Silver brush plating on pewter with a white bronze undercoat

Silver brush plating a pewter victorian ink well

Pewter is a tin-based alloy, the surface of which turns a dull, dark grey over time. If your pewter item has been plated silver, you may find a layer of black underneath the silver plate. You needn’t worry about removing all of this black layer before plating, as it is conductive and can be easily plated over.
To make white bronze plating solution, you mix Copper Brush Plating Solution with White Bronze Mixer at a ratio of 1:2
So, if you are using 10ml of Copper Brush Plating Solution you’ll need 20ml of White Bronze Mixer.
Leave at room temperature for 15 minsutes before use.
Plate at 3-3.5v
Please note: We recommend using the MF Rectifier Mk II for this project.

1. What you'll need

Brush plating solutions; silver, prepared white bronze plating solution, Surface preparation/finishing; MPU, Autosol, Silver Electrode for the silver plating, a Platinum or Carbon Electrode for the white bronze plating, Swabs, Plating Pen.

For help with setting up your brush plating equipment, please see our guide by clicking HERE.

2. Surface preparation

Remove the remains of the old silver plate and most of the black layer with Autosol. The Autosol will now need to be thoroughly cleaned off. Most areas of the ink well can be cleaned with MPU. However, to clean the hinges of polishing compound, you’ll need to rub in plenty of liquid detergent and then rinse thoroughly under warm or hot running water.

3. Testing for conductivity

If you are unsure about the conductivity of any of the remaining patches of black, check them with the Conductivity Tester.

4. Brush plating a white bronze undercoat 3-3.5 volts

Build up a good, thick layer of white bronze.


5. Silver plating 2.5 - 3 volts

Clean the hinges as described in stage 2 and silver plate.

6. Finishing

To seal the surface of your work and bring up the shine, polish with Goddards Silver Polish and/or MetaSeal.

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