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How to finish new wooden spoked wheels


JBrennand
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Hello everyone. We’re looking for advice on how to finish our wooden wheels we just had remade at Calimer’s Wheel Shop. We’d prefer not to paint them and leave them showing the natural wood.  Reading through the forums here, is raw linseed oil the best way to care for them?

 

Would appreciate your thoughts. 
 

thank you. 

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You can use a sealer like Smiths or west's epoxy sealer [available at Restoration supply] and the use an automotive clear coat over the top to give a natural wood look.  A lot of people use marine spar varnish as it is pretty durable.  If you leave them unpainted they will start to look like weathered wood [because that is what they will be]  Automotive clear coats are made to be sprayed but can be put on with a brush.   Using an epoxy sealer is not absolutely necessary but will give a better looking and longer lasting job.

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I am restoring a woodie station wagon. I think marine spar varnish is a good choice. My opinion is that the other finishes mentioned may be more durable but they are more difficult to work with. The durability of spar varnish is good enough for a collector car which will spend most of its time in the garage. I use Pettit Captains varnish #1015 or Pettit Flagship varnish # 2015. Flagship has more UV protection. I don't think linseed oil will offer enough protection and will have to be applied regularly. 

 

Check out the restoration of the 1932 Oldsmobile convertible coupe by Chistech in the "restorations" section of this forum. He used marine varnish on the wood wheels and pinstriped them. 

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I just finished the new wheels that I had made for my Model T.  I decided to finish them not painted.  I found a MinWax stain that I liked and stained the wheels.  I then finished them with an exterior polyurethane varnish.  I think they should last for a long time.

 

If I ever decide to paint them, I will just paint over the varnish and move on.  If ever want to change back to stained/natural wheels, the paint will not seep into the wood.  

 

I also had a set of wheels made for my '08 Buick Model F.  I did paint them, but before I painted them I also sprayed them with a polyurethane varnish to seal the wood.

 

Below is a picture of one of the finished Model T wheels.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/5/2021 at 4:05 PM, JBrennand said:

Hello everyone. We’re looking for advice on how to finish our wooden wheels we just had remade at Calimer’s Wheel Shop. We’d prefer not to paint them and leave them showing the natural wood.  Reading through the forums here, is raw linseed oil the best way to care for them?

 

Would appreciate your thoughts. 
 

thank you. 

A great thing about these old cars is the amount of latitude they allow in doing things like this. I look at my cars in the same light as I looked at art projects in high school. Were I not there, nothing would get done. Anything I do is something unique to me, and if it looks good (to me) it’s a plus. If it doesn’t, now, I at least know what not to do. On my 1927 Willys Knight I used acetone to remove as much of the grit, grime and old varnish as possible. I used a light sand paper and a razor blade to remove the remainder of the old varnish. I pressure washed and sanded the rims. I used elmer’s wood glue to fill and seal cracks in the wood and completed smoothing them with wood putty. A couple coats of minwax sealer brought out the grain and sealed the wood. The wheels on my 1923 Dodge Roadster were professionally rebuilt so I picked up the same process at the minwax sealer point. I used a few coats of spar varnish, each coat applied a few days apart. I used the rolled striping to finish up the Willys a stained the spokes of the Dodge before I varnished them. A heat gun will be a huge help in softening the old varnish for removal without damaging the wood.

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Edited by Jack Bennett (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Big thank you guys for all of your wonderful advice. We did a medium stain and then 4 coats of Petit 1015, sanding in between. Black rustoleum paint on the hubs and then matte stainless steel on the bolt heads. Waiting on some new hub bolts from Mike in Ohio, there were old hex bolts there before which were not the right grade and we wanted to go authentic. Still a work in progress but here’s how it’s looking so far. We’ll do the same matte ss paint on the nuts. We’re not painting the rims yet as we’re getting new tyres so we’re going to wait to paint those (black) when the new tyres come in. So excuse the slightly rusted rims!

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1692610718_Calima049.JPG.3ab12163397d488ff15646b8d25a637e.JPG1856622193_Calima045.JPG.030c39d071dd865e0d140801e14b0628.JPG1056147934_Calima050.JPG.f69d8edb5c38c435da6c8e58556fc6db.JPG1856622193_Calima045.JPG.030c39d071dd865e0d140801e14b0628.JPG92336218_Calima044.JPG.4d8da6d2a67869a298c71829d3498bbe.JPGGot my respoke wheels 2 months ago from Calima. Beautiful job.  I am using boiled linseed oil and Varsol   50/50. Use a small paint brush it in coat after coat , maybe 20 or 30 . allow to dry between coats for about 10 minutes if possible and repeat , even for weeks untill it begins to feel a little sticky.  At that point the spokes are saying " think I have enough to preserve myself for a long time to come" Wipe off sticky bits with a damp varsol cloth.  And you are good to go.

Cheers,

Harry

Edited by trini (see edit history)
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Almost finished. Wheel on the car, just need to paint the nuts. Once again thanks guys for all your help. We’re really glad we went with the natural finish as it really sets off nicely with the car. Currently have temporary heavy grade hex bolts in until our new hub bolts arrive. 

5D897170-031F-4E29-B20C-1AEF391C711F.jpeg

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