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Thread: Which is Better - Nickel or Chrome Plating?

  1. #1
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    Default Which is Better - Nickel or Chrome Plating?

    I was wondering if someone knowledgeable in the area of metallurgy can list the pros and cons of nickel versus chrome plating? Most of the old Gillette safety razors seem to be nickel plated. Most of the more recent safety razors seem to be chrome.

    I have observed that the chrome razors seem to have a rougher finish - indeed - some members have complained of "sloppy" workmanship on the Merkurs. But is it the workmanship or the chrome finish? I have a Feather Portable in chrome and it seems to have the same problem. The Japanese and Germans are known for quality manufacturing - so I am just wondering if this is a consequence of using a chrome finish?

    Or maybe chrome is cheaper to use than nickel???

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    Quote Originally Posted by dreadpirate View Post

    Or maybe chrome is cheaper to use than nickel???
    This would be my thought....
    I have had show chrome done on many of my bike parts and they always do a three part finish, copper, nickel then chrome which is very expensive.

    The new razors I've seen don't have the nickel base coat and I have seen many not so nice looking razors, many of which the chrome is chipping or flakeing off.

    The Nickel plating of old is much better and clearly lasts longer, but it's more expensive to do today. IMHO of coarse.

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    I much prefer nickel to chrome, it just seems to be a hardier and nicer finish, my old SS razors will tell you that themselves, but at the end of the day even manufacturers of modern day DE razors are governed by world price markets
    I sedederserve to lose some man points


    Richie

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    Quote Originally Posted by R-James View Post
    but at the end of the day even manufacturers of modern day DE razors are governed by world price markets
    That's it, cost to customer....

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    I would rather pay more for nickel than have to do with chrome, but I only shave with vintage gillettes so this issue does not really bother me too much.
    I sedederserve to lose some man points


    Richie

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    Quote Originally Posted by R-James View Post
    I would rather pay more for nickel than have to do with chrome, but I only shave with vintage gillettes so this issue does not really bother me too much.
    +1...vintage razors rule...

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    I think the Feather Portable is nickel-plated. If you hold it next to a Merkur it will be a softer yellowish color as opposed to a blueish tint. My Feather seems nicely plated without flaws. I like the "warmness" of nickel but I think chrome is probably a harder metal. You can see that nickel-plated Gillettes show wear with pitting and brassing after a while. I haven't seen that happen with chrome but like you said chrome plating of razors is more recent.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreadpirate View Post
    I have observed that the chrome razors seem to have a rougher finish - indeed - some members have complained of "sloppy" workmanship on the Merkurs. But is it the workmanship or the chrome finish? I have a Feather Portable in chrome and it seems to have the same problem. The Japanese and Germans are known for quality manufacturing - so I am just wondering if this is a consequence of using a chrome finish?

    Or maybe chrome is cheaper to use than nickel???
    Muhle-Pinsel sells the same razor for less with the nickel finish. You have to pay over $10 more for the chrome.

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    Both Chrome and Nickel have varing hardness. With that considered Chrome generally is the harder of the two. Chrome however likes to peel which you have noticed in the past. This is due to the fact that some metals bond better to more metals than others. Nickel is known to bond better than Chrome while Copper seems to bond to anything. I have on more than one occation unintentionally plated something in copper when the chemical bath being used had a high copper ion count. Nickel can also be buffed to some degree while Chrome is more of a pain....
    ~Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zot! View Post
    I think the Feather Portable is nickel-plated. If you hold it next to a Merkur it will be a softer yellowish color as opposed to a blueish tint. My Feather seems nicely plated without flaws. I like the "warmness" of nickel but I think chrome is probably a harder metal. You can see that nickel-plated Gillettes show wear with pitting and brassing after a while. I haven't seen that happen with chrome but like you said chrome plating of razors is more recent.
    Having read your post I pulled out my Feather Portable and I think you are right - it does look like nickel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belegnole View Post
    Both Chrome and Nickel have varing hardness. With that considered Chrome generally is the harder of the two. Chrome however likes to peel which you have noticed in the past. This is due to the fact that some metals bond better to more metals than others. Nickel is known to bond better than Chrome while Copper seems to bond to anything. I have on more than one occation unintentionally plated something in copper when the chemical bath being used had a high copper ion count. Nickel can also be buffed to some degree while Chrome is more of a pain....
    That is interesting - thanks!

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    Honestly I'd love a copper nickel mix (ship alloy) since it looks nice and is anti-bacterial. A non tarnishing silver alloy would be shiny and nice for the same reason.
    -Aaron

  13. #13

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    It is true that nickel (as well as gold) bonds better than chrome.The nickel-bath is in principal about the same price as one with chrome but while nickel and gold will set down evenly on the workpiece chrome does not. It tends to grow a "beard" on outside corners and will not set down on inside corners and holes.For this reason you need electrodes in the chrome bath to direct the ions in every place.That is the main reason of the difference in price.
    This ofcourse does not necessarily mean nickel is a better plating; as in all jobs it has to be done properly and it is hard to tell what the quality of the plating is just by looking at it.However,your best chance for trouble is chrome-plating and its main advantage maybe that it gives less allergic reactions (quit a lot of people suffer from a (minor) nickel allergy).

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