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Plating

Plating

A trumpet begins the silver plating process.

Plating is a process in which an electric current is passed through a metal object, in this case a trumpet, and through a metal plate known as an anode. In this video, a trumpet is prepared to receive a coating of silver plating.

Before beginning, the trumpet is polished and cleaned. It is then submerged into an electro cleaning tank which uses a solvent solution and electric current to repel anything on the surface of the instrument. The video clip begins as Martin dips the trumpet into a rinse tank which removes any remaining solvent. Martin then dunks it into something called a strike tank. At this point, a very thin layer of silver plating is applied to the trumpet very quickly. This thin layer acts as a primer and allows for a thicker, brighter, and more even layer of silver to be accumulated on the trumpet in the actual plating tank. Once the silver strike is complete, the trumpet is carefully lowered into a tank containing a solution of silver cyanide and several silver anode plates. The trumpet is hung from a bar across the top of the tank with a positive electrical current running through it. When the trumpet receives this positive charge, silver molecules from the negatively charged anodes are drawn through the solution and attach themselves to the brass of the trumpet. The plating process takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Once the plating is complete, the trumpet is covered in a uniform layer of silver that is the perfect thickness to provide a brilliant shine that many players desire.