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304 stainless hangers with different colors/tones


Original Post
nbrown · · western NC · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5,567

I've used a bunch of different hangers over the years but Fixe seems to be the only brand where the gray color of the metal varies so much. Just curious why this is - any metallurgists out there with insight?

Both 304 stainless
20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
nbrown wrote:I've used a bunch of different hangers over the years but Fixe seems to be the only brand where the gray color of the metal varies so much. Just curious why this is - any metallurgists out there with insight?
Your best bet for an answer would be Fixe Faders in Spain. Let us know what they say.

info@techrock.es is their contact.
C. Williams · · the Climber Cave · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 1,042

Just noticed from your picture, those hangers say PLX. Isn't that the new stainless alloy Fixe is using? Might explain the color change.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
C.Williams wrote:Just noticed from your picture, those hangers say PLX. Isn't that the new stainless alloy Fixe is using? Might explain the color change.
Yep, definitely PLX, not 304, but since they are both PLX, you'd expect them to be the same color as each other at least.
nbrown · · western NC · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5,567
kennoyce wrote: Yep, definitely PLX, not 304, but since they are both PLX, you'd expect them to be the same color as each other at least.
That was my thought as well, but since I ordered their standard 304 stainless, and I couldnt seem to find anything definitive on their website, I just assumed it was 304. Still doesn't explain the color difference.

20KN, I haven't yet contacted fixe but if I do I will share what I find out.
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
nbrown wrote: That was my thought as well, but since I ordered their standard 304 stainless, and I couldnt seem to find anything definitive on their website, I just assumed it was 304. Still doesn't explain the color difference. 20KN, I haven't yet contacted fixe but if I do I will share what I find out.
From what I understand, Fixe isn't making either 304 or 316 anymore, now they only offer one stainless hanger, their new PLX, which is supposed to be far superior to even 316. Still not sure why the two PLX hangers look different though.
nbrown · · western NC · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5,567

Interesting. I think they were listed as the usual PO38 version on the "sale" page. And since I mostly use other brands of hangers these days, I haven't really kept up Fixe changes.

The reason I was so curious is because every time I do put in an order, the shades/tones of the hangers seem to be a bit different. And the shinyness/luster is something I pay close attention to (visual impact).

Thanks for the responses.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490

Certainly curious, I don´t really know how you get that brown shade on stainless apart from flaming it which you really don´t want to be doing for climbing gear.
Mill finish stainless is getting towards that but it´s more tending to black than brown and you don´t want mill finish for climbing gear either.
The variation in shade for normal stainless is to do with the original surface finish and what it was ground to and then whatever pickling/passivating and any other treatment was done later.
The new glue-in from the same material is almost black which is even more curious, I work with duplex stainless and have no idea what they do to it to get that shade.

Edit:- Talked to the metallurgist at my suppliers and he says the near-black colour on the bolts is probably from from forging temperature, normally this is removed chemically or by grinding but I guess Fixe don´t do this. I don´t forge stuff so haven´t any experience there.
The different shades of the hangers can either be temperature related though the process temperatures for the yellow/pale browns are lower (2-300°C) than usually used anywhere in making that kind of product (annealing is ca 1000°C), or it can be from whatever cleaning/post manufacture acid treatment they use. Normal pickling or passivating should leave the typical lightly frosted silvery appearance though so who knows?

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,674
nbrown wrote:the shinyness/luster is something I pay close attention to (visual impact).
My small experience is that it's pretty easy to just spray-paint a bunch of hangers with the desired color. So far I've used one of the non-glossy kinds of Rustoleum, and that seemed good enough for me.

But maybe I'm not getting some key point about "visual impact".

Ken
nbrown · · western NC · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5,567
kenr wrote: My small experience is that it's pretty easy to just spray-paint a bunch of hangers with the desired color. So far I've used one of the non-glossy kinds of Rustoleum, and that seemed good enough for me. But maybe I'm not getting some key point about "visual impact". Ken
Yes, I normally paint them despite the fact that many advise against it for longevity/corrosion reasons. However if they are a dull enough tone of gray then it's not usually necessary. Ironically, the shiniest Fixe hangers (that need paint) are the ones that paint just won't stick to, despite what type I use. I've always suspected it had something to do with how they finish the metal (passivation, etc.) that makes paint not want to stick to the surface.
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
nbrown wrote: Yes, I normally paint them despite the fact that many advise against it for longevity/corrosion reasons. However if they are a dull enough tone of gray then it's not usually necessary. Ironically, the shiniest Fixe hangers (that need paint) are the ones that paint just won't stick to, despite what type I use. I've always suspected it had something to do with how they finish the metal (passivation, etc.) that makes paint not want to stick to the surface.
The ones that paint won't stick to are the zinc plated steel ones. The reason for this is that spray paint has a chemical in it which reacts with zinc through a process called saponification which basically creates a layer of soap between the zinc and the paint, as you can imagine, paint doesn't stick to soap very well. Paint should stick to stainless just fine as long as it is clean.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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