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Thread: Can aluminum be chrome plated?

  1. #1

    Can aluminum be chrome plated?

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Easthampton, MA
    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    State College, PA
    With some 1000 grit, compound, and polish, aluminum can be a chrome look-a-like. I've done it on cars and motorcycles.

  4. #4
    Aluminum can surely be chrome plated. After it's plated with copper and nickel, first.

    Jack Briggs
    Briggs Guitars

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Belden, Mississippi
    Jack nailed it. Saw it done on the tube just the other night.
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Grand Forks, ND
    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    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.
    Please help support the Creek.

    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. - Steven Wright

  8. #8

    Creekers all, thank yoy

    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Mid Michigan
    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.
    David B

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