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[UK Source] Gilding salts



It would be very useful for me to be able to occasionally touch up
odd bits of damaged gold plating or gold plate small areas on new
parts. So, I guess I am looking at some form of pen or wand plating
system - as simple as possible. I have trawled the net but not come
up with anything which would apparently do the job ( - perhaps I
have used the wrong search words). Can anyone give me any leads to
suppliers and materials where I could buy small quantities of,
preferably 24K, gilding salts to use with a ‘rag wrapped around a
stainless rod’ system or something similar (does the solution have
to be more concentrated than normal bath gilding salts?). Any other
advice would be most welcome. I need to be able to plate onto brass
and so I am anticipating giving this an initial thin plating of
silver with the silver nitrate/salt/cream-of-tartar method I use for
resilvering watch and clock dials. All the parts where I want to
repair damage to old gilding have been plated using the mercury
gilding technique (fire gilding) which is why I anticipate that I
shall need to use a 24K solution.



Hi Ian,

I have done this for large and small items, what you need is pen
plating solution which you can get from Cooksons, H S Walsh, Thos
Sutton etc. Check on the price it can vary a lot from supplier to
supplier. It is very concentrated.

There is some good advise in the ‘Practical Goldsmith New
Techniques’ book you can get from Cooksons, not cheap but very
helpful. They recommend a carbon rod ( cut open an old battery and
torch off the chemicals)wrapped in cotton wool for the brush. I used
this to great effect when I made a Draco for Time Team a couple of
years ago, I plated half of it (about half the size of a 3litre coke
bottle in a couple of hours, with about 50 of solution.

For smaller items I made a pen with an old felt tip and rolled down
an old bit of worn out platinum ring shank for a contact. You can buy
replacement tips but I think washed uot felt tips are as good. You
will need a DC power supply at about 9volts, it does not draw much
current for small items. Give me a call off list if I haven’t made
myself clear, I am down in Glos.

Tim Blades.


You can buy pen plating systems, which would be best. You can buy the
solutions at all of the jeweler’s suppliers. They are mostly cyanide,
so can’t be shipped, or will cost a fortune, and if you don’t know
"the rules" of cyanide then don’t buy it. Likely you’ll need a resale
license to be able to buy, also. You can make a pen plater that
works, but not all that well, better than a rag. Get a glass medicine
dropper, poke a 18 ga. or so piece of 24k wire through the rubber end
and push it almost to the hole in the dropper, with a coil left
outside the rubber. It needs to be a tight seal. Hook the anode
connector to the coil sticking out the back, the cathode to the work,
suck up some solution in the dropper, and it will work. It’s tricky,
though, and has no precision. The wire needs to be very near the tip,
but if it touches the work, there goes your fuse. But it does work,
with some tinkering, and it’s cheap.


Ian, I have a very old antiquated system for guilding, 24ct, I have
enough cyanide solution for a medium sized mug. I know not good but
if you want to borrow /use it, at your risk!! you are welcome. I
come up and climb in the Peak could meet or you could come down, I’m
on J20 M1. mary


Ian, You can buy all your pen plating requirements cheaply in the UK
from Speed Demon Motorcycles; the link is I have the copper,
nickel, silver and gold plating solutions with the pen plating kit.
This latter is indeed stainless steel wands wrapped in bandage (which
I have replaced with fine woven plastic fabric) together with a small
rectifier as used for charging mobiles etc. The gold is advertised as
24ct. Although over a year since I last contacted him (I think it is
a 1-man import agency of the American Caswell plating products), I
remember the owner of the site (Jeff?) as being very helpful and
knowledgeable about all his plating products and processes.If you are
ever in the Great Russell Street area of Central London (WC1) when I
am in the workshop, you are welcome to call in to see the kit etc -
phone me on 020 7343 1728.