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An Explanation of Plating

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The following is an excerpt from the Berea Hardwoods catalog No. 10. Used with permission. Copyright Berea Hardwoods 2005.

Since plating is such an important part of writing instrument kits we would like to offer a brief explanation of plating in general and of the plating we use.

GOLD PLATING. Gold plating is ultimately not durable when exposed to abrasion. There just is no "free lunch". Gold plating can be made more durable depending on the method used to plate, additives to the gold, and techniques employed. No matter what, however, is done all gold plating will wear off over time when abraded. This is simply a fact of physics. Plating other than gold can be very durable. The following is an explanation of the various plating we use.

GOLD. All gold plating used on our kits is 24K "upgrade gold". Upgrade means that the parts are plated using the rack method and that small amounts of cobalt or palladium are added to the plating chemicals. This enhances the durability of the gold plating. The tumbled method, which we do not use, produces an inferior gold plating and is less costly.

TITANIUM GOLD. This method produces extremely durable and the most durable plating. The process used is called PVD (particle vapor deposition). Titanium nitride matched to the color of gold is molecularly bonded to the part and then 24K gold is bonded (sputtered) on the part to achieve a color match to our other gold parts. The parts are again re-plated after this. The final result is that the parts will virtually never show wear. We pioneered this process for writing instruments and are not aware of another company using the exact process we are. . .

CHROME. This is an extremely durable plating. Under normal use this plating should hold up for many years[.]

PLATINUM. This [is] a very durable hard plating. We use real platinum rather than rhodium and it should be expected to hold up under normal careful use for many years.

BLACK TITANIUM. This is titanium oxide molecularly bonded (PVD). This plating is unbelievably hard and durable. It will last for many, many years.

The following was added by Ernie McFarlane.

BLACK CHROME. This is the same durable black chrome plating that is found on the parts in almost every pen kit. The improved black chrome is an extremely durable, rich, and bright black plating.

COPPER. The bright and satin copper platings have a proprietary coating over the copper. This coating provides superior durability and tarnish resistance. Bear Tooth Woods is proud to be the original designer of the copper plating, and we are the exclusive reseller of copper plating for Berea Hardwoods. The quality of the Berea kits and the proprietary coating means that Bear Tooth Woods is still the best place to get your copper plated pens. Do not risk buying from the knock-offs with their inferior kits and unproven platings.

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Owner: Ernie McFarlane