I am in the process of stripping all old paint etc from a set of wood spoked wheels. Has anyone used the services of the companies that dip the parts to remove the paint? Concern is with possible dammage to the 82 year old wood spokes. I have removed some of the paint with traditional methods but the undercoat of blue, yes blue, is in the grain of the spokes. How to remove that is a question so that I may finish up with natural wood finish. Bleaching comes to mind but I donot know the process. By the way under the coat of black, I do not think origional black, is a base coat of a "cream" and then a coat of "sky blue" both are even in the wells of the doors and just about everyplace on the 26 Roadster their source is a question I have. Both paints very stuborn to the best "aircraft" type remover the black comes off very easy. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Years ago did the natural look by taking an old T windshield glass and wrapping it with a towel and hammer busting it to make long shards of plate glass for scrapers. The glass edge cuts good, gets dull fast on hickory, but a whole windshield did all 4 wheels! Scraped each spoke individually.
A little black was left in deep depressions, but finished out well with varnish for an aged patina.
Use 000 steel wool and household bleach to lighten them. If you want.
If you use paint remover on wheels there is a risk that the material will seep in between the spokes, fellow/rim and hub. This may cause problems with the new paint bonding as the paint remover will slowly leach out from the areas previously mentioned.
I recommend only "Dry" sanding for removing the old paint. The same goes for perpairing the wood wheels for prime and final painting.
Sanding with water will cause the wood to swell as it absorbs water. Even when primed, water can be absorbed thru the primer. This can result in the new paint cracking and blistering. Use a dust mask when sanding.
It has been said...."Once the wheels are completed, 80% of the work required in restoring the car is finished"
Have them media blasted. It saves many miserable hours of scraping. I have done several sets that way, the paint came right off, with no damage to the spokes.
Why not install new spokes? When I did mine, I got to thinking about how old they were, even though they looked good. The new spokes were not much more work than cleaning the old ones.
I used chemical "Aircraft" brand paint stripper on my '15 touring wheels. The original wheels had perhaps ten coats of black paint. It required a couple applications of stripper per wheel to get the majority off. A gallon of stripper was plenty.
Then I used a babbit scraping tool and razor blades to scrape each spoke and the wood fellows completely down to the bare hickory. Finished the paint prep sanding with 60, 120, 240 and 320 paper.
I hear people saying that somehow chemical stripper is going to cause problems later but find that this fear is borne of inexperience and lack of actually understanding how paint stripper works and what it does. You cannot deny the consistent great results achieved with this system on things like a Model T wheel or a complete Boeing 747............
For dealing with old wood, here is something to look at.
To eliminate the paint remaining in the grain after stripping, try using a wire brush with more paint remover. I first did that on some oak antique furniture I restored years ago. I used brass wire, thinking the steel might scratch the wood, but now I think I was overly cautious. It turned out really good.
Two years ago, I did the same on a set of wheels for my 16. Although I was going to paint them black, I didn't want any stripper residue remaining in the grain. It worked good.
I use a coat of striper let it set for an hour then use a power washer to take off about seventy five percent. Let it dry then one more coat will get it to about ninety percent. A cabinet scraper almost unknown these days will take off about one thousands each swipe. Then finish up with a strip of 120 grit. Thats all we used on the finest peace of custom furniture.
That was a very interesting thread....thank you, great research.