How do I remove paint off wood spokes? Paint stripper or power washer? If I go natural is varnish enough. If I paint them what process do I use?
Power washing and water is never good for wood. A high pressure power washer will destroy the wood grains by blowing out the softer grains and leaving the hard raised grains and where there is harder to remove paint, the power washing will continue blowing out the soft wood grain as it is attempting to remove the paint which will leave a raised area the shape of the removed paint and a depressed area where the bare wood was removed.
Take it slow, and use marine grade or aircraft grade gel type stripper. Paint it on thick and let it sit until it bubbles, then gently scrape off the bubbled paint using scrapers of various shapes to get in restricted areas. There may be several layers of old paint and this process may need to be repeated until you are down to the bare wood. This can also be used on the metal parts of the wheel until down to the bare steel. Once you have removed all of the paint, flush and wipe down thoroughly with lacquer thinner until all of the stripper is off and the steel and wood is perfectly clean of paint and grease and stripper then sand the spokes starting with 80 to 100 grit sandpaper, progressing to finer sandpaper, (120, 150, 180, etc.) ending with 220 grit, until very smooth. The finer sandpaper paper is necessary to remove the scratches left by the rougher paper. Preparation is 99% of the work.
Do not use the same primer for the wood and the steel. Use a red oxide primer for the steel and a good oil base exterior primer for the wood. The different parts of the wheel can be painted with a good soft camel hair or sabal hair brush used by artists to get a perfectly smooth finish, as a brush can poke paint in to the crevasses to get good protection from water, but if you use an aerosol spray for the steel, be sure to mask off the wood spokes prior to priming with the steel primer. Once primed, you can paint it using a good oil based enamel in whatever color you desire. I am posting some pictures of the paint I used for my black spokes.
Since I am only experienced in painted spokes, I will not attempt to offer any advice on varnished wheels, but the steps of removing the old finish in preparation for applying the varnish is the same. If i were going to varnish a wheel, I would stain it using a pecan stain then coat it with Minwax Polyurethane. Minwax also makes a pecan colored polyurethane varnish with the stain already in that will give you the golden appearance of Natural Cherry. I used this on the poplar kitchen cabinets in my home and was most pleased by the results. Jim Patrick
I used Rustoleum on these wheels a year ago. So far, so good.
PS. Here is a picture of the Minwax pecan colored polyurethane I was talking about. Allow wheel to thoroughly dry after cleaning with lacquer thinner before sanding. You cannot sand moist wood. Jim Patrick
One more PS. RE: Sabal hair artist's brush. A good size to use is 1" wide with a flat end tapered to a point on the edges like a chisel. They can be purchased in hobby stores or online from such places as Michael's and are great for feathering the finish to a glass smooth finish. Jim Patrick
Anybody have experience soda blasting paint off wood rather than stripping?
I would recommend against using any type of pressure blasting of wood, for just the air pressure alone, without any abrasive media, can blow out the softer grain of the wood and destroy it. One should not be in such a hurry that you would risk destroying a part just to save a little time. Take your time, relax and enjoy it. Jim Patrick
Agreed. I wouldn't do any kind of blasting on wood. If you want to blast the metal parts, wrap the spokes in several layers of duct tape.
Cut the bottom 6 inches off a steel 55 gallon drum which is 22-1/2" dia, insert wheel. dump a gallon of the good "CAUTION: EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE, MAY CAUSE BRAIN CANCER IN CALIFORNIA" type of stripper, submerging the whole wheel and use a decent stiff parts washing brush to massage the goods into the nooks and crannies, and cover overnight. What doesn't come off the next day with a plastic putty knife will come off with a garden hose and brush.
Some guys use a broken piece of glass (with gloves) and "back scrape" to a clean finish. Of course all new spokes eliminate all the foregoing work. DONT paint the angle joint where the spoke heels meet!
This second method is the best. When you see the judges pull out a creeper and magnifying glass its time to go get a hot dog and a Coke LOL.
This is after removing 20 coats of red, green, blue, black, and magenta paint. Oh BTW... the rims were powder coated. Car was parked outside uncovered in Chicago for two years prior to the picture.
Couple thoughts. In my experience, Min Wax Poly Shades is a difficult product to use. The can says to run a wet edge but its close to impossible to do. I had to apply a very thin coat to work on furniture and I doubt if a thin application would hold up to the elements.
I have had very good luck priming wheels for paint using a quality wood primer and a cheapo spray gun with a large nozzle. Gives a smooth one coat finish that fills the grain. If you are concerned about adhesion, you could always brush a first coat into the grain. I personally found it wasn't necessary. While it used to be true that oil base primers were superior, its simply not the case anymore. The water base primers are every bit as good. Zinnser 123 is a good example.
