I would like to strip the paint on my newly acquired wheels and refinishing them correctly. I plan to paint them. Any thoughts as to stripper, media blasting, refinishing tips? Thanks, Jim
Jim, I had mine dipped by a furniture refinisher years ago. I have heard all kinds of horror stories about doing that, but mine came out great. I've had eight of them done that way with no problems at all. Works for me. Dave
Generally, the older the paint, the harder it is to strip chemically. If I were confident in the condition of the wood, I wouldn't strip them; just sand and paint.
I stripped the wheels on my '15 with Aircraft brand paint stripper from Lowes. It was necessary to do it twice because my wheels had about 1/4" of paint.
I sanded them and coated the wood with polyurethane Minwax spar varnish. The results have been outstanding. I get lots of compliments on my 94 year old wheels.
Royce is that a coupe I see in your garage?
Wheels are difficult due to the shape and different materials used. I have seen some wheels and furniture that were dipped in a commercial striper and the wood was ruined. Do not sand blast them because the wood is softer than the paint and the soft grain in the wood will just be blown away leaving a rotten worn out look to them. If you are going to repaint them you will want to remove enough old paint to get the loose chips off and keep the paint from being too thick. You can sand or strip depending on how thick the old paint is and how well it is adhearing. If you go the paint striper route you do not need to remove it clear down to bare wood, but the more you take off the better the result I think. You can make your own scraper by smashing a glass jar to get nice large sharp curved pieces of glass. When I did mine 30 years ago that is what I did but I had to scrape more because I wanted the natural spokes which was an option for 1926. Whatever method you do, refinishing wheels is a difficult job.
Thanks for all the tips. Mine will end up being painted RED as it is a fire vehicle. I have heard of smashing COKE bottles and using it for scraping. How many days do you think it will take my girl friend to sand the wheels? She has been dying to help with this project!! J
I have striped several with good success by coating them with paint remover then blasting the paint off with a power washer. It usually takes two times to remove several coats of paint.
If the power washer removes spoke material I would not use the wheel.
A set of cabinet scrapers cost about 10.00 and are in several shapes and can be ground to fit other shapes. The trick is in sharpening them as they are burnished with a "hook" like a wood splitting wedge. They remove material fast with little final sanding.
I like Minwax also.
Where can I purchase the cabinet scrapers? J
Paul, I have a pressure washer which I purchased to pressure wash my house with, but I only used it once, because it, not only removed the dirt, it water blasted the paint off and blasted out the soft grain of the wooden siding, leaving deep ruts between the harder grain. Mind you, the siding was not rotten in any way. After repairing the damage, I went back to my old method of using a scrub brush, detergent, bleach and water hose and nozzle to wash my house. What I'm saying here is, there is no need to pressure wash the paint remover and bubbled up paint from the old wheel with high pressure. It is already loose. City water pressure through a garden hose with an adjustable nozzle will do the job without causing damage to the soft grain of the spokes, but be sure to wear goggles and wash any paint remover off that accidentally splatters back on your skin as it will start burning the skin immediately. Jim Patrick
Grizzly or I think Harbor Freight has them Jim.
You can use an awl to sharpen an edge by laying the scraper flat on a bench top with the edge to be sharpened hanging over the bench 1/4" then pushing the end of the awl back and forth from the middle of the scraper off each edge at a few degrees angle off vertical. The awl will burnish a hook that is barely visible on the edge.
When the scraper is pulled across hard wood it will peal an almost transparent shaving of wood with each stroke.
The scrapers are just a peace of metal about the thickness of a hand saw blade made in different shapes.
Thats my '15 roadster behind the touring.
I would agree Jim, Its easy with cedar or many other sidings to blast them apart. But you do not have to use the full power of the power washer by standing back and using a nozzle that does not concentrate the power.
Hickory is hard, and in a wheel it should be hard. I have blasted some wheels where it simply blew the hickory apart. In the good wheels the hickory stayed nice without eroding the wood.
And safety equipment is a must. Rain gear and goggles are used.
I guess that paint stripper has now become so safe and environmentally-friendly that pulling out the pressure washer is necessary.
I don't use paint stripper anymore. The paint I try to strip laughs at even "aircraft" stripper. But it doesn't laugh at Permatex brand Spray Gasket Remover.
Wear gloves. Spray on first coat and let soak for 15 minutes in a cool (not sunny) spot. Spray on another coat and wait 15 more minutes.
Blast it off with the garden hose with a jet nozzle.
Besides the pink coveralls, I will need to invest in a rain suit, rubber gloves and eye protection for my girl friend! NAPA used to make a spray paint remover that I would demo by shooting some on a painted 55 gal barrel and it would eat through anything.
