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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I wanted to add a gold wash effect inside the bell of a silver-plated instrument, will brush plating be good enough? I know this method does not deposit a lot of metal, but I do not believe gold wash was INTENDED to be thick. I'm also considering brush-plating inside the engraving with gold, but I figure it will either work for both jobs or neither.

Also, will it be difficult to touch up an Olegature, since it's not a solid piece? I haven't tested the electrical properties, but perhaps I should.
 

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I just bare brass the inside of the bell and keep it polished. On worn insides, I wet sand it with #1000 black emery paper, then #1500, #2000 (all from auto paint stores). Then a metal polish and it looks close to gold wash. Here are some photos of one I did on a C soprano. The photo with 2 horns shows the brass one on the left and a Bb with nice real gold wash on the right: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/tags/bell/
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just bare brass the inside of the bell and keep it polished. On worn insides, I wet sand it with #1000 black emery paper, then #1500, #2000 (all from auto paint stores). Then a metal polish and it looks close to gold wash. Here are some photos of one I did on a C soprano. The photo with 2 horns shows the brass one on the left and a Bb with nice real gold wash on the right: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/tags/bell/
I've already gone the bare brass route on the Jupiter alto, at least inside the bell.



I'd just as soon not do that again. In fact I'll probably brush-plate that before anything else. It's a pain to keep clean and fingerprint-free. I'm still trying to decide between silver, gold over silver, or nickel. If that goes well, then the paint comes off and the outside of the bell gets plated too. I really only bought the nickel plating kit to maintain the Aquilasax since I have already done one mod that caused plating to be lost, and plan to do another.
It looks really neat though, and inside the bell it wouldn't be subject to too much handling so the slipperiness is not an issue.

The neck is also painted, and it's not primered underneath, so it has not held up well. That will probably get whatever I decide to use on the inside of the bell, just so it matches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Polish it up a bit, clean the residue off and clear lacquer it.
Well I have the brush plating kit now, and four different metals to plate with (gold, silver, copper, nickel). I cleaned up the alto bell one more time and laid down silver, then gold, and the result looks something like this:



I need to clean up deeper where the crust of polishing compound still remains, but the gold plate doesn't look all that much different from the bare brass. That's fine, I didn't do it for shock value. I just wanted it to stay clean without work.

That's not to say I'm above doing something flashy for its own sake, like the copper wash on the Aquilasax, or copper plating the alto neck:

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I have the brush plating kit now, and four different metals to plate with (gold, silver, copper, nickel).
I now have enough experience to detail how well these work:
  • SILVER: Works quite well, and quickly. You just need to clean off the black "burn" between passes.
  • GOLD: Works quite well also, but not so quickly. Where I can plate a whole mouthpiece in silver in a couple minutes, gold might take ten. There's no "burn" to clean up, but it's like the Golden Gate Bridge. As soon as you get done with one coat, it's time to start the next one. Also the solution has a limited shelf life (two or three months) and is expensive.
  • COPPER: Very impressive looking, and fast. Unfortunately also very fragile. Do not use copper flash on anything you will be handling, as a fingerprint will turn into a dirty brassy spot within days, and never come clean. It also rubs off if you so much as look at it funny.
  • NICKEL: It works, but it takes an incredibly long time. I spent 45 minutes on a patch about half an inch square, and still didn't get it as bright and shiny as I would have liked.

For the majority of people out there, I'd say the silver kit is well worth it if you have silver plated items to maintain and/or restore. Gold is worth it if you have a lot to do in a short period of time, otherwise it will be wasted money -- and you need to lay down silver first for a base coat. Skip the copper and nickel unless you have a specific need for them.
 

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I think you need to use some #1500 to 2000 grit wet emery paper. I see a lot of lines in the finish. It only takes a few minutes to smooth it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think you need to use some #1500 to 2000 grit wet emery paper. I see a lot of lines in the finish. It only takes a few minutes to smooth it out.
I was going for a matte look, but ended up with more of a brushed look. I still decided to leave it that way. All lines are in the underlying metal, not the plating. The plating is much too thin to fill in visible scratches. Tank plating can do that, but brush plating won't.
 
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