Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island Section

Electroshine Tour and Lunch

Electroshine Tour and Lunch

Vancouver Island
Saturday, June 17, 2017 -
11:00am to 1:30pm
British Columbia

A small group of enthusiasts gathered in June for a special tour of Electroshine Metal Refinishers, in Sidney. Electroshine is one of only five chrome plating shops remaining in BC and one of just a couple whose focus is the labour-intensive, high quality work that leads to first-class restorations. The company specializes in triple plating, numbering Rudi & Co. and Coachwerks among its regular clients.

Owner Randy Hunter and his assistant Treg walked us through the process, including a visit to the room where plating takes place. On display were a variety of parts under restoration, ranging from small screws to bumpers. The grille from a 30's Packard had been disassembled into apparently dozens of component pieces, each demanding its own attention.

Electroplating is done at 12,000 volts DC. Steel parts are first buffed to a bright, smooth finish. Dents and bruises are hammered out or filled with lead. Rust perforations are filled with metal and filed flat. Parts are chemically cleaned, electroplated with copper, then polished to a brilliant shine to reveal any imperfections in the surface. These are hammered out or filled with lead and the part takes a second trip through the copper plating and polishing steps. Once the contours are perfect the part is electroplated with nickel, buffed bright and, finally, it is chrome plated to protect the nickel surface from oxidation. Yellow or white cadmium plating is also available.  

As well as steel parts, Electroshine restores and plates pot, or white, metal parts, carefully buffing the surfaces flat, then drilling and filling the pits in a difficult and painstaking procedure.

Chrome plating businesses have been put through the wringer by every level of government concerned with health and safety, and liquid and atmospheric emissions. That's the main reason there are fewer plating shops around then there were a decade or two ago. Electroshine’s plating solutions are completely reused, with losses made up by the addition of metal powders and water. The only liquid effluent comes from the final rinse tank, which is filtered and treated to almost drinking water standards. A high volume air extraction system sends exhaust air from the plating room through an electrostatic precipitator. 

After leaving Randy with a small gift, we headed to Bistro Suisse for lunch. As the name implies, this restaurant offers Swiss-German cuisine. A variety of dishes disappeared from our tables to a chorus of approval. Thanks go to tour organizer Bob Wilson and lunch organizer Linda Derrick.