Hydrocarbon synthesis is carried out and hydrogenation catalysts are prepared by plating Al with Fe, Co, or Ni with or without promoter. The Al is reacted with a salt of the metal. When using a 20% solution of FeCl3.6 H2O and 8 to 10-mesh Al, the time of contact is 15-30 min. During this time approximately 10-15% of the Fe is deposited on the Al. The preferred temperature is 125°-135° F. In using powdered Al, not over 2 l. of solution is used and it is added to the Al. In this case, the time of contact should be <5 min. Sulfates, nitrates, or chlorides are satisfactory salts. Under certain conditions an Fe carbonyl solution may be used. 5 United States patents cited.