When I removed my old spokes from the 1923 touring, the paint covered the parts that were visible, but there was no paint on the portions hidden by the hub and where the spokes touched each other.
I plan to rebuild the wheels with new spokes. I don't know if I should seal and paint or varnish the entire spoke or leave the portion behind the hub exposed. Will varnish or paint on the entire spoke, including the portion where the spokes touch, interfere with pressing them into the wheel?
Friction holds wood together. If you pain or varnish the entire spoke, friction is reduced where you need it most, at the hub. So my opinion, only pain or varnish what is exposed, and not what is held to the hub.
I think so. I left the flat parts bare except for a little bit of overspray.
Eric. The following thread from 2011 documents the lesson I learned while re-spoking my wheel, NOT to paint the mating surfaces, or tenons of each spoke. The tolerances are so close and the spokes fit together so tightly that just the thickness of the paint, when multiplied by 12 (mating surfaces), can add enough combined thickness (as much as 1/8"), to make it impossible for the spokes to properly press in. Jim Patrick
I think the chief reason you find no paint on mating surfaces, is that they were assembled first then painted, not painted first then assembled. Because some dealers used to sell their cars with non-painted spokes. They were finished with stain and varnish, just not painted like they would've been coming down the line.
As for not painting the mating parts...I like sealing the wood all round...a rather thin coat of stain and clear on the mating surfaces and heavier coats of finish on the showing portions.
Haven't experienced any problems yet and my wheels are as strong as any wood wheel, so I'm thinking that it made not bloody difference at all coating those mating surfaces.