. . . . on the subject of wheel treatment for a gorgeous ORIGINAL set of 4 wheels for the '14 I'm building, so I thought I'd take the Brain Trust lurking on this site to task. One restorer that I highly respect claims that Boiled Linseed Oil is needed to bring structural life back into 92-93 year old Hickory where wood spokes contact a wood fellow. Then let it dry and paint. The other restorer with whom I bestow the same high level of respect says that the drier the wood, the better. After sanding, shoot it with a DP 90 LF (lead free) primer paint then finish. Any ideas about which way to go?
Scroll down to September 21, 2006 to a thread entitled "Loose Wooden Wheels". A long thread with alot of good advice was given on linseed oil and wooden spoke treatments.
While Linseed oil will tempoarily expand cracked, shrunken wood, it will not permanently keep it expanded. As it drains out the wood will shrink back to its' pre-linseed oil treated state. Jim
I'm not a fan of the linseed oil treatment. In my opinion, it will not bring wood "back to life."
For non-demountable wood felloe wheels, presuming they have good, sound wood, the issues are:
- is the rim tight against the felloe?
- are the spoke nipples tight in the felloe?
- are the spokes tight against the felloe?
- are the spokes tight at the center (hub)?
- are the rim and felloe true?
Within the last few years, on one of the forums I had written a lengthy post supplying instructions on how my father and I tightened a good set of wheels by removing the rims, adding a veneer shim around the circumference of the felloes, heating the rims with a 220 stove element and shrinking the rims back on the felloes. This also included fine-tuning and truing the wheels.
This method has worked for a number of antique car collectors in Minnesota who have used wood veneer or sheet metal for shim material. However, I have to stress that it works for wheels that have had proper storage and have good, sound wood. I don't recommend it for the rotten wood, Qwik-Poly or expoxy crowd.
Jim, I just finished an enjoyable 30 minutes reading your referenced thread and even saved it to my 'Favorites'. However, it's topic was 'Loose Wooden Wheels' and wasn't too appropriate for my concern. Loose spokes and the need for shims are non-existant. I can answer in the affirmative to all 5 of Eric's issues listed above. About 30 years ago the most popular Model T restorer in Texas finished his '13 touring and was going to drive it to a tour in New Mexico. I believe he got a few hundred miles down the road and his "gorgeous original" wheels came apart. I sure don't want that to happen to my '14 roadster. This PPG product DP 90 LF wasn't available back then as were most of the epoxys. I may consider this 'Chair-Loc' or 'Tight Chair' referenced on the 09/06 thread but will first try Ken Kopsky's heavy rubber mallet test on my spokes. I should also add that after sanding the wheels 25 years ago I primered and painted them with just an enamel paint. Back then we painted chassis parts with enamel and sheet metal with lacquer. All the wheels are now peeling terribly after just being stored in my barn. . My dilemma remains . . .
George, DP 90 is an automotive two part epoxy primer sealer. It is very good on metal. I use it exclusively on chassis parts. It is not good on wood. I speak from experience. What you need to fill the grain on wood wheels is house primer, the latex stuff you buy at Home Depot. If you shoot the house primer rather than brush it, you can fill the grain with one or two coats. Sand then apply an automotive primer (not DP 90) and top coat.
Another good idea Richard but after 5-6 years can any paint continue to hide the wood grain? My concern is, of course, structural. Would boiled linseed oil permanently bring new life to wood? It didn't according to the thread Jim Patrick referenced. I hope to drive this little roadster a lot but have many other T s to also drive. I guess what I'm asking is lessons learned from others who have also opted to incorporate original non-demountable wheels in their restorations . .
I read, maybe 35 years ago, that using using any kind of epoxy on wood spokes would actually petrify them because it doesn't allow the wood to breath. I'd like to find out how they finish Pianos to where you get a shine that's about a mile deep.
Most of those piano finishes you speak of are done by the french polish method.
French polish is a shellac that is applied in many thin,fast drying coats with a "rubber" which consists of a special material cloth made into a ball shape with a cotton batton core.The Rubber is dipped into the type of shellac you are using and rubbed onto the wood surface.It's a real talent to learn but the results are outstanding,and authentic for many antique finishes such as pianos,high end musical boxes,antique phonographs,and fine furniture.
I doubt a shellac finish would be a good idea on any antique car no matter how well done.Too easily damaged by moisture.
Just some useless trivia to enjoy
OK, I have read two things here that I think are not correct, One by experience, the other by documentation.
1)DP on wood wheels. I painted my '16 wheels with it, followed up with K-36 for filler, sanded, re-applied DP (I used DP-90, as it is flat black)and one hour later painted with Concept. This was over 4 years ago, wheels still look shiny smooth--like a piano.
2) Piano finished that are a mile deep. Today's piano finishes are mostly modern plastics (I'm not certain which type, but I used to have a repair kit for them, it was a two-part mixture that set up very quickly, then you sanded the area and polished it, much as you would do with an automobile finish). Much of this finish is applied overseas where the regulations are not as strict.
French polish is great, but not what most manufactures are using today--too labor intensive! (and easily damaged by moisture, as Darren noted).
