Quoted from RDBowers:
Here are my first attempts at nickel plating. The left set is an example of the original condition. The middle set is my first attempt. The right is my second attempt. The process consisted of soaking in HCl acid until they stopped bubbling. A quick rinse with water. Then into the nickel plating bath. Then another quick rinse. A quick polish should create a nice bright finish.[quoted image]
Nickel plating is my newest favorite thing to do. I just did antique pliers that had all of the original chrome worn off. Nickel does not look like chrome; it's more yellow-ish, where chrome is blue-ish (and stainless steel is in between), but when prepped and polished correctly nickel can be just as mirror-like. I also needed to make new stainless foot kicker plates for a jukebox. I used copper sheet that I cut, bent, and polished. Then I nickel plated them in 2-½ gallons of acetate solution and they came out looking like polished stainless... or very close enough.
Hit that with a rotary wire brush and it will shine up great. Or chuck up the post in a drill and polish with 400 to 800 grit sandpaper. If you accidentally take off too much nickel, just pop it back into the plating solution, but sanding off nickel plating is usually very difficult with sandpaper and nearly impossible with a wire brush. The other trick is to leverage how the original surface shows through because the plating is thin. Polish the metal first, then acid dip, then plate it.
Be careful of the HCL fumes. I am not the safety police... the hazard to your lungs, nose, eyes, etc. is obvious. However, the fumes will also rust any tools that are nearby your HCL solution. I was cleaning something with HCL once and the fumes even caused rust on my chrome tools. I keep HCL in a sealed container and dip in a container with a lid. FWIW, HCL will etch concrete by dissolving the cement, so I also keep water and baking soda handy and make sure I only dip outside.