Just wondering if anyone has ever removed the black paint from wooden wheels, sanded the spokes, stained and clear coated? How hard would it be to remove 85 years of black paint? Any suggestions as to the best paint remover?
I always scrape mine with a scraper, then sand. Chemical strippers tend to soak into the wood. Much easier if the wheels are apart.
I did exactly that on my '15 touring back in 1995. I used "Aircraft" brand chemical stripper from Home Depot. It took three sessions of stripper, using a babbitt scraper and coarse Scotch Brite to clean the spokes after the chemical stripper had done what it could to 5 or 6 coats of 90 year old paint. I also used the high pressure water to clean the spokes very well before applying the Minwax.
I used 2 coats of brushed on Minwax marine polyurethane on the spokes. It has held up very well. The hubs and rims were painted with Krylon gloss black enamel.
Thanks! Will give a spoke or two a try just for a "test run".Great answers!
Be sure to shake your spokes while still on the car to see if you can move any of them in the felloe. And yes after you test each spoke its usually best to remove them. I use a paint scrapper Sold in the Sherman William Paint Stores. They sell a paint scrapper that has a three bladed scraper in the end. The blades rotate after one gets dull. I find that one blade last through several wheels, before I rotate to a new blade. I think the all time worst piece of advice on the forum was to new people was to use a broken beer bottle to scrape the spokes. I think the Sherman Williams scrappers cost some where around 8 dollars. After I scrape the spokes I then sand them with a belt sander
I'm not sure it pays to invest that kind of time and elbow-grease in wheels that are old enough to need refinishing. As Stutzman's Wheel Shop charges less than $200 to restore and completely re-wood a wheel, your desire to do-it-yourself might be better served by painting the primed hardware and staining and varnishing the bare wood of a freshly overhauled wheel.
The result would be safer and look nicer.
Bob, your idea sounds better If I choose to use a wheel restorer like Stutzman, I assume I remove the spokes from the hubs and felloe. Then ship hubs and felloe to them? any idea what shipping would be from Ohio to Georgia for finished wheels? UPS? Truck?
Or you can buy new spokes from Stutzman, finish them, and do your own assembly. I spent $152 on spokes for two wheels. That includes shipping.
The white cardboard tube you have in the middle, does it serve to keep the cardboard disk in his place?? Is the length important??
The paper cylinder turned out to be unnecessary. In fact, it got in the way. The collar stayed in place just being pressed on, but a bit of tape for insurance would probably be a good idea. Also, pay attention to the note with the video about not fastening the felloe in place.
Here's a new Stutzmann respoked wheel I am working on today. The rim and hub are the originals. New felloe and spokes were installed by Stutzmann family:
When I ship a wheel to Stutzman's for rebuilding, I remove the tire and tube from the wheel and ship it, intact, via UPS. On last occasion, shipping cost for me was something like $35 (one way), which isn't too bad.
For less than $200, Stutzman will take the wheel completely apart, discard all the old wooden pieces, sandblast, clean and prime your metal parts and reassemble the wheel with new rivets and all new wood parts including the felloe halves. When you get your wheel back, the wood will be bare, but sanded and ready for staining and varnishing, which will make it look ridiculously gorgeous.
And it'll be tight and strong — and good for decades worth of peace of mind.
You can specify whether you want all your spokes to be the same darkness and grain of wood, or, if you're like me and prefer a more random look, Mr. Stutzman will mix it up for you. His workmanship is superb and his prices are so low, it just doesn't make sense to invest time, money and energy in stripping and refinishing an elderly wheel that's close to the end of its safe service life.
I like to learn how they do It.
Back in the day it was plain ole paint stripper and
a piece of busted glass. Glass is way cleaner than
What kind of wood does Stutzman use? Is it kiln dried?
Also Bob, I assume that is the cost for a wood felloe wheel?
Stutzmanns grows the Hickory in their own forest on the property. They use huge draft horses and massive wagons (built by Stutzmann) to haul the felled trees to the Stutzmann saw mill.
The trees are sawn into lumber, then dried in the Stutzmann barns.
It is a very interesting place. The employees come from the surrounding Amish / Mennonite community, so there is a large stable for all the horse belonging to employees. Beautiful black enameled two man surreys and sedan carriages (made by Stutzmann) sit waiting to be hitched up for the ride home after work.