So now you're even more confused!!
There is nothing wrong with using DP epoxy primer on your wheels. The reason that primers and topcoats don't last long on wood wheels, or any wood body panels for that matter, is that the wood expands and contracts with varying moisture content. It's almost impossible to seal the wood completely to prevent moisture from entering and leaving.
One thing you can do to help prevent finish cracking and loss of adhesion is to add some flex agent to the primer and the paint. Flex agent is used in automotive paints to give flexibility to the paint on modern rubber and plastic bumpers, etc. The flex agent will allow the paint on your wheels to flex some as the wood expands and contracts with changes in moisture content. Try it and you will be happy. I'd use one of the DP epoxy primers first, then one of the sprayable fillers to fill the grain, followed by a polyurethane top coat.
David, I see why you didn't have problems with using DP 90 on wood wheels. You didn't try to sand it and you didn't use it to fill the grain.
Use dp90, to seal, then use "slicksand" polyester primer to fill. Then sand and paint. End of story.
Ah yes, you are right about that! After sanding the filler (K-36), I shot a sealing coat of DP with a little thinner added (the Concept thinner) and sprayed very carefully! Waited an hour and then shot the topcoat. Theory being that the topcoat then gets "grabbed" while the DP is crosslinking. Seems to have worked so far!
PS DP doesn't like sanding!! Or at least sandpaper doesn't like it!
Here's a link to the "Loose Wooden Wheel" thread from September 2006. I don't think that it has much to offer in the case of this thread.
Ref French polished pianos:
See what happens if you leave one out in the rain or sun!
So then, . . . what I'm hearing is that its not necessary to attempt to bring any kind of "life" back into gorgeous original wooden spokes and adjacent felloes to obtain a very satisfactory -and safe- wheel restoration? This DP 90 LF is sufficient to bond the topcoat and clearcoat? If so, then thats the procedure I'll select.
Charlie, . . CONGRATULATIONS on fixing the REO clutch problem !! Thats another story and a future project I'll have to take on with a Model B 1 cylinder. And I'll find out more about this 'flex agent' from my auto paint supply store and use it both in the DP 90 and polyeurethane top coat. Thanks to all for your invaluable input . .. . george
I have used a wood restoration product made by Abatron. It is a clear epoxy that was originally made for wood restoration on old houses. In a nut shell, it will convert soft dry rotted wood into a hard, structurally solid component. In the past, wood restoration involved digging and scraping out any unstable wood until you were down to the hard solid wood, then you filled the hole with wood filler and formed it to the original contours to the best of your ability, using files, carving knives and chisels and sandpaper. Trouble with this is that sometimes you have to dig out so much, that you lose the original contours of the piece you are trying to restore. This is especially troublesome if you are trying to restore an intricately carved architechtural piece. Abatron's wood restoration epoxy makes it so you do not have to do this. It is advisable to not remove any of the soft, crumbling, dry rotted wood, before treatment with this product, because, no matter how soft or unstable the dry rotted wood is, that wood will provide you with the original contours of the wooden part.
I used to recommend this for use on dry rotted and cracked wooden spokes, but got so much flack on how unwise it was, that I adopted the same attitude, that, if your spokes are not structurally solid, that it is foolish to try and recapture the strength they had when new, especially if they have suffered damage from 80 years exposure to the elements. Although I do not recommend it for this purpose, I did use it for that purpose twenty years ago, many years prior to my encounter with the prevailing opinion on the Forum and my spokes are still firm, solid, tight and strong. The choice is strictly up to the Model T owner.
You mix the two parts together, equally and it becomes a liquid plastic that is thin enough to penetrate deep into the wood (make sure the part is totally dry and bare of original finish). After about an hour, it starts to set up and will eventually harden into a rock hard plastic. If the part is small enough, you can put it into the solution and let it soak up as much as possible. Just be careful. If you use this method and get sidetracked, you will come back to your irreplaceable part, entombed in a chunk of rock hard plastic, like a prehistoric insect in amber. If it is too big for that, you paint it on continuously letting the wood absorb as much as possible until it will absorb no more.
I have a Victorian house with lots of woodwork and I have used this product many times to salvage woodwork that, before the invention of this product, would have been considerered beyond repair. For our hobby, one of the best uses for this product is the restoration af virtually any dry rotted wooden Model T parts. It is especially a Godsend to those whose Model T body frames are dry rotted and delicate and feel their only solution is to try and cut the complicated multi-curved and angled pieces... a job that even the most experienced woodworker would find challenging. Again, there is no need to remove any of the old wood, as the wood restoring epoxy will penetrate it and harden, making it as hard or harder than it was originally. I have found that on good wood as well, it makes a great clear primer (or finish if you want to leave it clear) as it is absorbed into the open grains and sinks deep into the wood where it hardens to a plastic, forever protecting the outer 1/8" of the wood from the weather.
There is another product which I have never used, but have heard touted on this Forum that is put out by TAP Plastics. I assume it does the same thing, but since I have never used it, cannot say for sure, but I will post their website address along with the Abatron website, for your convenience should you want to take a look. Jim