Posted in Restoration

Nickel Pen Clip Restoration

So the clip on the Parker Challenger is heavily brassed and I bought a NOS clip which turned out to be for a junior sized pen – duh. I’ve determined the clip is probably from old Duofold stock or from that stock but stamped with different tooling. As you can see in the picture the finish on the original (on the left) is heavily worn, while the incorrect sized replacement looks GREAT! So what are my options? Other than feeling sorry for myself, what I see is what I have!

Wait one minute and OMG all is not lost, I’ve found a diy process for nickel electroplating that is safe and easy (their words not mine). The process is probably a little unnerving and my wife will be terrified that I’ll blow the house up but definitely worth consideration. I stumbled across the first blog via a Duck Duck Go search by a guy who restores handguns, which included a link to the Instructable process. The pistol refurb blog has a slightly different take on the DIY electroplating process that I need to review both to ascertain which will be best for me.

Original clip vs the incorrect sized NOS clip

A dissertation on electroplating is clearly a rat hole I don’t want to go down, as I’m sure it would be sitting ”on the edge of your seat excitement” and I know nothing of it, so Lets make this super simple. Electroplating is the process of using electrical current to transfer ions from a metal source to a receptor metal using a conductive electrolyte solution. As a public service for nerdy pen enthusiasts I’ll outline my endeavors to give this DIY process a try. Please refer to the external sites for detailed instructions.

The question now is what do we need to make this happen? It is possible to create a nickel acetate (electrolyte) solution using stuff found in any local grocery store, pure nickel and electricity. Grocery stores (check), electricity (check) – nickel…. need to work on that.

So I’ve been searching eBay looking at pure nickel options for the donor metal (that sounds so not right). I’m thinking the nickel battery strip tape will make a good donor – the Instructables did said we could use guitar wire if we separated the nickel wire from the steel core. Just gotta make sure it is pure. Also, after giving it some thought I decided to make a project box containing a barrel Jack (vin), with a fuse and (vout) terminals. This way I can use the barrel Jack on the charger opposed to cutting it off and I decided to use D batteries for the electroplating process since low voltage is recommend for a bright and lasting finish (they are 1.5 volts each). You have to understand I know nothing about electronics but I am geeked about the prospect. All the components have been ordered including a Raspberry Pi which I’ll use as the project box. I have a Raspberry Pi case but it is a soft plastic and I am not sure how it will fare with heat so figured acrylic would be a good choice.

Project components:

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