This process is pretty easy...all things considered. All it is is a big stainless pot full of TSP and water. The bubbles are hydrogen. Dipping the highly polished brass bell into the mix is not very sexy, but it DOES get rid of all fingerprints, residual polishing compound, and anything else which will interfear with the plating job. This process involves several dips into the solution, scrubbing with toothbrushes and soft cloths between dips....and takes about an hour per bell. Sometimes, the cleaning reveals flaws which need to be buffed out....say a segment which was protected from final polishing by a line of tripoli, or just plain missed when it was on the buffer. The end result is ready to go into the plating bath.
A knifemaker of my aquaintance tells me the most dangerous job in knife making is putting the final polish on it. One wandering thought, and the piece gets caught, and is flung across the room. He showed me two scars on his hand where a knife was caught by the buffing wheel, flung onto the concrete floor, and it bounced back to go right through his hand! Another jeweler friend of mine tells me that she has never been able to finish a large piece without it flying against the far wall at least once!
As I mentioned, not much to see but suds and wires! But the result is nothing short of stunning! Even through the soap suds, you can see the glory that this will become.