Try John at Paramount platers in Ashford. Get a big bucket load of stuff you need done and send it off. It's really not worth the hassle doing it at home. You land up with degreasers and chemicals that should not be going down the drain.....
I've got a kit from Gateros Plating, which I bought for doing yellow passivating rather than just plain zinc plating, but the same applies. The big thing is getting the workpiece clean enough to plate - if it's not perfectly clean, then you either get a dull finish, or perhaps worse. Setting the voltage to do the plating can be an issue as well - a proper adjustable power supply is worth having, as the one that comes in the kit is like those old things you used to get in cheap arc welders - a spring that you put a crocodile clip part-way along to control the voltage.
In general, I got some good results, but I got some poor ones too. If you're doing one restoration, want some stuff plating and probably won't want any more doing, it's not worth the hassle IMO*. But if it's something you want to carry on doing, the kit isn't all that expensive. I use normal degreaser, followed by a soak in citric acid to remove rust, followed by a rinse, then the various plating steps which vary according to the finish you want. If your items have a pitted finish for whatever reason, you won't get a decent plate, and a pro won't either, unless they do something to polish out or fill in the pits. I took some out to be done at one point as it was a bit cold to set the kit up in my shed, and his bright finish was more consistently shiny than mine (which I put down to him having better cleaning acids, as he also does chrome) but the black dots in the pits were just the same.
( * I haven't read up on whether there's an easy way to do it with just a battery or battery charger, all comments above are based on a kit at around £130. These days you could probably figure out what's needed and buy it separately, but I wanted to get going quickly so the kit was good for that.)
Great replies - thanks guys Seems that farming stuff out is the way to go.
missed this thread so a late reply. The issue with getting things zinc plated with the compagny i use is that they charge a basic order fee of approx 40 or 50 Euro and then charge a certain amount per kg. I do not know the amount per kg but it is only a few Euros so i try to make the batch i send to them as large as possible and in the end i normally pay around 60 or 70 euro. Its handy to dismantle for example the front and rear suspension and then send out all the stuff. Another batch could be the engine and transmission. I need to split it as i do not have the space to dismantle everything. What i found usefull is to write down all the parts (and where they come from) you send out for galvanising. I make rough sketches of brackets and other special parts. It helps when you are assembling stuff and miss some parts and then you are able to check whether you send it to the platers or not and it can be a usefull check of the platers if they returned everything. Over the years i have send at least 10 shipments to the plating company and never lost a part which is nice. So i would advise you to find some reviews about the compagny you are planning to use as its not nice when parts get lost.
Wise words about the cataloging what is being sent away, and where it all goes. The front suspension rebuild is currently on hold, whilst I tidy the garage, and sort out all the pieces I can gather for a trip to the platers. Interesting about the initial charge - makes sense from a business perspective.
1967 Morris Oxford Traveller 1979 Toyota LandCruiser BJ40 1993 Daimler Double Six 2014 Seat Leon SC Ecomotive