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Looking for a Chip Resistant Finish for "Texas Washers"

Q. I need to paint some large washers to be used in a bowling type game. The washers would frequently come in contact with each other and a cement floor. Would powder paint be more durable than a Krylon type spray paint in this situation? Is there another option?

John Ionata
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Texas Washers

(affil links)

Q. There is a game we play here in Texas called 'Washers'. Without going into detail the basic premise of the game is to pitch 1" washers into a 3" hole from 30' away. The washers are painted so that each player can identify which washers are his when it comes time to tally the score. The problem is that the paint chips off when a washer that is on the ground is struck by one that has just been pitched. After a while most of the paint gets hammered off. Is there a do-it-yourself coating (that's safe to use in your garage) that works better than paint? Thank you.

Lee Wince
Dallas, Texas

A. If your washers are galvanized or zinc plated, they need to be primed with a primer built especially for zinc [ Galvanized Metal Primer [affil link]].

Next, try using a two part epoxy paint.

Grit (sand) blast the parts which will give a lot more surface and far better mechanical holding of the paint.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

A. I buy 8 washers and drill 4 holes on the top and bottom and sides and don't bother painting them . This works great . Only drill four washers and use them with the other four washers for a great game :-) Thanks , Claude...

Claude Rock
- Osceola , New York

Q. I am in charge of a boys' workshop at a summer camp. One of the projects is a washer toss game. I have obtained 2 1/2" galvanized washers, but of course they are all the same color. Somehow half of them need to be made visually different from the other half so the game can be scored. Is there any relatively simple method for applying a relatively durable color to a galvanized washer? It can be any color, as long as it looks different from galvanized.

Thanks for any help. We can always have the kids apply markers to their washers but I'm hoping to find something better and a little more permanent. I know fancy plastic coated and powder coated washers are available but they're way too expensive for us.

James Kaiser
camp counselor - Granger, Indiana
May 7, 2009

A. A spray paint can is the quickest and cheapest. It is not a lifetime fix, but the washers can be repainted as required.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
June 22, 2009

A. Aerosol spray cans?

Terry Hickling
Birmingham, United Kingdom
June 22, 2009


A. Hi, James K. I think you should look for some black iron non-galvanized washers. If unavailable, you could strip the galvanizing before painting. I don't think spray paint will stick to most galvanizing. Here's a picture of galvanized fence posts that presumably professional painters attempted to paint (Sideling Hill Exhibit Center, Maryland).


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 23, 2009

A. If galvanized = zinc plated, try next solution:1 heaping teaspoon kitchen salt and 2 teaspoon copper sulphate [on eBay or Amazon affil link]dissolved I 1 cup of water.Black finish,when dry clearcoat it! Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
June 23, 2009

A. Looks as though the painters stuffed up the surface prep before painting, in Ted's photo. But the wire mesh would also have been galv or plated, and its paint looks OK. It's all in the surface prep for long life.

But for the short-term original purpose, heck, just use the spray cans already suggested.

Bill Reynolds
Bill Reynolds [deceased]
consultant metallurgist - Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
We sadly relate the news that Bill passed away on Jan. 29, 2010.

June 25, 2009

Q. Well, my question didn't get posted 'till after the camp was over so I just let the kids use permanent markers to color the washers (and their hands!). Looks like, except for Goran's suggestion, the consensus is to just use spray paint. Since surface prep is apparently so important, what would be the best prep for a galvanized surface? I also may experiment with Goran's suggestion.

Next year I'll be ready if we do this project again!
Thanks to all for your responses.

James Kaiser
- Granger, Indiana
July 16, 2009

Self-Etching Primer

(affil links)

Hi, James. Apologies that we were so slow this time and weren't able to help you. But in a "Hints from Heloise" column in the newspaper once, Heloise responded to a writer who had spilled red wine on her white blouse: "If you catch the wine spot before it dries ..." Not realistically helpful to the original inquirer :-)

Similarly, we hope that this will not just help you next time, but help other readers as well.

A. A self-etching primer made for galvanizing is probably the right surface prep for further painting. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
July 16, 2009

A. You can paint anything galvanized as long as you apply the correct primer first.

dk folsom
- st. marys, Georgia
August 13, 2009

A. I have used everything mentioned above and then some. What I like, and what seems to be the easiest thing to use is electrical tape. Endless possibilities on the ways you can make each set of washers different. Has outlasted anything else.

Coy Burns
Construction superintendent - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
September 18, 2016

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