I had some wheels soda blasted because they were questionable to begin with. I was looking for bad wood pieces, when I found most of what I had was not road worthy, I scraped the wood for new. Here is a video of those wheels being basted, as stated earlier in this thread, this process of removing paint off wood is very abrasive, for these cars I would not recommend it.
Removal of paint will allow you to thoroughly check the spokes for condition and tightness. If there are soft areas or black streaks in the wood, it could be an indication of water damage, or if you are able to move the spokes back and forth independent of the felloe (spoke should not be able to be budged at all), you will need to re-spoke the wheel or risk it collapsing while driving. Loose spokes are always dangerous but especially dangerous and most prone to collapse while turning corners. It is always important to check all of your spokes during each pre-driving inspection. Jim Patrick
Oooooh Wes. I didn't like that, but thanks for showing the damage that can occur to wood by even the gentlest form of blasting. Jim Patrick
I have often used glass beads with very good results, go easy and you won't blast away any wood, if you do it's a pretty good indication the wood was dry rotted any way. The key is work slowly with not to high pressure and worn out glass beads. o.g.
Steve Jelf - great use for an old dump rake!
In my opinion, the best way to remove paint from a wooden wheel, is to disassemble the wheel, scrape the paint off each spoke with a scraper or razor knife blade, then sand each spoke.
Blasting will ruin the wood, chemical remover will leave residue in the wood pores which could cause the paint to eventually fail. Scraping will allow one to inspect each spoke for it's integrity, and not destroy an otherwise usable spoke. I have used this process many times with excellent results.
If I were to prime the wood spokes with Sherwin Williams Exterior Oil-Based Primer, I would have the the paint store half tint the primer black.
I don't know about wood spokes but as far as house painting goes Sherwin Williams Exterior Oil-Based Primer is a quality product. It's my first choice when house painting and I've always had good results using it. More recently, I used it last week to paint all the soffits and facia on my parents' house because we are switching to a latex top coat. Until now, we have used nothing but oil-based paint since the house was new but it is getting harder to find.
John. I have been a woodworker for over 40 years, restoring antiques, such as Edison and Victor phonographs, Regina and Polyphon music boxes, clocks and finely carved antique furniture and have never had a problem with chemical strippers leaving residue in the wood that cause the finishes to lift. As a matter of fact, with many of the finely carved antiques i have restored, chemical strippers are the only way to remove the finish from the crevasses. I have a three story Victorian houseful of many music boxes, phonographs, clocks and antique furniture pieces, I restored back in the 1970's that still retain the finishes I applied over 35 years ago. It is important to flush off the stripper residue with lacquer thinner, which if done properly, will not leave any residue in the wood, whatsoever. Jim Patrick
You've got a beautiful place, Jim.
Wes' video of blasting does get rid of the paint with very little effort. But it looks like it really damages the surface of the wood by removing the less dense grain. He now has a bigger job of sanding ahead of him.
I like to take those spokes out of the wheel and then sand them. I just did a pair of wheels and had to use spokes from a black wheel as replacements. No matter how you do it... stripper, sanding, or blasting... you will end up with sanding. So for me sanding and scraping is the way to go.
After inspecting the wheels I just did (see http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/391896.html?1380583512 ) and selecting out the spokes I wanted to replace, I disassembled the wheel. It became clear that some of the spokes I was planning on leaving in place needed replacement... one had no tennon attached at all. It looked good and felt tight but it is inevitable that that time bomb would eventually go off!
Stripping the wheel down into rim, hub, felloes, spokes and hardware and the subsequent refinishing and assembly is not as hard as the job of sanding an assembled wheel or the job of repairing the damage done by blasting.
Donor spoke before sanding.
Freshly sanded spoke above.
Wheel being re-assembled.
This photo is a few days later after a 200 mile tour, loaded up to go home. No wheel problems, clicking is all gone!
Respectfully submitted, IMH, TH
Thank you Hal. I have always loved the Victorian period between the 1850's and 1890's and it was always my dream from childhood to have a house that makes those that enter feel like they've gone back in time to that period, which to me was a simpler, more romantic period in American history. I could not find a house that met my specifications but I found a town that did and built myself a 5,000 sqft. house to match. Jim Patrick
How do you determine a failed spoke and do you tighten them up again? Thanks everyone am learning a lot.
The wheels I had blasted were the first time for me. They're off a 15 chassis and I suspected problems to begin with, as the paint was removed my suspecions were confirmed the wood fellows were split and too many spokes were bad. Break the wheel down and rebuild with new wood. Don't chance it.
