Refinishing & Plating Company

October 1, 2010

Refinishing & Plating Company

Anton, Clarice, and Ruth Nagel

(414) 481-2222

305 E. Lincoln Ave.

(replies by Ruth Nagel)

Q10 Nagels

From Left: Ruth Nagel, Anton Nagel, Clarice Nagel ~photo Michael Timm

1. Who started your business in 1971? When and why did the business move to Milwaukee?

My father Anton studied metal finishing as a tradesman in Augsburg, Germany. He moved here for a better life and a dream to start his own business. Originally, the business started in Madison, Wis., but in 1973 they decided to move to a bigger location in Milwaukee.

2. How long does it take to learn your craft? What are the most challenging components?

It takes years to learn this craft because we specialize in many different types of metals and finishes. Each metal has a different process and new set of challenges.

3. What types of objects do you replate and refinish? What is the difference between replating and refinishing?

We replate and refinish antiques, door hardware, floor and table lamps, light fixtures, stained glass, artwork, shower and kitchen fixtures, religious items, boat parts, and small car parts. If it is metal we can probably help you. Refinishing is polishing on solid copper, brass, and sterling. Some examples are wash boilers, candlesticks, brass beds, etc. Plating is done when customers want to change the finish they have. An example is plating a steel doorknob and changing it to satin nickel.

4. What is the largest object you have replated? The most memorable?

The largest object we replated is a fireplace. The most memorable was when we helped to refinish religious items for the Basilica of St. Josaphat.

5. Why do you recommend that an object be waxed or lacquered after refinishing?

Because it protects your piece(s) from the environment and daily wear and tear on the piece(s). We want to give our customers a long-lasting finish so they can enjoy it for years to come.

6. In our culture, where we tend to toss-out-and-buy-new rather than repair or restore, does your work mostly entail working on antiques or religious objects? What other projects do people bring to you?

Our business specializes in metal. We do all kinds of remodeling projects for our customers. People bring us old and new items for refinishing. Many of our customers want special finishes that they cannot find, are not offered, or they just like their piece(s). Why buy new if you like what you have already?

7. Do you refinish silverware? Is that an expensive process?

Yes, we refinish silverware. Silver is a precious metal so our price depends on the market price. Plating silver can be expensive but a lot of parents/grandparents fix up their old sets so they can give them away to their family as a family heirloom.

8. Why did you decide to locate on Lincoln Avenue?

We located on Lincoln Avenue because it is a good location for our business and it is a main street easy to find for our customers.

9. Are your clients mainly owners of objects or do you also work with decorators and restoration firms? Any local examples?

Our customers range from a private customer to small commercial jobs. For example, we did business for Brass Light Gallery before they put in their own plating.

10. How do you protect yourself and the environment from any hazardous chemicals used in your craft?

Education is the best way to protect oneself. By belonging to NASF (National Association of Surface Finishers) we have guest speakers who keep us informed with regulations, new products, and technologies in our field. The environment is our top concern and we are recognized for diligent compliance to the environmental standards set by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

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2 Comments on "Refinishing & Plating Company"

  1. Bob Newcomb on Mon, 11th May 2015 4:15 pm 

    At our home in Verona WI we have 4 sets of polished Brass entry door hardware that is tarnished. Can it be refinished?
    I looked into replacing it and the manufacturer said that even the stock that they sell is starting to tarnish.
    The hardware is 17 years old.
    thank you,

  2. James Michael Hughes II on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 6:12 pm 

    Wow it’s nice to find a “local” company! I am in need of finding a company to re-plate my door hardware. This will finally top off my long 3 year project of completely restoring my Victorian home. I love the idea its family own and like I said in WI.

    How do you charge, per piece…weight?
    I look forward to your response.
    James Michael Hughes II

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