Heading into my first rechroming experience I heard all sorts of advice, much of it contradictory. After spending considerable time educating myself on the process and the requisite prep-work, I felt nearly as clueless as when I started!
What I needed rechromed was the original exhaust from my 1974 Kawasaki H2B. For the younger members of the audience, that's a 750cc two-stroke, so internal oil and carbon deposits would be an issue. The consensus was to find a radiator shop and have the parts "hot-tanked" to remove the grime before taking them to a chrome shop, but that would add an extra step and additional expense. Thankfully I stumbled across the fine folks at Classic Components in Santa Ana, California, who said they'd handle the whole process. All I had to do was pull the baffles out of the mufflers and ship the pipes to them.
To remove the oil and carbon, techs sandblasted the parts and then placed them in an electrically charged bath. From there, they were stripped of the old chrome, ground, polished, nickel-plated, nickel-buffed and, finally, chrome-plated.
The results were excellent, with a beautiful, smooth shine that closely matches the stock chrome on the rest of the bike. If I could go back in time, I would have put more effort into fixing minor surface imperfections because the new chrome really highlights flaws. But because the H2 is going to see daily use rather than sit in a showroom, it's not a big deal. The total cost, which included rechroming the three head pipes, three mufflers and the original collars and clamps was, $950. That's not cheap, but it's less than I expected considering the size of the parts and the amount of work required.