Jump to content


Photo

Nickel Plating Of Nickel Silver Ends


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 alex_holden

alex_holden

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 572 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancashire

Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:37 AM

I've read on here that nickel silver ends were sometimes also bright nickel plated. I'm guessing this was to stop them tarnishing? Was this standard practise or something only done to special high-end instruments? Did they use nickel silver as the base rather than brass so that it wasn't as noticeable when the plating inevitably started to wear through?

#2 Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 660 posts

Posted 09 August 2017 - 05:59 PM

There are different grades of NS, some of the ones used were distinctly yellowish. I had a Jeffries like that that was plated, but the better plan is to use a grade that has somewhere near 18% nickel and leave it. Nickel does not bond well to NS without a copper precoat and can begin to flake off if it is heavy enough not to wear off. Nickel isn't immune from tarnish from hands anyway. Straight NS can be cleaned and or re polished if you care about looks, essentially indefinitely. Grades used for jewelry or belt buckles give good service.
Dana

#3 alex_holden

alex_holden

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 572 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancashire

Posted 10 August 2017 - 01:28 AM

Thanks Dana, I think I'll stick with just polishing the NS. Personally I like to see a bit of patina; maybe these days laser-cut stainless steel is the better option for ends that never tarnish.

#4 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 11 August 2017 - 03:05 AM

I have been using  Nickel Silver for making the metal parts  of  Uilleann Pipes  for  nearly 40 years  and never  felt the need to plate  it . Generally  it stays reasonably  free of tarnish  unless  the  player  has a skin type  that  causes rapid  oxidation . 

 

I agree with the Dana's  comments  although it is not  always easy  to  find  N/silver  with a  particular  percentage of  Nickel ,  most of what is on offer in Europe  will contain 12%.

 

The temptation to  use  Stainless  Steel  is  one I hope you can resist....  for me there is  something not  nice about its colour... too cold  perhaps ?



#5 Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 660 posts

Posted 12 August 2017 - 07:47 PM

I agree with Geoff about SS color which has no warmth to it. There are 300 series austinetic stainless steels that just have nickel in them, commonly used in food service items like counters etc, that is warmer in tone than the 400 series that is usually used for flat ware or most polished goods, but neither has the warmth of NS. Laser cutting SS requires a lot less energy than NS or any copper alloy, on the other side, NS is much easier to form.

#6 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 19 August 2017 - 12:34 AM

On  the subject  of Tone :  

 

it would be interesting to  make a  test  of  the various   metals  that one could use for the  end plates.  There is a topic  on this  website  where I discuss  an instrument  I owned a few years ago  which  had  a  distinctly  beautiful  tone,  okay it was a  particularly fine  Wheatstone Duet from 1927  but, according to the  company   legers the ends  were made of Brittania Metal .  Having  researched  exactly what  that particular alloy  is  (a  type of Pewter)  I cannot imagine why  it  may have  influenced the tonal qualities    but close examination  did not reveal  any  other differences   in the construction  of that instrument.


Edited by Geoff Wooff, 19 August 2017 - 12:35 AM.


#7 Rod

Rod

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1043 posts

Posted 19 August 2017 - 01:09 AM

No mention of chrome plating.

#8 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 19 August 2017 - 03:30 AM

Chrome  plating does have that 'cold' look  a   sort of blue-ish  tinge  similar to much of the Stainless  Steel  types. Although I have seen it on concertinas, perhaps as a replacement finish  or  on some  Boosey and Hawkes  period Wheatstones  from the 1960's , I do not  find it  anywhere  as pleasing as Nickel Plating.

 

But  coming back to my  'Tonal '  thoughts;  how  about making metal ends  from the  new  Silver alloy  Argentium  ?  It has less Copper  than Standard    (Sterling)   Silver  and the addition of   'Germanium' (whatever that is)  which makes it very tarnish resistant.  In fact  reading  Wikipedia  ,  just now,  I notice that  there is  an Argentium 960  ( 96% pure Silver)  which  " meets the standard for  Brittania Silver  Hallmarking".....

 

Hmmm .... Perhaps  the instrument  I  was so taken by  its tone   did not have Brittania Metal  ends  but Brittania  Silver ends  ?

 

The cost of making  a concertina  with  solid  silver end  plates  is not ridiculous,  I have made many sets of Uilleann Pipes    where all the metalwork  is Sterling Silver.  I cannot  but give a rough  idea  of the material  cost, as bullion  prices change daily  but from  what I paid last year  I estimate  it might add less  than £300  to the cost of materials  for a concertina of standard size.


