Setting up a new set of wheels for my 26 fordor. Would you use a sealer before paint, or just paint?
I'm using the body color on the spokes. (Winsor Maroon). Black on the hub & Rim.
Yes, put sealer or primer or both on the wood and steel. I would put about 40 hours into each wheel on my own T. I won't go thru all the steps I did on ours because most will not do it.
I'm painting everything separate, then assemble.
Careful with paint on the spoke ends if you are going to press the spokes together into the hub, that paint layer on each face of the wedge will interfere with the spoke ends from coming together.
Two tone paint scheme will need masking on the spokes at the felloe and around the hub and front plate with an assembled wheel, painting the spokes in another color.
I believe that painting the spokes before assembly is fraught with possible complications. As Dan suggests, that part of the spokes covered by any part of the hub assembly should not be painted, as it may cause interference problems. Others with paint experience have indicated that the paint acts as a lubricant between components, preventing a firm joint. While it may be easier to do the painting with the wheels apart, it is not too difficult to paint the hub parts prior to assembly and then mask them off when painting the spokes.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
I think there's both upside and downside considerations to putting sealer or preservative on the spokes before assembling.
Dan T. and Allen both point out that the thickness of the paint film will interfere with parts fit. They're right.
On the other hand, leaving the ends of the spokes unprotected invites both rot and cracking. For that reason, some means of protecting the entire spoke (end to end and inside any bolt holes) is advisable.
Let's talk about rot. Rot is basically what we see when fungi attack wood. Wood is organic, and is great food for tiny organisms, especially if the food is moist. Bare wood absorbs moisture both from the atmosphere and from driving on wet roads. The moisture absorbs most readily through end grain.
The second problem is wood splitting and looseness. When bare wood absorbs moisture it tries to swell. If it's constrained by tight fitting (metal) surroundings, the wood crushes slightly because it cannot actually grow. Next time the wood dries out, it's smaller because it has been crushed. Seasonal swelling and shrinking also promotes cracks. Can you say loose spokes ?
You can protect from fungal attack by treating the spokes with a protectant. Protectants are basically a poison that the fungi can't eat. Most protectants are a watery liquid that soaks into the wood and does not change any dimensions once dry. So far, so good.
But protectants don't prevent swelling due to moisture absorption. For that, you need a sealer. Unfortunately, most sealers leave some finite film thickness. Paint is a pretty good sealer, but it covers only the wood surface. Once the paint is scratches, moisture can enter. The wood swells due to the moisture and, bingo, the paint cracks and peels. So we need a sealer that soaks into the wood such that it can't be simply scratched off.
Products like Thompson Water Seal do prevent moisture absorption to some extent, and once dry don't really change the wood dimensions. But they only last for a few years and then the wood needs to be treated again. I don't think anybody wants to take their wheels apart every few year to reseal the spokes.
What we need is a very thin, penetrating sealant that lasts pretty much forever but doesn't leave much of a film thickness on the outside of the part. Maybe Quick Poly would be a good candidate. I've never used it, but understand that it's very thin.
After learning about Qwik Poly from Joe Bell last year, I'm totally sold on it. I even just used it last week to do a (temporary anyway) repair/tightening of some slightly sloppy spokes on my '20 Runabout. Sure made 'em tight. Shocked to see how on one spoke the Q-P actually ran down into the spoke and filled in a full length crack as it swelled up and oozed out a bit. That spoke don't budge at all now!! Sand lightly then your paint is nice and smooth.
I checked Lang's website for kwik Poly. They don't recommend it for wheels.
In a response to a question they said not to use it on something that has to hold up a lot of weight and is under tension. That it is more suited for body wood.
Lang's may have misunderstood your question. I agree that QP isn't a good way to repair a damaged spoke, especially if is has rot. But what I was suggesting is that it might make a good sealer on fresh spokes.
This site sure needs an edit button. After posting I realized that I addressed Eric instead of Mike. Sorry 'bout that.
