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Stripping Wood Spoke Wheels Prior to Restoration


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My set is from a 1928 Chrysler (see photo).  Some restorers have done a fantastic job of stripping and refinishing these by hand as seen on other posts.  Has anyone opted to have their wheels stripped commercially?  Sandblasting is definitely out for the wood portion of the wheel but some commercial strippers use plastic or some other softer media to strip paint and old varnish off wood.  And what about the weights around the rim, I've been told they are usually brass?  Recommendations?

Chrysler Wheel.jpg

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Hi,

Did my worst wheel by hand it was very tedious. The caps around the the rim which hide the balance weights are steel. On mine there we no weights present although the wheels were out of balance. (Only the fronts have them) I added lead washers over threads secured with another nut then put the caps back on. Was a bit trial and error but managed to get the wheel to come to rest at random points in the end.

 

 

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On 5/20/2020 at 8:00 PM, Tim Wolfe said:

You might be interested in reading about balance beads. I used them on my 1930 Chryslers and I'm pleased with the results.

I plan on using these this week.  Do you remember how many ounces you used in each wheel?  

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Posted (edited)

If you look up the balance bead and find their web site, they will tell you how many to put in and how to do it. Had to remove the valve stem and use a bottle with a nozzle  to install them. They suggested holding a dremel tool against the valve stem to help shake the beads and get them to flow. Took our car out for a drive today.

Edited by Tim Wolfe
Spelling error due to spell checker! (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Tim, what did they charge for this service?  I spoke to a restoration shop and they quoted me a price that definitely said we don't want to do this job....

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Posted (edited)

Working on any wheel spoke, wood artillery, or wire wheels is one of the most labor extensive and non rewarding part of a restoration.......there are no short cuts to make wheels look good. If your not bleeding and your hands are not sore you didn't do it right. I usually only do one wheel a week.......if you can get it done in less than 30 hours your lucky. Take your time and do it right........50 hours labor on one wheel is not unheard of........

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

if you can get it done in less than 30 hours your lucky. Take your time and do it right........50 hours labor on one wheel is not unheard of........

A week a wheel doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Especially with arthritic hands. 😦

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If you do not disassemble the wheel I'm assuming you can't refinish the spokes completely or the drum because they are attached so closely together?

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You could take drums off without disassembling wheel . But they where not painted from the factory in the back or between spokes . Pulling drums off would make cleaning and painting spokes rear curves easier . But a PIA job. make sure to mark location on and off  . You will find bolts peen to nuts also . 

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I don't know how much I paid because I had a restoration shop do the whole car. If you are in or close to Ohio I can recommend some people.  Do you have a shop that does soda blasting? Might want to check with them. If you take the wheels apart you have to assemble them just like they came apart. number the spokes. A press was used to assemble the spokes in the rim. My wheels were not taken apart when refinished.

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Broken glass makes a great scraper.  If you remove the drum and hub and do not intend to remove the spokes, mark them anyway.  If they are leaning against the wall in a hot shop you could find spokes and felloe have separated during the night due to changes in humidity.

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2 hours ago, Tinindian said:

Broken glass makes a great scraper.  If you remove the drum and hub and do not intend to remove the spokes, mark them anyway.  If they are leaning against the wall in a hot shop you could find spokes and felloe have separated during the night due to changes in humidity.

I have used the broken glass method. You drag the glass backwards, lightly, using the edge against the wood/paint and the paint flies right off. Just be careful not to scrape too deeply or you will end up with flat spots.

 

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