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Wooden spokes

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I would like to refinish the wooden spoke wheels on my car. Currently, they have a natural wood finish which I would like to maintain. What is the best product to use --- polyurethane, high gloss/ semi-gloss/ varnish/ tung oil/ linseed oil ???

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I use my car daily and in the last 47 years have re varnished the spokes about 10 times. I have had satisfaction only by using marine grade spar varnish. I thin the first coat with 30% thinner, the second with 20% the third with 10% and then I stripe the spokes. Then I put on two coats full strength. I find this lasts me about ten years now that I am on Vancouver Island. The last time I just lightly sanded the finish (did not even get down to the stripes), put on one 10% thinned coat and two top coats. When I was in the Prairies the snow and salt took their toll and I had to re do them in about five years.

I found the all the synthetic finishes would not bond properly to the wood and were too hard. They would get stone chips and then would peel off just like cellophane.

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The Tinindian has offered some good advice here. I too use marine spar varnish with no stain or other color. The varnish is all you need & will darken the wood to look just right. I spent days sanding and picking old paint from the grain in my 29 Buick wheels with dental instruments before varnishing them.

But after a local sandblaster demonstrated what he could do, I had the old boy blast my 15 Buick wheels. They came out perfect for varnishing. He used greensand and low pressure to remove the oxidation on the fellows and the wood spokes came out just fine.

Blasting will reveal where the spokes are soft or rotted, so this is a good way to tell if you need to replace rather than just refinish. Don't forget to varnish the ends of the spokes to seal them where they come through the fellow.

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I also have a wood spoke question: the car I just got has wood spokes and it came from the southwest. Some of them look weathered and pretty dry. Would it help if I soaked them in linseed oil while I'm doing other work on the car. Later, when it warms up (like April around here) I can sand and varnish? ?

Larry

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