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Jun 8, 2011
Moby dick 5.11-

What kind of spray-paint do you all use and what your procedures (how many coats, time between coats, etc.) for painting Stainless-steel hangers?

Thanks, I'm rebolting many climbs at my local crag and want to use camo hangers. I live in Canada and getting pre-camoed hangers is not a viable option as MEC doesn't sell them. We get fixe SS hangers pretty cheap- 2$ a hanger. We're lucky to have MEC :-)
From New Brunswick Canada
Joined Dec 8, 2007
1,173 points
Jun 8, 2011
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)
I scuff mine up with a stainless wire brush first. I've noticed that scuffing them up makes a big difference in terms of how long the paint will stay on.

I bring some rock samples to the hardware store and match the color. Where we are, we have black streaks in the rock. So for those areas I take some normally painted ones and mist them with flat black to darken them a tad.

Enamel will tend to last the longest but takes the longest to dry. Important thing is to follow the directions on the paint can bc different paints will require different times between coats for optimum longevity. To paint mine, I assemble them with the bolts & washers then push them through cardboard in rows and paint them all at once.

Another quick how-to note: I've also touched up hangers on the rock. To do this, I make a tight - fitting stencil out of a plastic spiral notebook cover and haul it up with me (on a non-windy day!). Tie a long string through a hole punched in it and let it hang down so you don't get paint all over yourself between bolts. Scuff the hanger on the rock, cover and spray in place on abseil. Sandpaper is best for scuffing hangers on the rock if needed bc wire brushes will turn the rock black or copper color depending on the rock and bristle metal.
Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Joined Sep 13, 2006
1,159 points
Jun 8, 2011
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Ko...
Just a quick tangent question, but why do you want to camo the hangers? Is it because of land-use issues? I ask because the practice of painting hangers has always bothered me. Paint is a serious pollutant, as is the can it came in and all the logistics required to get said can into your hands. The paint chips off in relatively short time anyway, thereby adding those pollutants into the local eco-system at the crag. I guess if it's a really dark rock, raw SS hangers everywhere makes for a bit of an eye-sore, but ecologically speaking it's better to have the eye-sore than the pollutants.

Anyway, I realize this is a tangent, and often times camo hangers allow climbing in areas that would be off limits if unsightly raw hangers were used. But it's always been on my mind so thought I'd bring the point up.
Erik W
From Boulder, CO
Joined Mar 8, 2007
303 points
Jun 8, 2011
Use Rustoleum, Do 5 to 10 coats. Let it dry and spray it again. The more paint the better. Grover
Joined Jul 12, 2010
326 points
Jun 8, 2011
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
I had some hardware powder coated. Same process that produces the painted hangers you see for sale, methinks. Works great. In large batches, can be very cost effective.

Another option is to have someone who paints cars do an automotive style of paint job on them, but, use camo paint (or any paint that is close in color). You can always spray another coat of flatter or more matching paint later to match the rock better. Won't chip.

Surface prep is a biggie, but, more getting your hangers clean rather than scuffing up the surface. Some type of solvent degrease with an approapriate dry time works well, but, make sure you handle the hangers after the cleaning so you don't contaminate them with oil from your fingers, etc.

I sometimes use a primer, dry, then topcoat. Setting the hangers in a dust free area is good.

For me, the biggest thing to keep the paint from chipping (besides painting clean hangers) is allowing them to dry between coats. If I let them set for a few days, the topcoat is pretty bomber.

Mostly use Rust-o-leum. Also use a Rust-o-leum product to finish them off, a "decorative" splatter coat. Seems to add both additional camo and some surface texture that makes the finish a bit more durable.

Best way to keep the paint on is to use a pro, though. Seriously consider a powder coater or auto painter, especially if you can find someone there who climbs or will give you a good deal.

As far as painting hangers in place...I've seen where folks spray paint right onto the rock. Looks terrible. Easy enough to go to a model store and buy some enamel paint (Testor, etc) and just take a brush with, dip in the small bottle, and hand touch up. No need for a spray can.

Stainless hanger and bolt paint job.  Not a bad ma...
Stainless hanger and bolt paint job. Not a bad match.

