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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    4

    Default restoring plated copper tub

    I have an antique wood encased copper bathtub that looks as if it originally had grey metal plating, probably tin. The plating is wearing away, and there seems to be a clear brownish coating (varnish?) that is chipping off the areas that are still plated. The tub has seams that appear to be soldered (silver?). The tub is stamped "HENRY STEEGER 16 oz Warranted". Any suggestions for how to make the tub aesthetic and usable?
    Last edited by frustrated1; 01-09-2014 at 12:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: restoring plated copper tub

    You can have the tub re-coppered. That would require taking the tub out, removing everything that doesn't get dipped in molten copper and then re-assembled.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Montreal Canada
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: restoring plated copper tub

    We used to chrome copper pipes on site when we wanted the pipes to look better than just copper. we would clean the copper with sand cloth then apply paste and gently heat the copper and apply solder the very quickly wipe off any excesses solder. If it was done right it looks very good for a year or two.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: restoring plated copper tub

    Quote Originally Posted by bill shack View Post
    We used to chrome copper pipes on site when we wanted the pipes to look better than just copper. we would clean the copper with sand cloth then apply paste and gently heat the copper and apply solder the very quickly wipe off any excesses solder. If it was done right it looks very good for a year or two.
    I think I would prefer the look of copper. Any ides how to remove the plating without damaging the copper?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,188

    Default Re: restoring plated copper tub

    Plating of this size will need to be done at a shop- the DIY kits for plating are not sufficient in their ability to deposit a thick enough plating nor are they economical at this scale.

    But there may be some hope here- are you certain that this is copper plating, and not a plating of nickel over copper which has worn away? Make a deep scratch under the tub where nobody will see it and see what lies at the bottom of the scratch- that will be the solid base material and it may be a copper alloy! To determine if it is steel, apply some iodine to the scratch, wait a few days, then see if any rust has appeared. If it is indeed copper, then all you'll need to do is to buff off the remaining plating to obtain a copper finish, and that is certainly a DIY scale job.

    Phil

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: restoring plated copper tub

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    Plating of this size will need to be done at a shop- the DIY kits for plating are not sufficient in their ability to deposit a thick enough plating nor are they economical at this scale.

    But there may be some hope here- are you certain that this is copper plating, and not a plating of nickel over copper which has worn away? Make a deep scratch under the tub where nobody will see it and see what lies at the bottom of the scratch- that will be the solid base material and it may be a copper alloy! To determine if it is steel, apply some iodine to the scratch, wait a few days, then see if any rust has appeared. If it is indeed copper, then all you'll need to do is to buff off the remaining plating to obtain a copper finish, and that is certainly a DIY scale job.

    Phil
    I looked up the stamp on the tub and found a listing for the business which states that they sold copper tubs that were tin plated. How should I buff off the plating without damaging the copper surface? What about the seams that may have silver solder? I was told silver solder may have lead in it. After I get the plating off, should I seal the surface with something? Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: restoring plated copper tub

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    You can have the tub re-coppered. That would require taking the tub out, removing everything that doesn't get dipped in molten copper and then re-assembled.
    I thought I would remove the plating to see how the original copper looks. Is there a way to do this in my house?

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