I'm thinking about painting my wooden wheels myself using a quality black spray paint from a can. What's the difference in paint from a spray can and the paint a body shop would use?
Rattle can Rustoleum costs a lot less. Awhile back Jim Patrick did an experiment to see how it would hold up. Maybe he'll see this and update the results. I used it on my wheels a couple of years ago, and so far it's fine.
If your doing it on the cheap, why don't u use a brush.
Spray can paint is mostly solvent so it sprays out that little jet. Automotive paint is more pigment and less solvent and lays down a good layer. The viscosity of rattle can paint is like lighter fluid but automotive paint is like nail polish.
Spray bomb something and let it set up good then hit it with rubbing compound and watch it disappear! Hit automotive paint with rubbing compound and watch it shine.
Rattle-can Rustoleum can do a very fine finish on Model T parts, including wheels. It's convenient, and you don't have to use a lot of reducer to clean the sprayer.
One notable disadvantage: Any rattle-can paint, lacquer or enamel, DISSOLVES IN GASOLINE! Be careful when you fill the tank and drain the carb bowl.
If you're determined to go with a spray can, look at what Bill Hirsch has on his web site for paint. I used his spray can paint for my rims and it has held up well. It's expensive but as close as you can come to ready to use automotive paint. You may want to check out Eastwood for regular automotive paint. They have gallon kits in urethane enamel that come with hardener and reducer(thinner) and you can put them on with a Harbor Freight $12 el cheapo HVLP spray gun and they gloss up nice. I used their Boulevard Black and it came out great even for a novice like me. I learned the hard way that any paint job is only as good as the prep job.
Why not just have the spokes turned out from ebony wood? The paint cost & work would be minimal; the wood--maybe not.
I have used this black paint on some of my smaller projects. It is an easy spraying durable paint, and I spray through a harbor freight cheap gun.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-5-Quart-High-Gloss-Jet-Black-2K-Polyurethane-Urethane- Single-Stage-Paint-Kit-/271545348831?hash=item3f395d32df&item=271545348831&pt=Mo tors_Automotive_Tools&vxp=mtr
I'm still pretty much in love with Valspar "Primer + Paint in One".
Having recently used some Krylon "DUAL PAINT + PRIMER" I'm very impressed with that too.
The Valspar dries faster and is less prone to running but the Krylon is excellent too and probably easier to find.
I didn't bother wiping off the hub but you can see the reflection of the hub cap in the wheel flange.
Unfortunately the photos don't do the paint justice.
You can't beat automotive paint. It takes a lot more work for a nice set of wheels than a rattle can alone can accomplish. I spend hours sealing, sanding, priming and painting my new 14 T front wheels. If you insist on taking the rattle can short-cut try to find some paint by a company called Kimmball. Here is a link to their website. Their paint is used in pro body shops and has a high solids content. I've used their black before and believe me, it does really well. It goes a long way but I've done coil springs for a MG we restored and people ask if they have been powder coated!
Don't want to give the impression I used the Kimball spray can to do my wheels - they were done with Sherwin Williams black acrylic enamel with a hardner and what you see is right out of the spray gun. Wheels were sealed with West System resin/epoxy commonly used in boat building. I think Poly Quick is a similar product. Standard automotive epoxy primer was used under the black.
Why don't you but a quart of industrial black paint from Tractor Supply and use a very good natural bristle sash brush. It will be much more durable and with good paint, a good brush and careful work you can get a smooth finish with virtually no brush marks. No matter what method you use if your spokes aren't pretty and smooth, they won't be pretty and smooth when you finish.
If your spokes are new and pretty, I would polyurethane them natural and black enamel the metal parts.