erichill

Best procedure & varnish for wood spoke wheels

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Eric,

 

Nice job on your wheels they are coming along nicely.

 

I went the same route for the wheels on my 31 Packard

 31 wooden spokes. They are holding up quit well and still look as I did them yesterday.I

Edited by Packin31 (see edit history)

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Here's my Durant wheels I finished a couple of years ago. Took them apart, stripped all the old paint off, sanded them lightly and then put 4 coats of Valspar Marine varnish on them.  The grain of the hickory just pops. Came out great.

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I once built mahogany boats for a living.  I followed Don Danenberg's suggestion (Don Danenberg Boatworks).   Every piece of wood used should first be treated with a liberal application of Smith's CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealant).  The primary problem in any wood construction is the changes in humidity wood undergoes.  Once a piece of wood is treated with CPES it's moisture content is nearly impervious to changes in relative humidity.  Before I varnished or otherwise treated a wooden piece for my car, I'd prime it with CPES.  The finish coat will adhere better to a treated piece and the varnish job will last longer.  

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Mick, how solvent is the Smiths CPES? When I hear epoxy I think of two parts and I wonder if it is thin enough to soak into the wood and especially the end grain. I wish I knew of this product when I restored my '46 Ford Woodie. I would like to start using it when I replace parts if necessary. Where can it be purchased?

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Smith's is very thin and will keep soaking in as long as it is supplied.  It also provides a good surface for other kinds of finish to adhere to.  One of it's uses is to repair wood that has some rot as it hardens the soft wood and kills the little organisms that do the damage so it stops and prevents further rot.  A top notch product that is not cheap but a little bit goes a long way.  Restoration supply sells it and You can also get it direct from the manufacturer.

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Thanks nickel, I need to replace the wood over the driver side rear fender so I think I'm going to pick up a can. I wish I knew about this product when I restored my '46 Woodie.

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I too have been doing my 32’ Olds wood wheels. Some of my wheels had been painted at one time and the others still had old varnish on them. Natural finished wheels were a Olds factory option in 32’ and even my painted wheels had varnish underneath. After I stripped the paint off with a chemical strippers, I worked the spokes with a curved cabinet scraper which made easy work of removing all remaining paint and varnish. Dental picks were used to remove paint in any deep grain or spoke end joints. I then used oxalic acid to help remove any iron stains and to help even the color between the 6 wheels. 

 

I do do not like the light or almost white wood lots of guys seem to be going to in recent restorations nor do I like the plastic look of epoxy and clear urethane applications. I decided to use an old wheel formula to deepen the color and help preserve the wood. I used a mixture of clear kerosene, boiled linseed oil, and high quality pine tar. That mixture resulted in a really nice coloring but I soon found out, it requires a fair amount of time to soak in and dry. I had a hard time getting the varnish to dry. The varnish I settled on is Pettits Captains spar varnish and it’s a super nice product. I ended up using some Japan drier in the varnish and lightly wiping down any areas that remained tacky after 48hrs with turpentine. I no longer have a drying problem and I put a coat on all my wheels Dec. 23rd. Left for vacation and came back after the 1st to a super nice finish on all the wheels. I currently have 5 light coats on them and tonight I started sanding them down with 320. I will probably add another 2-3 coats but they will be medium to heavy instead of the thin ones previously done. I will wet sand the last two coats for a super smooth finish. Then the hubs and rims will get painted along with the signature Olds hub sprocket pattern and 1/16” pinstripe. The pictures are prior to my most recent coat on the 23rd. Still 2-3 more coats to come

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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Thanks, but you should see then since that last coat. They look at least 50% better than this picture. Using the 320 wet sand paper right now but using it dry. One small strip, 1” x 5” folded in three is lasting about half way around one side of the wheel, basically meaning I’ll use just half a sheet or less to sand each wheel. The 320 is making them so smooth too. They should look really good when done. Should have also mentioned that I’m using cheap foam brushes, throwing it away after doing each coat on the 6 wheels. The foam brush really applies the varnish nicely.

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chistech, as I originally stated in post 21 that when I refinished my Woodie, I read several books on refinishing with varnish. What I found out was that by reading too much only confused me. One "expert" said the only way to get perfect finishes was to use special squirrel hair brushes imported from China, only $125. Give me a break! I wound up doing the same thing you did and used the foam disposable brushes and got great results. 

