as it ages. I have done the polishing many times and it looks beautiful when done.