To treat my spokes or not to treat- that is the question

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: To treat my spokes or not to treat- that is the question
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Douglas Dachenbach on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 10:51 am:

I am about ready to take my wheels or what is left of them to Stutzman to be re-spoked. I took all the spokes out and am having the metal parts painted by someone that does a far better job than I with a paint gun.

The question I have is: A friend that is into boating, suggested that I use a penetrating epoxy solution that he uses on his wooden boat to preserve and harden my spokes. It is a two part solution that is diluted with lacquer thinner, acetone or (suggested to my by the manufacturer) denatured alcohol. I would dip the spokes after Stutzman has finished them and just before he mounts them in the wheel. The solution should be about the viscosity of water and cures in about 24 hours. The purpose is to seal the wood, especially the ends, to maintain a constant humidity level. It is a surface treatment but does penetrate into the wood and seals and hardens to the depth that it penetrates. If it were old wood, it would repair rotted wood fibers hardening them to stronger than before.

I know that I will never live to see any advantage to the life of the spokes but will someone 80 years from now bless me for having strong tight spokes and wonder what I did. Or will I have a problem that I'm not seeing and have to go back in 5 years and have Stutzman redo my wheels? My hope is that in a 100 years from now, when there may not be wheelwrights like Stutzman, my wheels will still be running true and tight. Has anyone ever tried this or something like it and what was/is the result?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 11:08 am:

I'm far from expert on this, but considering comments and data presented on another recent thread here I have a thought. The property that makes hickory spoke superior to other woods is "Impact Bending, height of drop causing failure". The operative word here is "bending". It seems to me that applying a product that makes the wood harder would actually work counter to this desired property. Harder is not necessarily better.

Anyhow just my thought.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 11:40 am:

IMO, just let the wheelwright complete the wheel, the seal and paint with choice. Adding finishes before pressing the spokes may affect the process.

New wood is wonderful, and use a good all weather paint sealer, then apply primer for the final finish coat, auto primer and auto enamel work fine on wood spokes.



For old, but good, spokes, have used the "wood rot treatment", goes on thin like milk, many coats and it seals the rough surfaces, and gives good results for spokes that still have a lot of strength to them. Dries clear. Won't be much use to a poor spoke that is rotted or loose. In that case, new wood is needed.





Of course, Henry just used black paint, two coats over the fresh spoke, and that lasted for years and years, even today good old spokes are carrying the load on many T's. But when the spoke gets worn at the felloe ends, or loose at the hub, or decayed, frayed, and soft....time again to re-new that wheel with new hickory :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 12:26 pm:

You should let Stutzmann assemble the wheels and hubs. Any finish that you apply needs to go on the finished assembly. That way it will be perfectly true and will last for generations.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Coco - Winchester Va. on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 12:32 pm:

I would say no, and here's why.

If the spokes are being done correctly, then they're being dried to about 3% moisture content. Then, when the wheel is assembled, the wood absorbs moisture from the surrounding air (humidity), taking the wood back to it's natural 15-18%, and at the same time swelling and tightening the wheel.

Any sealant at the time before assembly would affect this process in a negative way.

After wheels are assembled and left for a couple of weeks to absorb moisture, then you can prime and paint, no need to seal.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Douglas Dachenbach on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 12:40 pm:

I spoke with Noah Stutzman a month or so ago and he seemed interested in the idea. Said stabilizing the humidity would be a plus. Of course, said the spokes have to be segregated by wheel as they are custom made for just that wheel but he could treat them for me. I was going to offer to bring a rack up to dip and hang the spokes to save him if he wanted me to. I don't think it swells the wood any just seals (and maybe hardens)the surface of new wood. I can paint afterwards or if I want natural wood, I can put on a good varnish to protect against UV. The manufacturer said the end grain is key to getting stable humidity in the finish product. That is tough to do on an assembled wheel.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wilson, Saint John NB, Canada on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 12:42 pm:

From what has been said here, it appears that if I am going with natural finish, I should not varnish the spokes before I assemble the wheel. I am planning on using a few coats of spar varnish. Comments?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 02:31 pm:

Dave

Yes. Don't varnish for natural spoke finish prior to assembly. Varnish the completed wheel. Have done several. Use a high quality spar varnish, boat type, quality hair brush, thin the first coat 75%, it soaks in great. Then bronze wool to clean surface, brush on 2nd coat at 50%, same wool again, brush on 3rd coat thinned 25%, then wool again, final coats 100% varnish.