Brian in SLC
Joined Oct 6, 2003
11,030 points
Jun 9, 2011
Grande Grotto
Just an FYI, I've read over on RC that getting SS hangers powder coated somewhat reduces their corrosion resistance.

Jim Titt posted over there "Crevice corrosion and itīs related problem of pitting are common in coated stainless steel products and really anyone using this sort of coated hanger is asking for trouble. In order to get good adhesion of the coating it is nescessary to destroy the oxide coating with some kind of etch primer, thus removing the stainless steelīs protective barrier. Once the coating is damaged the crevice corrosion can begin. "

Once the powder coating is damaged water can get underneath it and will be trapped, excluding the oxygen which forms the protective layer on the stainless steel. Crevice corrosion is then inevitable."

I paint my hangers as well (both plated and SS) simply to reduce visual impact. The Plated and some SS shine like MIRRORS on the wall. Not a low profile at all.

I did some research and found the answer somewhat.

It turns out that "normal" spray paints like Rustoleum have chemicals that react with the zinc or galvanized coating. This reaction basically forms a layer of "soap" under the dried paint meaning it doesn't stick AT ALL.

What you want is LATEX based spray paint. Krylon makes one called H2O Latex paint (found on Amazon). The Latex paint uses different chemicals that don't form the "soap". I've had good results with this on Fixe Plated hangers as well as stainless. The latex seems to stick pretty well and chips FAR LESS than the Rustoleum.

You could do a latex layer or two for sticking and then go rustoleum for the final coats.

I do NOT know if a basic painting will cause the corrosion issues mentioned by Jim. The Latex (water based) is just sticking to the surface and not etching it in anyway. I don't know though...
From TX
Joined Jun 2, 2006
1,238 points
Jun 9, 2011
Hey, you forgot to add this bit!

"Metolius RAP hangers are 1018 mild steel which will corrode quickly in a marine or wet environment. We recommend their usage only in drier climates. Once the powder coating is breached - which can be done when tightening the bolt, from the wrench if your not careful, or the backside when the hanger gets tightened into the rock - the degradation will begin. Once the powder coating is breached, it does actually work against you by trapping moisture and accelerate the decay process.

Whatever hanger and fastener combo are used, they need to be of the same material to prevent the galvanic process from occuring! Additionally, the Metolius powder coated stainless steel hangers (Enviro Hangers), shouldn't be used in marine or wet environments due to the same moisture trapping issues.

Cheers - Metolius Climbing"

As I wrote on the other thread, covering any safety-critical part so corrosion will be accelerated and it cannot be visually inspected is a bad idea. Only in the US is reducing the visual impact an issue, in Europe we tend to think the climbers with brightly coloured ropes, wierd clothing and shouting `Allezī make the place look untidy!

We dull the surface of all our products to reduce the shine by tumbling them in abrasive chips and acid or a normal pickling bath will have the same effect.

Jim Titt
From Germany
Joined Nov 10, 2009
185 points
Jun 9, 2011
Grande Grotto
So Jim, even painting a SS hanger can be bad? I typically don't "seal" my hangers in paint (latex) but coat the front to reduce reflectivity.

Yep - Visual impact CAN be a big deal here. Depends on the location and rock type etc but there are spots where you can spot a route from hundreds of feet away. Just look for the metal glints of light.
From TX
Joined Jun 2, 2006
1,238 points
Jun 9, 2011
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
Brian in SLC wrote:
Also use a Rust-o-leum product to finish them off, a "decorative" splatter coat. Seems to add both additional camo and some surface texture that makes the finish a bit more durable.

i have had pretty good luck with this too. (on top of the primer base coat) think its called "make-it-stone" by rustoleum. a clear coat on top of that makes it more durable.
Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Dec 12, 2002
3,752 points
Jun 9, 2011
We use Rust-o-leum, they make some great matches- we prime with red- a perfect match to the rock here, and then use their camo colors for a top coat, depending.

time to dry for the top coat especially makes a difference, i hate it when i have to paint hangers last minute- even in the bag the paint can chip off. a few days and the stuff becomes much more durable.

fixe does sell camo hangers- and i'm sure Kevin would ship them to MEC if MEC ordered them from him special. i much prefer those to painting.
John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 1, 2004
2,393 points

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