Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

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Jack Putnam, in Ohio
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Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by Jack Putnam, in Ohio » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:37 pm

I have a new set of Stutzman rebuilt non demountable wheels which have beautiful hickory wood work. These will be painted black. How should the wood be sealed before painting? Should it be sealed? What product will give the best results. What have you done ? Thanks for help and guidance.


R.V.Anderson
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Re: Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by R.V.Anderson » Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:37 pm

Here's how I do wood wheels. Mine still look beautiful and are nice and straight after almost 20 years of washing and sudden thunder storms.

Start the job by fully restoring your hubs and fellows, and assembling the wheel. Begin painting the wood by removing all dust with a good tack cloth. Use a good quality outdoor wood primer. I like and use Kover Stain, sold at Home Depot stores. Thinning the material about 10% with Penetrol paint conditioner makes it flow on a lot easier, which will save sanding. It can be tinted dark gray by the good folks in the paint department, or if you have access to a paint shaker you can buy the tint and do it yourself. Using a good quality 1-½” china bristle brush, apply one good coat. Let dry about an hour, sand lightly but thoroughly with 150 grit sandpaper and brush on a second coat. Let dry overnight.

Using a brush will work the primer more deeply into the wood grain, which is highly desirable.

Sand thoroughly again with 220 grit paper. When all the wood is velvet smooth, mount the tires. Inflate to 25 lbs or so and mask off completely in preparation for spraying on the sealer.

In order to spray an even coat and prevent runs, mounting the wheels on an easily rotated spindle of sort is critical. I used a 30” length of 2 x 10 and mounted 2 pillow bearing blocks on it to support a 1” shaft, 36” long. Chuck the shaft in a lathe and drill and tap the end for a ½” bolt. Remove the bolt from the end of an old wheel puller, the type that threads onto the hub, and bolt it to the end of the shaft with the ½” bolt. Slip the shaft into place in the bearings, leaving 6” of shaft with the wheel puller overhanging the board, and run in the bearings’ set screws. Mount the whole works to the top of a wooden sawhorse with some 3” decking screws, plug the bearing hole with a rag or a wood or plastic plug, and you’re in business. If you like messing around and want to get fancy, you can mount a handwheel to the end opposite the puller.

Thread the hub of one wheel into the wheel puller and run it up snugly. You will need to put a counterweight on the opposite side of the sawhorse to keep it stable. I use a sleeve of tube sand. Then fire up your compressor and have at it. Follow the directions for your sealer and top coat from here on. When you've finished with the wheel, just keep it rotating slowly and you will have no runs, sags, or fat edges of any kind. Easy peasy.

If an original or older re-spoked wheel won't retain paint in one spot and you find yourself constantly touching up bare spots, you have a fungus in the wood. Destroy it, not by using bleach or other chemicals, but by using a heat gun to heat the area to just below the point at which the wood surface scorches. Let it cool completely, then feather off the bubbled and burnt edges of the paint. Prime and proceed as you have been doing and you will find that the paint stays on.


Topic author
Jack Putnam, in Ohio
Posts: 142
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First Name: Jack
Last Name: Putnam
Location: Bluffton, Ohio
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Re: Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by Jack Putnam, in Ohio » Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:42 pm

R.V/ Thank you fro your response and guidance on the wheel painting. Sealing of the wood is my major concern but your suggested process seems relatively simple.


Burger in Spokane
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Re: Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by Burger in Spokane » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:27 pm

Being that my T is a TT, and I have zero interest in car shows or other
"showing off events", and that I want to present my truck as a well-used
farm/work vehicle, AND the fact that I am a painter and do a lot of exterior
wood/preservation work, I chose to oil stain my wheels with a heavily
blackened stain of linseed oil, thinned with mineral spirits. One pass got
me a nice, dark "graphite" black. A few more will get me to a "weathered
black", to match the overall appearance I want for the truck.

Sealing wood is an impossible proposition, as wood shrinks and swells,
depending on the moisture content. Soaking wood with oil repels water
and cannot crack or chip. It also allows infinite numbers of reapplications,
should they be desired, reapplications that do not require total stripping
and refinishing of the wheels. If you want the dealership-new stock look,
this is not the way to go. If you want a durable, low maintenance, looks-
like-1932 finish, this might be a good answer.

This is what they look like after 1 application:

fullsizeoutput_85f.jpeg
IMG_1319.JPG
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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TWrenn
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Re: Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by TWrenn » Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:50 pm

IF you can still find it, Joe Bell taught me to use Kwik-Poly on the new wood. Man it turns it out nice and smooth, very little sanding needed, sets up fast, apply, sand, paint 'n go all in one afternoon. Simple. JMO


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Re: Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by DHort » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:29 pm

Burger, what if you want gloss on your wheels instead? Can you use your method as a primer?


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Re: Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by Larry » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:39 pm

Hello Jack,
If you’re looking for a high-quality finish I would definitely seal the wood first. For years when I was a commercial painter, I used various sanding sealer’s on newly spoke wood wheels with great success. Then the paint companies were forced to modify those products by the EPA. After that they were no longer weather resistant or could you topcoat them with a urethane. Since then I have used quick poly as well and it does a fine job but not sure if it’s still available. Jamestown products in New York sells a two part sealer comparable to Quick poly that works well also. I can get you their phone number if you’re interested.
The process I use is:
Two coats of sealer sanding between coats,
One coat epoxy primer,
Then several coats primer surfacer sanding between coats until all the grained surfaces are level.
One final coat epoxy sealer
Then on to paint.
0A299B58-DCC6-4C9B-877A-0ECA04BE1BF9.png

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Steve Jelf
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Re: Painting new wood spoke wheels. Best method to use?

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:50 pm

Years ago I had good results with paste wood filler. A Google search shows several brands available.
The inevitable often happens.
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