Ludwig chrome plating rumor

JohnnyVibesAZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
371
Reaction score
344
Location
Tucson, AZ
Slingerlands was triple plated. Scratch coat of copper, then nickle then decorative chrome. All done at the Niles factory in house
Yes, I remember Slingerland advertising their triple-chrome plating. What's wrong with that? You can't chrome plate on top of chrome, so their claim was misleading. The process you stated makes a lot of sense. I love Slingerland's old chrome-over-brass hoops.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
21,581
Reaction score
4,944
Location
Illinois
Ludwig has always had their Supra shells triple plated. Sometimes you can see the copper color a bit on the interior of 60s drums which leads to people thinking that they have a brass shell. And the nickle layer is a necessity as well. Chrome is not silver colored. The mirrorlike surface you see on any chrome plated item is nickel plate. The outer chrome layer is more or less a clear metal coating that prevents the nickel underneath from ever tarnishing. What we all call "chrome" is technically "nickel chrome". This is why you can have lugs and hoops dechromed down to their nickel layer if you really need nickel hardware.

Plating aluminum is just a bad idea to begin with due to the nature of the metal and how it oxidizes. If you do a very good job of prep and plating it should be fine because oxygen won't get through to the aluminum. But if there's tiny pinholes in the plating or some contamination on the shell prior to plating then it's a ticking time bomb. Poor storage conditions can also contribute.

From Ludwig's standpoint I would imagine they were informed of this potential issue with plating aluminum from the start. It was probably assumed that the plating would last 10 years or so before flaking and they likely felt that was just fine. All the better reason for you to buy another snare drum down the road. That's just good ole American business sense.

This video, although by Sonor, shows almost exactly how Supras were made, including the plating process.


As far as I know there are no similar videos showing Ludwig's operations but the steps would be more or less the same.
 
Last edited:

K.O.

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
21,581
Reaction score
4,944
Location
Illinois
Certainly UK voltage is 240v, compared to the US standard of110v. What difference that makes to the process I'm not sure, as most platers would use transformers if they need different voltages/ amperages.
Electroplating is a DC process so whatever AC voltage is coming into the building shouldn't have a bearing on that used in the plating process. The DC voltage used needs to be of a specific low voltage and at a particular amperage based on the surface area of what's being plated.
 

dboomer

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
1,180
Reaction score
620
Location
Visalia CA
Chrome plating has changed drastically over the last decade due to the “WEEE directive”. There were a large number of formulations outlawed for things to be sold in the EU. Since most manufacturers build only one way for worldwide sales they follow the WEEE standards.

I’m not implying it is better or worst, just different.
 

jptrickster

DFO Star
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
11,047
Reaction score
5,470
Location
Fairfield County
Until the late ‘80s they were not playing Supras properly, which was why the chrome peeled off all the time. To plate aluminum, you have to plate copper, then nickel then chrome. Plating chrome directly to aluminum doesn’t work, same for steel. Beyond that, I couldn’t say.
Yeah That was the anti- galvanic process said so right on the sticker!
 

hawker

DFO Veteran
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
173
I was a car guy 40+ years ago when dual point ignition and dual quad carburetors were high performance. Now I can’t even change spark plugs ‘cause I can’t find them under all the crammed up plastic covering everything.
And the factory doesn't want you to change them....more for the dealer to do and charge you for. On the plus side; there are many cars and plugs that will last 100K miles these days. No points, condensers, plugs or carbs to "tune up" any longer. I miss my '70 4-4-2.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
21,581
Reaction score
4,944
Location
Illinois
I should mention I've been trying a little home electroplating of late. Trying to nickel plate some of my homemade brass grommets. I've had some success in that they are silver when I get done with them but not as shiny as I'd like. It's actually not that hard to do. You can use batteries or a phone charger for your DC source, although I opted to spend 50 bucks on a power supply so I could dial in the voltage and the amps to use (both are somewhat critical).

Things get exponentially more complicated if you want to add chrome over the nickel with nasty chemicals and toxic solutions. I'll just stick to nickel.
 

BennyK

DFO Star
Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
16,394
Reaction score
3,896
Premier’s plating process is steeped in just about every legend ever heard though some of it might be actual truth. So in keeping with the truth, here goes: Premier’s plating division was actually headed up by Sasquatch. The plating division was located on the shores of Loch Ness and we all know what happens there. On their off days the staff of the plating division teamed up with a group of ancient aliens and that’s how Stonehenge came to be. It’s really quite simple.

Having said all that I’m a huge fan of Premier and own 3 of their kits.

And Mike Ellis (the Drum Fettler) is hilarious.
Final buffing done by Turkish leprechauns somewhere in the Carpathian mountains .
 

pgm554

Very well Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
Messages
914
Reaction score
811
Location
SF Bay Area
I find it hard to believe that Ludwig, a company known to save and use every last nut and screw, would ship shells to England to be plated. Especially when, at that time there were probably a hundred reputable plating companies in the immediate surrounding Chicagoland area. Including Reliable plating which put their stamp on many shells. On aluminum it wasn't always so reliable though. But that's just the nature of that metal.
Funny how companies like Yam can do such a great job on plating aluminum shells and Ludwig still kind of sucks at it.
I've got a 40 plus year old Rogers dyna and the chrome is still impeccable.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
21,581
Reaction score
4,944
Location
Illinois
I've got a 40 plus year old Rogers dyna and the chrome is still impeccable.
The difference is the shell material, brass shells like the Dyna (and the Ludwig Super-Ludwig) tend to have really nice chrome on them. Brass adores being chrome plated, aluminum fights against it from the get go.

It was common knowledge that plating aluminum is going to lead to trouble down the road. Like I said in my first post I'm sure Ludwig weighed that into the equation when they changed shell material and decided that the plating would last "long enough". My guess is that if you asked WFL II in 1965 or even 1975 if he was concerned about what might happen to the plating on a supra by 2021...well I'd expect him to say "nope, they can buy a new one".
 


Top