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Thread: Vintage Carving Fork Rehab (Potentially)

  1. #1
    Senior Member MAS4T0's Avatar
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    Vintage Carving Fork Rehab (Potentially)

    Thanks to Chris (knyfeknerd) I'm now in possession of a vintage American carving fork. The fork is the same as this one belonging to JohnnyChance:



    It is in great condition given it's age, but due to it's construction there is some accumulated grime that I've been unable to remove. The handle of the fork is cast and Chrome plated and the forged tines are forged. The tines are press fitted into sockets in the handle (the tines are stainless steel and are not plated). As a result of the construction there is a small crevice around the socket which has accumulated grime over the last 50+ years.

    I'm planning to send it to be professionally chemically cleaned and have all the chrome stripped away. I'll then sand down all the casting seams to make it better than new before having it re-plated. I was thinking though that there's no reason why it needs to be Chrome this time around, I could have it plated in Gold, Rhodium or any other suitable metals it'll only be used occasionally so soft metals are fine.

    I'd appreciate your thoughts on suitable metals and to hear from anyone with any input or pointers on this little project.

    P.S. Only the handle is going to be plated. I'm intending to polish the tines to a nice finish afterwards.

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    Senior Member bkultra's Avatar
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    Having it plated in Rhodium would give it a similar look to chrome because it's the most reflective of all metals. Keep in mind that the color of the bare metal will come into play here. Once the Rhodium starts to wear thin you will see the discoloration easier then on a ring made of say "white gold".

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    Senior Member MAS4T0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkultra View Post
    Having it plated in Rhodium would give it a similar look to chrome because it's the most reflective of all metals. Keep in mind that the color of the bare metal will come into play here. Once the Rhodium starts to wear thin you will see the discoloration easier then on a ring made of say "white gold".
    Thanks for the advice.
    I was thinking of having a Silver base coat with Rhodium on top, which I'm thinking should give essentially a tarnish resistant Silver finish.

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    daveb's Avatar
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    Wondering if you get the food bits out by dropping the fork into a circulator overnight. Make the water hot and even add a bit of dish detergent to the bath?

    A professional cleaner would prob use a micro version of a sandblaster, replacing the food bits with cleaning media.
    Dave
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    Senior Member MAS4T0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb View Post
    Wondering if you get the food bits out by dropping the fork into a circulator overnight. Make the water hot and even add a bit of dish detergent to the bath?

    A professional cleaner would prob use a micro version of a sandblaster, replacing the food bits with cleaning media.
    Thank you for the tip, I hadn't thought about the old debris possibly being replaced with new.

    I don't think a soak in a circulator would do the trick thought, the gunk in the crevices is kind of like the seasoning that forms at the edges of rivets on frying pans. It's certainly worth a try though!

    If not, maybe sealing it in a bag of oven cleaner for a day would do the trick?

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    Senior Member MAS4T0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS4T0 View Post
    Thanks for the advice.
    I was thinking of having a Silver base coat with Rhodium on top, which I'm thinking should give essentially a tarnish resistant Silver finish.
    There's also the option of Platinum, Palladium, or Dark Chrome. I'm just unsure if fishes other than Chrome or Silver will look garish.

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    I have no idea why you would strip and re plate! Get it cleaned, polish and call it done, a bit of wear is patina.

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    Senior Member MAS4T0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by playford View Post
    I have no idea why you would strip and re plate! Get it cleaned, polish and call it done, a bit of wear is patina.
    There are some seams from casting which I'm intending to sand down smooth and flat (which will ruin the existing coating), so it'll need to be re-plated.

    It's bathing in cleaning chemicals at the moment (along with another similar fork). I'll give it about 12 hours and then post pictures tomorrow of how it came out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS4T0 View Post
    There are some seams from casting which I'm intending to sand down smooth and flat (which will ruin the existing coating), so it'll need to be re-plated.

    It's bathing in cleaning chemicals at the moment (along with another similar fork). I'll give it about 12 hours and then post pictures tomorrow of how it came out.
    are you chroming yourself?

    I've found very few decent chroming folks anymore, lot looks very thing compared to the older stuff (I get bike parts re done), some of the specialist car places are quite nice, but charge the flippin earth for that nice deep chrome.

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    It's all about the environmental regulation and disposal fees (at least in the US). Drives the cost way up, and drove a lot of chromers out of the business. There are still enough around for the amount of work that needs to get done, and some are priced better then others. Getting small parts done doesn't seem to be too difficult, but some chromers only have small tanks now and can no longer plate bigger/ longer parts (i.e, bumpers).
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