I'm in the process of finishing my rebuilt wheels and I'm having a hard time figuring out what stain to use. I'm planning on covering whatever I use with spar urethane but I want to be sure whatever stain I use will withstand the sun and rain. All of the stains I see state that they are for indoor use only. I saw the gel type that looked promising but I wanted to be sure so I'm not doing this again in a year. Thanks for the help!
Look for a supplier of marine sealers and varnish's.
stain will be sealed by the urethane get a good marine brand but before you stain the spokes get a piece of scrap wood and try the wood with no stain the spokes will look awesome
Craig, wood takes up stain at different rates, depending on the grain, density etc. I find it better to mix the stain onto the spar varnish. That way you have most control over the application. It is neater and more even than trying to get the stain evenly applied. You have control over the depth of colour as well. A second or third coat, usually recommended, allows you to adjust the amount of stain for darker colour, or to delete the stain from the varnish if you have the depth of colour you like. Just make sure the stain is compatible with the varnish.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Whatever you use, park under cover. Even the best marine spar urethane will be ruined by sun and rain in a few years.
I blended two colors of "Old Masters" stain (which I purchased from the local Aboffs store), "Crimson Fire" and "Rich Mahogany." I wiped on two coats on consecutive days and then followed that with about ten coats of Epifanes high gloss clear varnish (marine spar varnish with UV protection).
Here's a photo of how it turned out. If you like, I'll e-mail you Chip Button's directions for properly applying the varnish.
That looks amazing Bob! We've cleaned and sanded our future wheels and they're ready to look like that. Of course primed and painted first. It's my Bosses car and he hasn't decided how light or dark he wants to go,,,also doing the dash, floors, seat riser, etc., to match as closely as possible. I'll show him this pic so he'll know!This is a "before" pic...
I used Varithane's Traditional Pecan because I liked this color and yes it says "interior" which only matters if you're not going to put anything but a wax coat over it after staining like you would furniture. But since I was going to coat each spoke with many coats of crystal clear lacquer it doesn't really matter what kind of stain I used. Each spoke was sealed with the lacquer and finished before they were pressed.
Each spoke was coated with crystal clear lacquer (6 coats) sanding in between every two coats.
The last coat got sanded lightly with 0000 steel wool to break the shine to a nice satin sheen. I then coated every spoke with carnuba wax
My hole jig is an old spoke that I drilled a hole through and relief cut to fit the hub flange. You clamp this down and it holds the drill straight.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat or in this case clear finish a wood spoke wheel.
Why not use the clear that is designed to use on vehicles out in the weather?
That paint is the urethane clear that is used on the top coat of virtually all cars today. It is more expensive but as obviously Steve Jelf has found out if it is poor quality and fails you will have to go through all that wheel preparation again.
I used it on the spokes on my Model T over 20 years ago. Like Allan I added a tint to the clear.
It has spent time on the road from the hot desert of Arizona to below freezing in Yellowstone national Park.
There is no signs of deterioration and I don't expect to ever have to do anything to them except wash and clean till I'm gone from this earth.
Spar Varnishes are slow drying, often not up to exposure to harsh sunlight for long periods, where as the 2 part urethanes dry rock hard in minutes, as they are designed for auto use they can also be altered to make them more flexible as they do for plastic parts if you so desire.
They are the best option as an all over paint if your car has a mixture of wood and metal bodywork.
Apologies for the dirty wheel, I rarely take pictures of my own car.
I haven't seen anyone say "Marine epoxy". That is what is used by a lot of wooden boat builders nowadays. It's a two part product that requires mixing in the proper proportions, and they don't give it away, but I'd bet it will hold up better than urethane.
Epoxy paint is great for adhesion, Urethanes often use it as the primer especially on hard to paint surfaces such as stainless steel and aluminium, and its fantastic at preventing attack from acids and other harsh chemicals, Marine epoxy paints advantage is its ability to seal well in the marine environment, if you look up the various marine epoxy products often its recommended to paint over it with Polyurethane products to help protect it and add to the overall durability.