Unless Quik-Poly has changed in the last few years, it works great on wheels. Nothing can fix rot, but it does seal end grain well, and I used it to shim spokes at the hub to align the rim. You'd be amazed at how much you can move the rim with just a tiny amount of movement at the hub. I'm talking side-to-side here, not between spokes. It's been some 12 years ago, so I don't remember everything, but the wheels still look great, although they haven't been used much at all (the car's not finished YET).
Dan, I would assemble the spokes to the fellow and than paint the wheel.If you paint them before they are going to chip when you assemble them.
I am a furniture upholster. The Quick-poly is good for furniture that has had to many tacks in the wood and rotted wood in a model T body.
I would NEVER put it in wheels. That is your life if you hit a pot hole on a tour!!!!!!!!
I suggest it for sealing end grain and for adjusting spoke alignment--as a shim--it flows in and fills the gap, and then you tighten the bolts, I would not suggest it for filling rot, but it's great for filling the grain so the paint goes on smoooooth.
Just trying to find a way to paint the felloes, hub, & drum black, and the spokes winsor maroon. If the wheel is assembled, you don't get much paint between the spokes & drum. You still need something on the spokes to help prevent moisture damage. But look how long they lasted when Henry painted them.
I had no trouble at all spraying paint on spokes with very little overspray on the parts that fit together. It gave me no trouble at all when I pressed the wheels together. Assembly produced a couple of tiny nicks which were easily touched up. I doubt that I could find them now. Three years later the wheels are still tight.
When I painted my 14 wood fellow wheels I removed the brake drums and flanges. Then painted the wheels and break drums. Then assembled the drums and flanges and tightened every thing up good. Then I masked the flanges and painted them that way you will not crack the paint around the carriage bolts when you tighten the bolts.
Steve: I'll bet that brass valve stem really throws your wheel out of balance, unless you don't go very fast!
Nice looking new wood wheels Steve
Prefer to do the painting after assembly. Priming first the bare wood using Zinsser Primer Sealer (white), brushed on, and then sanded out the runs.
Then spray coat of automotive primer gray for the final coat of enamel.
Double wet coat of Nason acrylic enamel finish, 1980 Ford Thunderbird gray.
Final results after a pin stripe guy did his craft
Larry: Fast? What is that?
Didn't Ford dip the assembled wheel then spin it in the later years?
I have to agree with the folks who warn against painting the spokes in advance.
"you don't get much paint between the spokes & drum. You still need something on the spokes to help prevent moisture damage. But look how long they lasted when Henry painted them."
Yes, exactly. Ford didn't have a problem with it. Plus, when you paint after assembly, the paint will run into any seams or gaps, (of which there really should be none), and also seal off any seams between spokes and hub plates & flanges. This will keep moisture out. Besides, you could always put some preservative on those faces prior to assembly.
How you mask off for 2 colors is a problem, I'll admit. I guess you could paint everything Windsor Maroon, let it dry well, tape off the spokes, then repaint the hubs & felloes in black.
I know even less about painting than i do spelling! But i know that is the best use of a dump rake i have seen in a long time!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Here is what I did and what I used on my new spokes in 2011 when rebuilding a front wheel. I used Sherwin Williams exterior oil based primer on the bare wood of the spokes and Gloss black enamel as a finish, all applied by hand. It only stands to reason that the same paint that is used to protect a house from the elements would be the best thing to use to protect wooden spokes from the same harmful elements. Of course the primer for the steel hub parts and rim cannot be the same primer that is used on the wood. That needs to be a red oxide primer made to be used on steel and sprayed on prior to the mounting of the spokes. The same gloss black enamel can be used over the red oxide primer. My wheel still look like new.
Don't feel bad Bud, I've been spelling for over 60 years and still screw it up.
Thanks for all the information. I think I have a plan as to how to do this. First primer the wood and felloes and hub separate. Because of different types of primer. Then assemble. Spray paint my maroon spokes. When dry, mask off spokes, and paint felloes and hub. Then mount a black drum. But it just goes to show you how many of the boys read this forum. Thanks again for all your help.
Bud and Michael, I want to comment on different post's here but I don't know how to spell half of the words so I don't bother.
Dan, When you've finished painting your wheels you simply must post a picture of them. I've never seen wheels in that color combination before and think they'll be very nice.