Edited by Geoff Wooff, 19 August 2017 - 03:33 AM.


#9 Chris Ghent

Chris Ghent

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1044 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Blue Mountains NSW

Posted 19 August 2017 - 03:48 AM

I agree stainless is emotionally cold to the eye and the slightly yellow look of German silver (nickel/copper) is easier to look at. If you want a long-life shine titanium is not that hard to turn into ends, I have machined a couple of sets. Very light comparatively.   



#10 alex_holden

alex_holden

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 572 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancashire

Posted 19 August 2017 - 04:41 AM

Chrome  plating does have that 'cold' look  a   sort of blue-ish  tinge  similar to much of the Stainless  Steel  types. Although I have seen it on concertinas, perhaps as a replacement finish  or  on some  Boosey and Hawkes  period Wheatstones  from the 1960's , I do not  find it  anywhere  as pleasing as Nickel Plating.


Also I would be worried about chrome plating starting to flake off eventually. Anecdotally, I've heard that modern chrome plating is less durable than it used to be (and I've personally bought reproduction classic car parts that started pitting and flaking after a couple of years), partly due to cost cutting and partly because various nasty chemicals used in the plating process have been banned and replaced with environmentally-friendlier but less effective alternatives.
 

But  coming back to my  'Tonal '  thoughts;  how  about making metal ends  from the  new  Silver alloy  Argentium  ?  It has less Copper  than Standard    (Sterling)   Silver  and the addition of   'Germanium' (whatever that is)  which makes it very tarnish resistant.  In fact  reading  Wikipedia  ,  just now,  I notice that  there is  an Argentium 960  ( 96% pure Silver)  which  " meets the standard for  Brittania Silver  Hallmarking".....
 
Hmmm .... Perhaps  the instrument  I  was so taken by  its tone   did not have Brittania Metal  ends  but Brittania  Silver ends  ?
 
The cost of making  a concertina  with  solid  silver end  plates  is not ridiculous,  I have made many sets of Uilleann Pipes    where all the metalwork  is Sterling Silver.  I cannot  but give a rough  idea  of the material  cost, as bullion  prices change daily  but from  what I paid last year  I estimate  it might add less  than £300  to the cost of materials  for a concertina of standard size.

 
I've not yet worked with Argentium, though I have had similar thoughts while making sterling silver jewellery in the shape of miniature concertina ends. It's relatively easy to work, doesn't have as cold a colour as stainless/chrome, and with use and occasional light polishing to remove tarnish it builds up a (subjectively) beautiful patina over time. I thought of perhaps trying it out on a miniature before a full-size instrument. :)

Though it occurs to me that it may be necessary to have them assayed, which complicates matters a little as you have to register with the hallmarking council, have a sponsor mark punch made, and physically take them to an assay office.

Edited by alex_holden, 19 August 2017 - 04:53 AM.


#11 Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 660 posts

Posted 19 August 2017 - 09:17 PM

My understanding of Argentium is that it is not subject to firescale when heated for silver soldering in jewelry unlike sterling, which needs a good flux coating to protect it. I would certainly use it as an alternative to sterling. I'm not aware of any downside other than being about 20% heavier than NS.
Dana

Edited by Dana Johnson, 19 August 2017 - 09:24 PM.


#12 Chris Ghent

Chris Ghent

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1044 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Blue Mountains NSW

Posted 20 August 2017 - 05:09 AM

I was tempted but my quick Argentium search did not reveal anything thinner than 14g. This is around twice as thick as the average end.

#13 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 20 August 2017 - 05:36 AM

I was tempted but my quick Argentium search did not reveal anything thinner than 14g. This is around twice as thick as the average end.

My Silver supplier   www.cooksongold.com     lists  Argentium down to  0.3mm  sheet....  though they do not  list  0.6mm  (24g)  I am sure they would roll  any thickness, within reason.

 

Certain  Concertina  models  one comes across , which were  available  in either  wooden   or metal ended versions  can show  an incredible tonal  difference;  if  they were designed  with one end material  in mind  they can sound  harsh or dull  with the alternative. 

 

I have often thought  to make a set of  exchangeable  metal ends  for my favourite  wooden  ender.... hmmm.... a lot of work  just to  see how  it would be!






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users