My spokes are looking a bit tired, varnish or whatever is on them is flaking. Don't know the history of the wheels plus I haven't had wood before, a friend rubbed some cooking oil on a couple and they came up good.
What other options are there?
NOT peanut oil!
Paint them nice shiny black. It's what Ford did.
The gaps I see between the spokes at the hub worry me. Wood wheels need to be TIGHT. Have someone familiar with them look yours over for safety's sake.
I agree with David. If there is any looseness in the spokes the wheel needs to be re-spoked.
If you want the wood finish look, then scrape away the old finish. Favorite way is with plate glass shards. Old plate windshield or window glass, wrap in an old towel, whack with a mallet and you get nice long shards to scrape with.
Then finish with good exterior spar varnish, thin the first coat 50% and then give 'em several more coats, with bronze wool or finish sandpaper between coats.
For painted ones, sand smooth, prime with compatible paint primer/filler, sand , and finish with good auto enamel black gloss.
Check them first, rubber or plastic mallet, hit each to sound out, twist and turn each spoke, check at the hub and the felloe. All must be sound and tight, you can't have even one loose spoke.
Another vote for gloss black as Ford intended.
use steel wool and try to take off as much as you can. Then use either a can of "restore-a-finish" or sand and restain them completely.
After you have the right color, give them a few coats of spar urethane varnish, I like Helms brand they have at home depot.
..But it took me a solid month each wheel to completely redo. it's an investment to do right
Do like Dan said, scrape them with glass, it is much easier than sandpaper.
Once they are scraped, try using oxalic acid on them. It comes as a dry powder you mix with water and apply it to the spokes, it will lift the grain a bit, but it will remove all the black, (tannic acid) that is discoloring the spoke. If you can't find the powdered, try using a deck wash, most of those contain it.
Once you get them clean and smooth, stain and finish how you like, my personal preference is good old fashioned spar varnish.
With wheel on ground, shake the top of the wheel back and forth. The spokes should not be loose at either the rim or at the hub. If they are loose, you need to shim them or better yet replace them.
Thanks Guys, I will check them out now....
Using the rubber hammer method 1 has zero loose, 1 has 2 loose, 1 has 3 loose and the other has 4 spokes loose enough to click when tapped.
Whats the process for shimming?
Kevin, you are close enough to Vern Jensen in Fielding. Just send him 4 good felloes and he will make you solid new wheels in Hickory. If you can scrounge up a set of good hubs, you can leave your wheels intact as reserves or for possible resale.
The rubber hammer is a bit of an overkill. If you rap each spoke with the back of a knuckle, the loose ones will talk to you. Try it on the known loose ones you have found and you will see what I mean.
Allan from down under.
Hi; would linseed oil be a good finish?
A three dollar can of gloss black spray paint will make them look terrific. And the process
can be repeated over and over and over again as they get dingy.
Varnished wood look = ungood, silly, clown car. Just say "no".
Gary, linseed oil is better than nothing, but it will need to be re-applied frequently. At my shop we used to rebuild quite a few wooden wagon wheels, and I always recommended a painted finish as originally done. An opaque paint is much more durable than any clear finish I know of.....That being said, a lot of people love the "natural wood" look and have to have it, even though it is rarely original and requires more effort to maintain.
Alan thanks for those details.
I do like the natural wood look, not sure what I will do long term but i need to address the loose ones, prefer to have a go at making them safe myself first.
I have some linseed oil on hand Gary and yes Dave they would take more maintenance but if I didn't enjoy maintenance I wouldn't have T's.
Thanks for your input guys.
You really need to consider new spokes. That's the best way to make them safe.
Any positive results with Qwik Poly used to fill the gap between the spokes?
Kevin, here's my take: Don't use linseed oil on spokes you plan to restore. When you get ready to put a nice finish on, you won't be able to use a good sealer. On model T wheels I have used clear penetrating epoxy sealer with good results....CPES from Smith's in Richmond, California. Good Luck!
Your right Jerry but cost will influence when this gets done down the track.
I was wondering the same Lee
Dave that makes sense, if new spokes are in the plan maybe I could risk an oil on the current spokes.
No glue, quick poly, jb weld, shims, linseed oil, etc. can make a loose wheel as strong as it should be again. They only way to fix it properly is to replace the spokes.
^ if you do replace the spokes and they fit a 1926 wheel - I'll buy them For my trailer.
Kevin, I scraped and hand sanded the wheels on my Buick. I then followed the advice of a wheel builder in the club. I used BOILED Linseed oil. After some time I applied Bondall stain followed later by the clear gloss coat. Looks good and all readily available at NZ hardware stores.
Nevin, what year is your Buck? Anymore pictures?
Well, there are differing opinions as to what needs to be done to have a safe wheel. The big problem is, the spokes are made of wood, and wood varies in qualities from piece to piece. Age is also a factor, as well as climate changes the wood has been through. The gaps indicate your wood has shrunk. Has it lost it's strength and flexibility? If it hasn't, then you could use shims between the spokes to tighten them up--but how does one know if the wood is still good?
I am NOT advocating any solutions here, just hoping you will consider carefully the sum of the advice given here!
Stephen, it is a 1914 EX25 Tourer.
Nice Nevin, might get to see it this July if I don't get snowed in again lol.
David I hear what your saying and due to the original owner not being around I have no idea how old the spokes are.
Travis I will keep that in mind.
Neat Buick, Nevin. But in the states, '14s had electrical systems. Were the export cars different?
Gilbert, yes. The EX stands for export and retained the acetylene lighting and crank start (Bosche DU 4 Magneto). The B25 was the U.S. version and had the Delco electrics.
B25 Buick (1914)