I would like some recommendations on whether the wood spokes should be sealed before priming, also need to know what brand name of high gloss black is best for the wheels, thanks for any suggestions.
If you decide to use a good quality urethane primer, you don't have to seal the wood first, as the primer will soak in and both seal and adhere just fine. U-pol (4:1) primer is good and is "direct to metal", so it can be applied to bare metal, such as the rim and hub (you won't need to apply a sealer first). The prep work is the most important, so make sure the grain and any imperfection is fixed (to your liking), then finish sand the wood (220# grit is okay) and prime. You may need to sand and re-prime if need be. Final sand the primer in 320# grit.
For the paint PPG's Concept black is an excellent urethane that's very durable and is a single stage, so you don't have to worry about applying any clear. It's expensive, so another lesser priced option (but still very good) would be Matrix urethane. Stick with a single stage urethane so you have good durability and no clear to worry about.
The bottom line on paint is: you get what you pay for.
I've done numerous sets of new wood wheels. In my experience:
-let new wood alone for two to three weeks. A good wheel rebuilder dries the wood spokes to 1 to 2% moisture, then when assembled, spokes soak up moisture from atmosphere, getting back to the 12-14% moisture that wood is naturally, thus swelling and getting tight in the wheel
-apply an epoxy sealer to the new wood, such as Smith's or West System. This soaks into the wood and seals
-apply an epoxy primer such as DP90, when dry, sand lightly
-apply a regular primer, then sand...you'll have to repeat this two or three times to fill in the wood grain, and it's very time consuming. Expect to spend 15 to 20 hours per wheels, priming and sanding, if you want a truly smooth finish
-once smooth, paint....
Now, I guess to be really original, you could sand new wood, then dip into enamel paint and it would look close to original......as that's more or less how it was done on the assembly line...
Thanks Les and David, I have been using Eastwood High Build self etching primer on metal parts and it seems to work well and is relatively easy to sand smooth. If you have knowledge of this product, do you think it will work on the wheels?
Have used spar varnish on raw spokes, starting with 50% reduction, then 2-3 coats more. Light sanding with bronze wool between coats.
Spokes scraped and sanded smooth
Clear gloss varnished
Then apply compatible sealer, gray Velvet seal, over the varnish, for the finish acrylic enamel was DuPont Centari black with catalyst gloss enhancer and hardener. Fast dry time too.
Results very good and very durable.
Surface of drum un-painted for install of outside brakes.
Agree -I use West System to seal the wood prior to priming. It adds a layer of protection and helps prevent any oils in the wood from possibly reacting with additional coats of primer or paint. I have seen wheels just primed and painted that later have had paint problems.
I used Ace appliance epoxy enamel on these wheels. Five years later they're still good.
The same for the front wheels, painted nine years ago.
On all new wood I seal it first with a product called Penetrol. It seals the grain and provides an excellent surface for subsequent coats. The same product can be used as a thinner/extender in oil based paints, and aids in brushing out.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Rustoleum Gloss Black.
Too damned easy.
Lots of different ideas. Does anyone have an experience with Eastwood High Build Primer? Sounds like I need to seal the wood first then prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, paint.
Give em a coat of Kwik-Poly first. Goes on kwik & thin! Light, very light sanding afterward & paint straight up. No primer needed. Makes em smooth as glass. Sets up super fast. Have plenty of small foam brushes handy. You can get the K-P from langs.
There are two concepts in painting of wood:
1. Colorizing the wood, and
2. A skin-like coating that hides the wood.
And here's the fall down for many people .... water, and defining
the end game product they want to have, resolved against what
the intended uses of the painted wood will be, AND just how much
fuss and maintenance a person wants to put themselves through
to keep something the way they like it.
Water. It is everywhere, and wood reacts to it by swelling and
contracting, depending on how much is present. Skin coat paints
tend to form hard shell surfaces that cannot stretch to follow the
swelling wettened wood, and thusly crack, and thusly peel over
time. It is for this reason I tell my clients NEVER paint a deck or
fence. Unless of course, they want it to look like sh!t in 2 years
and require lots of costly maintenance to chase the self-made
Washing your car, driving in the rain or water, or just the simple
humidity in some areas will conspire against a skin-type paint to
On the flip side, there as penetrants. Typically oil-based, they
sink IN TO the wood and carry with it a colorant. The wood swells,
the colorant and oil is IN the wood and goes along for the ride. The
wood contracts as it dries, same thing. The finish is unfazed. And
a further upside, the oil will repel water penetration, AND can be applied
coat over coat over coat with no real prep.
Thanks Burger for that wonderful explanation. Bottom line, I think you recommend that the wood be treated with a penetrant. What brand to you use?
Hmm ... I think I want the water to go into the wood. Kinda like driving in a creek to tighten up the spokes. :-)
Burger makes some very good points, however, I have had good luck with the following done on solid wood, not weathered wood.
Seal the spoke ends with Quik-Poly. Sand surface or scrape (depending on condition and amount of paint already there). Prime with DP90, and before it sets (ie: within 3 hours)fill with a high-build surfacer(it's been a while so whatever I used (K200) likely isn't available anymore). Let that cure a while, then sand smooth. Prime again with DP90 thinned to seal the high build surfacer and any putty you may have used. While the DP90 is still curing, topcoat (I used Concept) as per manufacture's instructions (I like two double-coats). By painting immediately, the topcoat "locks in" to the DP90 while it is curing. this is one reason you thin the DP90, so it goes on smmmmooooooth. (Like Guzzler's Gin--if this makes no sense, google Red Skelton)
I don't know what terminology is used now, but it used to be that there were Primers and there were Surfacers and also Primer-Surfacers. One was to adhere, the other was to fill, and the combination was to save time.
As mentioned above, I use simple Rustoleum in the rattle cans.
But remember, I have a TT and I do not want it to look like anything
more than a well maintained farm truck for several reasons:
1. I use and abuse my truck. I haul logs and loads of firewood. I
haul boulders and hay and anything else. It gets axle deep in mud,
and I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a screwdriver than take my
truck to a show.
2. I want the truck to be a real, live example of a working truck, like
one might have seen when I was a kid.
3. This includes a typical maintenance regimen of "Farmer Brown"
fixes and upkeep, .... based more on practical than "pretty" or with
a concern for "factory original".
Now, that said, .... many here think glassy paint and purist perfect
restorations are the cat's pajamas. Resultantly, they must be willing
to take on a lot of fuss to build and keep up a vehicle like that. I like
driving cars, and to my mind, a well maintained (even well worn) vehicle
trumps a trailer queen any day, right down to the paint on the wheels.
Black wheels and silver rims, ... they don't have to be perfect. In fact,
they are better if they are not.
But to each their own. I prefer a cheap and simple answer for my
cheap and simple Model T. It is the very essence of what they were
built as, what they lived as, and what part of Americana they played.
I'm an oddity; I'm in both camps. I have one T that I hope to keep "as is" but I have another one that's so far "gone" that a full-bore restoration is the only way to make it look like a complete car again. One was kept in a barn, the other, although found in a barn, was disassembled and scattered around decades ago!