What's the best and at to paint freshly sanded wooden wheels? I have a spray gun or is there a better way? I want to get them coated good because there on my 26 rpu truck and it sits in a carport and will get damp, hot, cold and I am sure some rain at some point. So I needed them to be sealed as good as possible. Thanks in advance.
While probably nothing exemplifies the old saw "There's more than one way to skin a cat" than painting Model T wood wheels, this particular method has always worked extremely well for me. I own four Ts and my wheels still look great after 15 years.
Begin by removing all dust with a good tack cloth. Use a good quality outdoor wood primer. I like and use Kover Stain, sold at Home Depot stores. Thinning the material about 10% with Penetrol paint conditioner makes it flow on a lot easier, which will save sanding. Using a good quality 1-˝” china bristle brush, apply one good coat. Let dry about an hour, sand lightly but thoroughly with 150 grit sandpaper and brush on a second coat. Let dry overnight.
Sand thoroughly again with 220 grit paper. When all the wood is velvet smooth, mount the tires and tubes. Inflate to 15 lbs or so and mask off completely in preparation for spraying on the sealer.
In order to spray an even cat and prevent runs, mounting the wheels on an easily rotated spindle of sort is critical. I used a 30” length of 2 x 10 and mounted 2 pillow bearing blocks on it to support a 1” shaft, 36” long. Chuck the shaft in a lathe and drill and tap the end for a ˝” bolt. Remove the bolt from the end of an old wheel puller, the type that threads onto the hub, and bolt it to the end of the shaft with the ˝” bolt. Slip the shaft into place in the bearings, leaving 6” of shaft with the wheel puller overhanging the board, and run in the bearings’ set screws. Mount the whole works to the top of a wooden sawhorse with some 3” decking screws and some ballast weight on the opposite end (a sandbag over a cross brace works well) and you’re in business.
Thread the hub of one wheel into the wheel puller and run it up snugly. You may need to put a counterweight on the opposite side of the sawhorse to keep it stable. I use a sleeve of tube sand.
Plug the bearing hole with a rag or a wood or plastic plug.
That should be "even coat" not "even cat."
Tim and R.V, I would add just one step. I give the bare spokes a neat coat of Penetrol first. This seals the timber and gives a sound base/prime coat for subsequent finishes. It is sandable when dry, and then proceed as usual.
Allan from down under.
RV, though my wife would not see the humor, I'd prefer your original advice to "spray an even cat".
Use 3M SandBlaster UltraFlex in 220 if rough, or just 320 for final sanding. The stuff is amazing, you can pull it into all of the corners and grooves. You'll save hours.