Iceman, here is an earlier thread that has several posts and links concerning checking and tightening up wood spoke wheels:
I had to be 9 or 10 ( now 70). Dad gave me a propane torch and puddly knife and four wheels with many coats of paint. I got the paint off but in the process brought the torch across the back of one hand. It still bleeds easily if I nick it there. Dad reprinted the wheels and they were on a car that I sold at his auction five years ago.
roll of 80 grit 3m utility sanding tape between 2 garbage cans. 2nd sand with 150 grit 3m utility tape. epifanes uv protected clear varnish, popular in the marina industry. 2 coats. 3 hours a wheel. if theyre in good shape, don't take them apart. replace the flange bolts if they're old.
Guys there was a fella (company) in Riverview, Fla. that walnut shell blasted fine wood furnature and T wheels for me. They came out very good. HE KNEW how to do it! I don't but the wheels looked great. He told me that when a spoke would be too soft and would blast and look like someone shot it with a shotgun it was not good wood and would be dangerous to use if it tore up badly with his blasting. I would remake a spoke for those bad ones and replace them. That was in 1970 and early 80! The wood today is much older now and a lot depends upon how damp it has gotten or how dry is has been to try and restore a wheel. Replacing the wood is the main way to go. You can have it done by someone who is a professional which is safer and less work on yourself. But like me I was ALWAYS broke and a dollar short. Plus being an engineer and an industrial trades instructor I always had to do it myself. I have made them from Walnut, oak, Bois d'arc (Hedge apple), hickory, and Willow. Straight grained red oak was my preference prior you all telling me hickory. So from now on Hickory it is. Second growth Hickory I do not yet understand but this was shown to me on an old wheel ad that someone pm'ed me with. Thanks! I also used linseed oil on all of my wheels for a few weeks and then let them dry in real good prior to painting. And NO I am not a wheel man! I just did most of my own. I may have just been lucky driving my wheels but no wrecks yet have been reported by those who ended up with any of my cars...KNOCK ON WOOD!
Joe in Mo.
Hi: There are 2 products that I like to use. One is Quick poly. It is a 2 part polimer that sets up in about 6 to 12 minutes depending on temp. It is about the consistency of gasoline and soaks into the wood grain really deep (about 1/8 inch It is almost like turning the wood surface into fiberglass. If you put it on and wipe it all off after you let it soak a little while it does not change the wood color very much. It just looks wet. If you leave it on too thick it does change to a yellow color. If the spoke is "sound" and has just a little softening to the outside grain quick polly will fix it. I also like to bolt my wheels together and check the runout. If OK, I take quick polly and let it run and soak into the spoke area at the hubs. They will never move or shrink again. The other product is if going natural they should always be varnished with "spar varnish" any type of polyurethane will not last. Poly does not have any UV protection. It will just fade and flake away after awhile. If you never take your car out into the sun poly may be OK. Spar Varnish is UV protected and is a marine grade product. It is designed to work in direct sun, and even below water applications. It is not perfect and even on boats it needs recoated in a few years. But we do not park are cars under water or leave them in the direct sun 365 days a year. For most of us spar varnish will last the rest of our lives. I used to have a very nice depot hack. I individually spar varnished every board. Then after assembly I gave it on more coat. I had the car about 12 yrs. We drove it everywhere, mud rain snow ect. I would just take it to the car wash and wash wood and all. It still looked almost new when I sold it. One last product. If you have a darker oak type finish on your wood. I keep a bottle of "Old English" furniture polish/scratch remover on hand. It fixes and hides any scratches real well. Donnie.....
Well here is what I did a few years ago. I have this small Coleman camp stove, and an old copper boiler. The wheel fits in it with room to spare.. I bought come TSP and fill the copper boiler with water and brought the water to a near boil. Stuck the wheel in there and heated approx one half and then the other half. I kept rotating the wheel till it was really hot. I then used a putty knife as a scraper and removed about 95 % of the paint and crap off the wheel, and beside that it soaked up the wood an made the wheel a bit tighter. I then detail sanded the wheels and re-painted them the black. Looked just like new wheels. Just my way of doing it. A bit time consuming but worked!
Forgot to say and no hazzardist material, or caustic chemicals.
I would use a 1000 watt heat gun.I own a 100 year old Victorian house and used one to strip all porch columns.Worked so easy,had my wife do it.Did not damage any wood.When the left over residue cooled it sanded off easily with 80grit.If you use heat wear a welding mask to protect against fumes.