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I have a set of brushes that my Mothers cousin used in the 20's and 30's to lacquer cars (back when you could by brushing lacquer).  I had used one of them for varnishing and it was very good.  One day I was in a shop that did high end furniture refinishing and lo and behold a lot of the work was done with foam brushes.  I have not used anything but foam brushes ever since.  Of course they do not leave any brush marks.

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46 Woodie

Quote

What I found out was that by reading too much only confused me. One "expert" said the only way to get perfect finishes was to use special squirrel hair brushes imported from China, only $125. Give me a break! I wound up doing the same thing you did and used the foam disposable brushes and got great results

Amen to that. Last week I just finally decided that I will continue to get more and more answers and advice. Spar varnish was the common thread, so spar varnish it is. Rather than trying to locate some specific brand I found Rustoleum spar varnish at the hardware store and that is what I am now using.

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1 hour ago, erichill said:

46 Woodie

Amen to that. Last week I just finally decided that I will continue to get more and more answers and advice. Spar varnish was the common thread, so spar varnish it is. Rather than trying to locate some specific brand I found Rustoleum spar varnish at the hardware store and that is what I am now using.

I first started with Rustoleum Varnish and found it wouldn't even think of drying. Now, I had issues with the stain underneath causing drying problems, but the Pettit brand, Captains Spar Varnish, was significantly thinner and will to brush out much smoother than the Rustoleum. The Rustoleum was much thicker and kind of "pulled" along the surface almost like maple syrup. I don't know the area you're from but I believe it will require warmer temps and low humidity to dry and solidify enough for easy sanding without gumming up on the sandpaper. Give it a try first and if it gives you any issue, go to a marine supply house and get a high quality spar varnish from them. You can go to my 32' Olds restoration thread here on the forums and read all about my trials and tribulations with my wheels! 

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Does Smiths CPES, being an epoxy, turn yellow and degrade in UV light? i.e. is it UV stable?

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Christech, thanks for heads up. I have only done one coat on one wheel so far, then I got sick with the flu and haven't done much works since. As a few people suggested I thinned out the varnish in hopes that it would seep into the wood easier. I am expecting it to take a while between coats to cure as my shop in my basement is not heated and can stay in the high 50- low 60's in the shop this time of the year.  I will let you know how things progress.

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My spokes are just about done. Really like the look of them now. No more drying issues and they're fully dry after application in less than 18hrs. One more coat to go. I will Scotch gray pad them (600 grit equivalent) then they will get their last coat of varnish. The wood appears now like a gun stock on a fine double barrel shotgun. Been working on the hubcaps too. 

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Chistech , these look great. I can appreciate the work you have done to get them to this point.  I am still working away at mine.  Been down with the flu and haven't gotten into my shop in well over a week.

 

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I myself have been on and off with the bug but hey, it's that time of the year. They've been a lot of work but pictures don't do justjce on how they look in person. After all my initial issues with the varnish drying, I was beginning to think that they'd never dry, nevermind even get done. I'm very satisfied with how they've come out and the look of the Pettit Captain's Varnish. Now it's time to mash off the sprocket pattern on the hub and get them painted in the middle. Once that's done, then they'll get the rims painted. Then it's off to the pinstriper to stripe them. Then it's off to the tire shop to get the new WW and tubes mounted. Then it's back to the garage to mount them on the chassis. Then....................... Man, there's a lot of "thens" to go yet! LOL  Should have also mentioned I'm working on my hubcaps which are becoming another paint nightmare. I'll be posting more about them on my restoration thread.

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On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 3:49 PM, 46 woodie said:

Mick, how solvent is the Smiths CPES? When I hear epoxy I think of two parts and I wonder if it is thin enough to soak into the wood and especially the end grain. I wish I knew of this product when I restored my '46 Ford Woodie. I would like to start using it when I replace parts if necessary. Where can it be purchased?

 

Here ya go.

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Smith's+Clear+Penetrating+Epoxy+Sealant&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3ASmith's+Clear+Penetrating+Epoxy+Sealant

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Ted, they are looking great, as you know i have been following you on here and VCCA !!  those wheels would have to go on my wall :)

 

just wish the 29 had wood wheels, but hey, cant have everything :P

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