I had about 12 30x3 1/2 rims and a box of front and rear hubs and I turned them all into wood wheels. I used birch grown on my property, I fell the trees, slabbed the blocks with a chain saw and let the slabs dry for about 2 years. I resawed them into rough blanks and turned them on my lathe into spoke form. They have to be cut to exactly 15 degrees x 24 cuts = 360 degrees. The inside of the rim has to be measured to get the exact circumference which is 69 51/64 (69.7968) The circumference of the inside of the finished felloe is 68 5/8. Using 68 5/8 as the felloe circumference divided by 12 for spoke centres = 5.816" to each centre. Once a master is completed a template can be made to make the remainder. The felloe wood is cut into strips 1/8" with 8 strips in total. I left the dried strips out in the rain for about a week so they could be bent into the rim and let redry. After the laminate strips were thoroughly dry they were glued and clamped in the rim for 2 days. The rough felloes are removed from the rim and cut to length starting at 35" then trim to fit. The centre of each spoke is marked at 5.816" and drilled at 5/8" to fit the tip of the spoke. To assemble the unit 6 spokes are inserted into half a felloe and set in the rim, the other 6 are inserted into the other half felloe and placed in to the center. The felloe half will have to be forced into the rim with a press or composition hammer until it fits tight inside the rim. If it is too tight to fit the spokes will have to be disassembled and a slight sanding of each spoke is required until a tight fit. Once in place the felloes are riveted and the metal couplings are attached. The unfinished felloe is square and is required to be carved and rounded off for a finished look. The bare wood is saturated in linseed oil and let dry for about a week then painted. There is considerable discussion on which is the best wood and the consensus is hickory. Oak is also used, I don't know where birch fits in to the program but with limited driving and speed I feel it is acceptable. It was a fun project the first 4 wheels were total failures but with perseverance I finally succeeded. They are on my car now and work just fine Dave
Last Winter, I sent a rear, non-demountable, wood-felloe wheel to Mr. Stutzman's shop and his charge for sandblasting and priming the metal parts, replacing all the wood with new spokes and felloe halves and completely assembling the wheel using new rivets, was $190.
Mr. Stutzman uses hickory and his workmanship is superb. The wood of his wheels is bare, but sanded and ready for the customer to apply either paint over primer, or varnish over stain, or just plain varnish (and by the way, Epifanes makes the very best marine varnish).
These were chemical vat stripped now 30 years ago, followed by a neutralizing vat soak of 72 hours and then air dried.
No scraping necessary just a quick fine sand to lower the raised grain. The finish is 3 coats of straight 'wat-r-lox' tung oil. The rims were Rust-o-leum and sable brush.
Never a chip or discolor...a water hose and a wipe works well. Picture taken in the last 2 years when that car was finally stripped to a chassis for an overhaul.
Thanks for the info Bob.
There is a lot of spoke theory and technology. Early spokes were slightly tapered similar to early buggys the taper was only about 2 degrees and it gave a coned appearance, on early buggys it was quite noticeable. That technology was put aside and the spokes were cut square. Some spokes had 3/8, 1/2 and 5/8 tips, some were oval and most were round. Some spoke makers will go through a chord of wood to get just the right grain they will pick mid way between the core and the outside. In the Ford days I would estimate 100,000,000 spokes were manufactured and I don't think they were that fussy and many still lasted 100 years. Some later spokes were cut square and pressed in to the rim others were cut on a bevel and placed in to the steel felloe alternately so that the final 4 spokes would be pressed in like wedges then the flanges would be bolted up tight. Some flanges bolt through the spokes and some bolt between the spokes. There were several wheel manufacturers and probably many spoke producers in the day. I have a box of Ford spokes and it is hard to find a set of 12 the same. Some felloes were laminated and some were solid, some were round and some were square. So there is not just one way to reproduce a wheel, tapered. beveled, round, oval,3/8, 1/2, 5/8 tip, square or round felloe, demountable and non-demountable wheels. Some demountable rims of different manufacturers had the valve hole off between the next set of spokes so they wern't interchangeable, however the hole can be redrilled and the rim can be used successfully. Looking through piles of rims it is hard to find a matching set because of the different makers, they all work but there are some minor differences. Dave