Ageing chrome knobs

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by stiv, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    996
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Hello, I’m in the process of rescuing a soon-to-be vintage NGD and , seeing there’s a lot of people in this community that built their own gear, I wondered if there’s someone who could point me towards an easy (unfortunately I’m not the most gifted guy in craftsmanship duties but I thought I could at list try and do some of the basic and easiest jobs on my own) way to relic some chrome knobs in order to match some ‘67 original chrome parts (pickups, switches, space control bridge).
    I bet there’s a lot of tutorials on the tube, but I prefere to hear it from someone in this board who already did it as I listen to my fellas GretschTalkers best! :)
    I’m all ears. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    Not as nice as nickel. You can matte the chrome finish with a softer scotchbrite, not much more possibilities. Too much sanding and the next thing you‘ll see is the copper plating underneath. Chrome lasts long and doesn’t really age.
     
    BorderRadio, sh4rkbyt3 and stiv like this.
  3. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    996
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Yeah, I suspected it wasn’t an easy task. I’ll try with the scotchbrite and be very careful. A friend of mine told me that also muriatic acid may work. Do you guys know if those metal cleaning products may work as well? I remember, long time ago, trying to clean the Bigsby of my gold 6120 with a product that my mother used to clean her jewelry and that ended up kind of ruining the gold plating. Would some silver-like stuff work with chrome as well?
    What I am thinking of it’s not a perfect relicing job, but something that makes new chrome knobs looks better on a 50 years old guitar.
     
  4. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    So you want them to look old and reliced ? Try soaking them in Coke-a-Cola for a week ..... I think someone on the forum had done this last year :confused:
     
    stiv likes this.
  5. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    996
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Really? I always thought it was an urban legend... :D
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  6. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    Metal polish rubs the gold off- perfect if you'd like to have a nickel finish (which isn't available from Gretsch), becaues there's nickel under the thin gold plating. Muriatic acid works best- surprise, surprise- on Nickel. Dunno if Coca-Cola works, maybe because of the
    phosphoric acid inside that ****.
     
    new6659 likes this.
  7. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    well , if so ..... what do you have to lose but a weeks time .
     
    mrfixitmi and stiv like this.
  8. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    yum.....
     
  9. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    996
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    You’re right. ;)
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  10. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    62
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Are they steel or brass? A bowl of old fashioned salty water is a slow but reliable way of adding patina (after the shine is taken off with scotchbrite.)

    mc5.jpg
     
  11. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    996
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    That’s cool. I guess some patina it’s just what I need. I have to check about the material they’re made of, but being standard new production g-arrow knobs you’d probably know it better.
    How long do you need to keep them in the salty water after the scotchbrite?
     
  12. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    62
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    The trick with the salty water is that nothing will really happen until you take the part out and expose it to the air. SO you can leave it in a few hours and then pull it out and let it dry naturally. Repeat as necessary, the more plunges you do, the ickier they will get. The knobs are probably made of brass... the only ones I have are on my 65 Corvette so who knows if they are the same or not.
     
    stiv likes this.
  13. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    996
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Thanks Eman, I’ll give it a try. I need to check out the material though. Do you think it would be better to remove the screw first or could I just leave it there and move up and down to avoid any oxidation to the hole?
     
  14. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    62
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    I've done both, I usually pull out the adjuster screws for bridge saddles. If the knob is steel, you're better off leaving it in.
     
  15. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    Google making new tuners look vintage. You should get a Stewmac hit. I did this on a 1964 Gibson es125t. You need to be careful using the etching solution have water to dip your parts in quickly. It works great and will add 50 years or more to your parts.
     
    stiv likes this.
  16. EC Strat

    EC Strat Gretschie

    133
    Jan 11, 2019
    Louisville
    I saw some older G knobs on reverb You night try checking that out They were aged naturally
     
    stiv likes this.
  17. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Synchromatic

    843
    Feb 25, 2019
    USA
    Put the parts in Tupperware with a shot glass or other small vessel with white vinegar in it and put the lid on and give it a week.

    To be clear, don't soak the parts in vinegar, let the fumes do the work.
     
    stiv likes this.
  18. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    Use muriatic acid the same way and you‘re done in 20 minutes!

    6D4196F3-9747-4A3D-BB46-2B18D302AC0B.jpeg

    I‘ve matted the chrome strapbuttons and tuners on my Gretsch and achieved a more or less aluminum appearance. Looks nice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    stiv and new6659 like this.
  19. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Synchromatic

    843
    Feb 25, 2019
    USA
    Nice. Better looking than the vinegar method in my opinion. Vinegar pits metals (which some people want, not me).

    Muriatic acid (aka hydrochloric) is fun. Take a modern penny, scratch it on the ground to expose a bit of the zinc core, and drop it in a cup with an inch of muriatic acid. The zinc core gets eaten up and you're left with the copper shell. It bubbles out hydrogen so don't do it inside.
     
  20. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    It dissolves nails. Great on your stomach lining. Ought to do some damage to chrome.
     
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