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Here is the coating fixture. The steel part is hand-fashioned with 14 gauge galvanized steel wire, available from Lowes for maybe $8. The center post is to prevent the tightly wrapped chain from deforming the fixture.

Here is a closeup. After the galvanized steel wire is bent to shape and soldered, the top and bottom are wrapped with 24 gauge copper wire I got from RioGrande. Maybe $15 a pound.

The reason for looping the 24 gauge copper wire on the bottom of the fixture is to hold the chain in place. You don't want the chain to contact any other part of the chain, as one or the other part will end up uncoated. The top of the fixture and the hanging hook make electrical contact with the chain, and also hold the chain in place.

You can reuse the fixture later, but you must remove the Kliar because it is an excellent insulator. Remove either using a dremel or drill with a steel brush, or, easier, using Kliar e-coating stripping solution (then brush off whatever remains). I made plenty of errors the first year I used Kliar--the stripping solution is really useful if you overcoat, which is easy to do with the transparent Kliar Ceramix. If you overcoat with the Ceramix, the chain will look like it is dipped in a weak solution of white paint (ugh!).


  I attached one end of the chain to one side of the fixture using 24 gauge copper wire. This fixture is for chain with links. I also have a more complex fixture for beading chain and snake chain. Those chains don't have links, and if you try to bend them to fit this fixture, they will bend or break. Let me know if you need to see the beading/snake chain fixture.

The chain is pulled TIGHT to the fixture. If you don't pull it TIGHT, the links will not make good enough electrical contact with each other, and the coating will fail. The second end of the chain is attached to the fixture similar to the first end.

In this picture I wound the chain, then held it tight while I attached the 2nd copper wire. It is easier to just use a piece of chain with wire already attached at both ends, but you cannot make maximum use of the fixture that way--your wire will be either short or long (aim for short).


I check the resistance between the chain and the end of the copper wire on the hook to make sure I am making good electrical contact. You don't have to do this if you pull the wire tight, and if you make sure the wire doesn't have an existing coating on it which has high electrical resistance. The resistance in the picture is 4.5 ohms. I have coated chain with up to maybe 50 ohms, but that requires leaving it in the Kliar solution longer.



  Next steps

1. Electroclean

2. Rinses (I use 3 rinses between steps to keep contamination to a minimum--distilled water is cheap.)

3. Acid dip

4. Rinses

5. Plating (if necessary)

6. Rinses

7. Acid dip

8. Rinses

9. The Kliar directions on the Rio Grande website say to let the piece air dry, or use compressed air to dry. I don't do these steps because after the electroclean and the acid dip, I don't want the piece to sit or be air dried. My reasoning is that letting it sit will allow some tarnishing, and air drying will introduce oil from the compressed air. Actually, I missed the directions for allowing the piece to dry, so I just coated them wet for more than a year before finding out I wasn't quite following the directions. As far as I can tell, it works fine, plus it allows you to coat more pieces because the level of solution is not markedly reduced every time you take a piece out of the Kliar solution.


Here is the coating setup. I am using a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) container that I sawed off from a container that originally had magnesium citrate in it. I would never use such a container for plating solutions--too likely to contaminate, and very hard to clean. However, the Kliar directions say using polypropylene is OK, and the Kliar is actually sold in an HDPE container, so I figured it should work. Once I have poured the Kliar into the HDPE "beaker", I just cover it between uses with plastic wrap, I don't pour it back into the original container.

Originally I used a glass beaker for Kliar, but once the coating had been in the beaker, it built up some on the glass, and is VERY difficult to remove (unless you use the e-stripping solution which I did not have originally) and then it sometimes would spark. A 50V spark makes quite a bit of noise, and I'd throw my hands up in the air, thus throwing Kliar all over the place. The HDPE "beaker" seems not to have this problem, is very inexpensive, and if it builds up a coating which sparks, I will save the Kliar and throw away the beaker.

The extra container around the HDPE is just for stability. The glass rod helps to prevent the fixture or chain from contacting the stainless steel anode, thus causing the 50V spark and Kliar goes flying.

I have found that coating chain using the fixture takes somewhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. I'm sure it depends on all the variables which affect electrical resistance. I turn the fixture around halfway through to get more even coverage.


Here is my power supply-a used 70 volt 6 amp HP power supply I got on eBay for about $105 including shipping. The Kliar directions say you need a 60V 2 amp power supply. I seriously question the need for 2 amps, or even 1 amp. While I haven't tried it, I think 0.1 amp is probably plenty. I've watched the meter, and it barely moves, but it's hard to watch and coat at the same time.

The 2 amp requirement makes the power supply much more expensive. After years of doing this, I believe it can be done with a much lower current power supply, but I already purchased this one, and it is still working.


Here is the coated chain hanging to dry. Once dry, it becomes clear. If you've overcoated it, it is cloudy. Then you have to chemically remove it and start over.

After you cure it in an oven, you're hoping it will look the same. However, I've found that silver chain subjected to higher than the 270F recommended curing temperature turns somewhat PINK! Also, gold colored chain tends to turn quite yellow even at the recommended curing temperature--not sure what they are using to get the gold color. Items I have gold-plated myself don't do that.


Just to show you how to use Kliar with metal other than chain, here are some rhinestone settings. It's taken me YEARS to figure out how to wire them so all the settings make good enough electrical contact.

When you're plating, the solution is low resistance, so if you don't make good electrical contact between the piece and the wire, the solution does that for you.

Kliar is not a low-resistance solution. You must make good, stiff electrical contact by bending the wire so it holds the piece securely, or you will get uneven results. You can see the spirals of wire I've made--took awhile to figure out how to make a tight spiral without breaking the wire. Before I figured out how to make the tight spirals, I would try to coat settings, and some of them would coat and some would not, so I'd have to ID the ones without the coating and try again later. HUGE time waster.

My experience with settings and other rigid parts is that if they are silver plated, 3 seconds, turn it around, 3 more seconds is enough. If gold plated, it takes longer--for reasons I don't understand, resistance is higher.

You can always dip it in again(before curing) if you don't have enough coating, but it's a pain to remove if you overcoat.