BUT it is no where near good enough as a material to use on the subject being discussed ( wooden wheel clear finish)
The various urethanes are far superior. Some high end vehicles ( Lexus etc)are even coated in a ceramic version which is nearly impossible to scratch. (costs a bomb)
Having seen the test results for both epoxy and Urethanes there is no comparison.
As a good proportion of new cars never live in a garage the paint has to be able to stand up to all extremes. Use clear that is designed for them and then look after your T by garaging it as I suspect most do over the modern car ( I do) and it will last forever.
I'm sure some here will go for the cheaper and inferior products, that is their choice but I answered this question so that some may investigate further than the local hardware store into the products that are available to use. You should also check out the epoxy if you like, I would be interested if someone can find evidence that it is anywhere near as good as the Urethanes.
All you guys who are doing this, just remember it's a modern fad.
(Message edited by steve_jelf_parkerfield_ks on May 21, 2015)
Wood wheel hickory spokes, fresh new, sanded fine.
First coat of quality marine spar varnish cut 75% with thinner. Quality hair brush. First coat soaks in. Let dry 24 hrs.
Steel wool, then wipe with tack rag, 2nd coat with varnish cut 50%. Dry 24 hrs.
Steel wool, then wipe with tack rag, 3rd coat with varnish cut 25%. Dry 24 hrs.
Steel wool, then wipe with tack rag, 4th and final with 100% varnish.
Did that thirty years ago.
Still looks good today
I for one have a full set of fresh amish built early wheels....which will soon be painted black
I hope to get my already re-spoked wheels finished this summer. I studied a lot about finishes including "natural" finishes. I liked what I read about the use of Tung Oil and when I spoke to my local wood finish expert, he recommended Teak Oil as it is better suited for outdoor exposure. My worry with clear urethanes and varnishes is that once moisture encroaches underneath you can plan on re-doing your work. The oils may allow for some touch up when needed.
I have, however, seen the light and decided to make them as Henry intended to avoid being "faddish" as it has been put.
Justin, so you will now have to worry that moisture will encroach underneath as any black paint will be exactly the same scenario as using a Varnish or urethane (they are paints without any color pigment)
Though applied properly moisture is not a problem.
Agree with Peter. When it comes to the effects of weather, it doesn't much matter whether you use paint or varnish. It's an aesthetic choice. Some like the modern look, and some prefer their wheels the way God and Henry intended. Some like redneck rock, but I prefer Count Basie or Bob Wills. Some like liver or Cream of Wheat, but I'd rather have frijoles refritos or kimchi. Different strokes.
I understand the basic difference between clear and pigmented coatings. My view of the matter is much simpler in that when a finish starts to go south the clear coating shows all of the sins underneath while the black paint just stays black. When they both decide to start coming off, my dislike of wood refinishing is minimized by shooting on a little more black as opposed to re-doing the entire clear finish. My wheels are also assembled so I missed the boat on coating the entire spoke prior to assembly for an all over seal.
I admire those who can make flawless finishes that last but my patience is not quite that good since I am a relative youngster in this group. It is getting better though.
Preparation is 99% of the job. Your work will only be as good as the surface it is covering. After preparation, I would paint the spokes with Minwax Polyshades, which is Polyurethane with the color mixed in. It is durable and the stain is suspended throughout the polyurethane. Home Depot carrys it. If you want added protection, you can coat the Polyshade with your spar varnish after your Polyshade thoroughly dries. A beautiful color I have had great luck with is Pecan. I made a hood for my stove out of poplar and finished it with a couple of coats of Minwax Pecan colored Polyshades to make it match my Cherry cabinets. When I was done, you could not tell that the hood was not made of expensive cherry. Jim Patrick
This is what I did and I've tested them and they are waterproof
Also top bows as well