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dick Fischer - Arroyo Grande, CA on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 08:12 pm:

Spokes with unpainted ends have lasted more than 100 years in a favorable environment. But if they are exposed to a wet - dry - wet situation, their life will be much shorter. They will probably last much longer - especially in a harsh environment - if the ends are sealed before assembly.

You might want to talk to somebody like Gougeon Brothers, Inc (866-937-8797). Ask to speak to someone in their technical services department. They are leading edge suppliers of epoxy products for wood construction, and maintain their own test labs for environmental experiments. They're mostly into boats, but have also manufactured such exotic things as giant windmill blades.

I think the first thing they will tell you is that the better you seal the wood (including bolt holes), the longer the item will last. They will also no doubt tell you that adding any solvent to an epoxy for viscosity reduction will cause the epoxy to be more porous after cure.

Be sure to offer to send pictures so the engineers can understand how a wheel is assembled. Thickness buildup at the ends of the spokes will be a concern for assembly, and you will want them to give their best advice on how to deal with that.

You will also want to ask them about whether a coating has any effect on flexibility of the spokes. I suspect not, but you want to hear it from the experts.

Dick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn-Monroeville OH on Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 08:34 pm:

Just another opinion..I took Joe Bells advice and bought some Kwik Poly from Langs and was glad I did. Goes on super thin, sets up super fast, sands super easy and makes the spokes super smooth!. Get the idea? This stuff is super!! LOL Worth the money. Even great to tighten up spokes that are a bit loose, but not dangerously loose. I tightened up several on my '20, the stuff even migrated down some fairly open grain where I poured it in from the inside of the rim (demountable) and not only tightened up the spoke, but obviously repaired one that was opening up some. This stuff has a remarkable adhesive quality also.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Monday, September 28, 2015 - 02:15 am:

In 2011, I had to re-spoke my right front wheel on my '26 coupe. Using the plans devised by John Regan, I built myself a spoke press and purchased new hickory spokes from Snyder's. I painted the spokes, including joining surfaces and tenons, before assembly and found that they would not press down, no matter what. I did some calculating and found that the cumulative paint thicknesses on each joining surface actually added about 1/8" to the joining surfaces, making it impossible to press them in. The coated tenons, added a little more. I ended up having to scrape all of the paint off of the joining surfaces and tenons with a razor blade, before I was able to press the spokes in.

Coat your spokes in the finish of your choice, but only after having them pressed in and secured. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Stolpestad on Monday, September 28, 2015 - 06:41 am:

40 years ago in high school I had a 29 Essex needing spokes and wheel repair. Our local building maintenance man was kind enough to make me spokes for the wheels. We applied lindseed oil at that time. Anyone ever check on this?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Stolpestad on Monday, September 28, 2015 - 06:41 am:

40 years ago in high school I had a 29 Essex needing spokes and wheel repair. Our local building maintenance man was kind enough to make me spokes for the wheels. We applied lindseed oil at that time. Anyone ever check on this?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Monday, September 28, 2015 - 08:35 am:

Linseed oil either boiled or raw is a good finish for indoor items like furniture or pianos. It has no resistance to ultraviolet rays and evaporates in sunlight.

If you plan to drive the car you need to use a finish that can protect the wood and encapsulate the moisture content in the wood. This is why products like polyurethane spar varnish or in the case of Ford, black enamel are used on wood wheels rather than old time indoor finishes like linseed oil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By G.R.Cheshire on Monday, September 28, 2015 - 08:45 am:

A little off this thread but when I re-spoked one of my wheels I took the old spokes to a friend who makes wooden bodies for pens He made me one and sold the rest he says he has a waiting list for when I re-spoke another wheel :-)


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