The first step in any of our processes, is to remove all of the paint, tar, glue and anything that is plastic or rubber. These items the do not conduct electricity and will shield the part, thus not allowing the part to strip evenly.
Stripping is done basically like plating but the DC current is reversed, and we pull the plating off of the part and onto lead panels that line the sides of the tank. As soon as the current is shut off, the old plating drops to the bottom of the tank. The tank gets cleaned out as often as needed, and the old chrome, is placed in drums and sent out for proper disposal according to EPA regulations. Although expensive, this is worth it for the environment.
The second step is blasting. Pot metal, thin steel, and aluminum are all glass beaded to remove all of the corrosion. Steel bumpers and thick metals are steel shot blasted to remove all of the rust from them.
The third step is grinding. All surfaces are skim ground to remove all of the rust and corrosion, bad metal and alloys from the part. The pits in potmetal are dug out at this time to ensure that all of the corrosion is gone.
The fourth step is to seal pot metal with cyanide copper (no acid in this copper process) this process seals in the pot metal and allows us to use lead and a special pot metal rod to fill in the pits.
The fifth step is to grind the pot metal smooth (usually to a 400 grit paper) also working the lead flat and uniform.
The sixth step is to seal the lead and pot metal back up again with cyanide copper and then it goes into the nickel strike to help aid the cyanide to seal the pot metal up.
The seventh step is acid copper. Note the key word ACID this will dissolve almost any thing steel potmetal and aluminum if it is not sealed properly. The acid copper is a build up process were we can work all of the imperfections from the piece, and then we high buff the copper until it looks like a brand new penny (actually a lot brighter.)
The eighth step is bright nickel this protects the piece from the elements, and gives it the mirror shine but nickel does have a slight yellowish cast to it.
The ninth step is chrome. The part is chromed and this seals the nickel and turns the part to that bluish silver cast of chrome, that we all love.
Bumpers are stripped, as in all processes, blasted with the steel shot and ground. The bumpers are put on the bumper grinding machine which keeps the bumper flat. The ears of the bumpers are worked out by hand. The bumper is then welded or brazed if needed, and any dents are taken out of the bumper. Now the bumper is sealed in nickel strike tank, then is copper covered, and then is smoothed out and buffed, nickel plated then chromed.
Aluminum is tricky but we can do it as well. The aluminum is ground smooth and then it is run through an anti-smut tank and zincated, Nickel struck, then it goes into the acid copper, smoothed out, buffed, nickeled and then chromed.
Stainless Steel is straightened welded if needed, and lightly ground. Then it can be buffed to a stock appearance, high buffed to a show quality shine, and/or chrome plated.
Most Lincoln's and Caddy's are noted for chrome plating the stainless, so if you ever see one where the chrome and the stainless do not match, it's because the stainless was probably buffed, not chromed like was done from the factory.