You know me Seth! I get half gallons of striper near free at G sales so the brands may vary but one is little more effective then the other. The method of removing the softened paint is most of the work.
When you sand lead base paint lead dust is created.
have used a cutting machine [eastman cloth cutting]blade's and i scraped them on a vise And it was fast
I charpen [stone] the blade on one side only and use the other side to scrape, or back an fore
The blade flexes with is a great thing
If the wood and paint are sound, you don't need to strip them to refinish. Sandpaper used properly is a great tool. Most folks get too fine a grit and then rub and rub with lots of pressure until their arms and shoulders give out. Start with 120 grit (rub lightly--let the paper do the work) and feather any broken edges. Scuff the sound paint, then prime the whole works with a good brushable house paint primer. Brush on a good coat, then sand it with 220 and then lightly again with 360. Touch up any bare wood areas with another coat and re-sand with 360. Tack it good and then spray on a sealer that is compatible with your topcoat. Build a rotatable holder and shoot the top coat. Start with the crotches of the spokes, then the hub, and work your way out to the felloes which are done last. Slowly rotate the wheel by hand to prevent runs and you're done. Working at a nice easy pace you can do a set of wheels in a week. This is how I've done many wheels, and years later, they still look great.
Really, folks tend to make a much bigger deal out of wheel painting than it really is. The basic principles of painting wood still apply.
I used peel away 7. It is not caustic and water soluable. It is about the consistancy of mayonase. Spread it on put the wheel in a large garbage bag and use a shop vac to suck the air out. I left mine in for two days and then was able to use a green kitchen scrubby to remove about 98% of the paint.
Here’s my method of removing old paint from wood wheels and finishing them. I’ve tried most of the removal methods mentioned above over the years. Paint remover, scraping, sanding, and also sandblasting. My favorite is sandblasting and here’s why. It’s fast and leaves little clean up. Paint removers are messy. The exception might be using a power washer to remove the paint remover. Scraping I’ve done with metal scrapers, mostly using a blade out of a plane. The method of breaking a glass bottle, and using the edge of broken glass to scrape it, works well too. With the glass, you can grab a new piece of glass if the old one looses its edge. Put a piece of masking tape in the edge you’re not using so you don’t cut your hand or wear gloves. Sanding the paint off if OK but seems to leave too much paint in the pores of the wood and it takes a long time.
I’ve sandblasted several sets of wheels now. The trick is to use low pressure, like 15 to 20 psi, and keep the nozzle moving. It will clean the pores out quite well. If you’re worried about losing some of the wood, the wood is probably too soft to use in the wheel, and I’ve got wheels that turned out like that. I won’t put them on my car. There are wheels that are something between new and too dry rotted to use. Actually this is the area where a lot of wheels fall. If you think your wheel is good enough to use but has some minor surface issues, one option is paste wood filler. (Minor surface issues include somewhat porous end grain near the hub, and checking which is small cracks in the wood. Somewhat porous means wood that looks thirsty for a finish, not wood that looks like the “Rocky Mountains”. The “Rocky Mountains” are an indication that the wood has dry rot. Small cracks are not cracks that run the length of the spoke with not sign of a bottom!) Back to the paste wood filler…it is kind of a light tan color. I rub it into the wood with my hands, let it set a while and wipe it off with something rough like a washcloth. When I was in woodworking class back in the last 60’s, this is what you did to “open grain” wood to make the finish smooth. I would not use paste wood filler on new or very good original wood.
As for the finish, I’m intrigued by the thought of using house primer on the wheels before painting. Have you ever painted over dry rotted wood with house primer? Ever had it work in that application? I haven’t, no matter how much I did to sand and prepare the wood. The paint only held on for about 3 years then it looked just as bad as when I started. I will respect those who have said they have done this with success; I can’t offer an explanation of why it would work based on my past experience. My idea of a good finish is one that actually soaks into the wood. I like boiled linseed oil. Fine Woodworking magazine had an article, about 20 years ago, about finishing wood for the front door on a house. It involved mixing 50% marine spar varnish (the old time stuff, not polyurethane…the last “real” marine spar varnish I bought at Lowe’s), 25% boiled linseed oil, and 25% mineral spirits. That coat can be used as a first coat, then wait about a week or two before a second coat of full strength varnish. Sand a little in between coats to remove the nubs. In lieu of the second coat, regular automotive paint can be applied. Something like PPG DP90 epoxy primer would work as a base coat over the varnish. I’ve not seen the marine spar varnish peel off. I have seen polyurethane varnish fail by peeling. If you are going to finish the wood natural, look for marine spar varnish that says it has UV protectants.
As a side note, I’m always trying new things. A friend and I were discussing the fact that house primer/paint doesn’t stick to rotted wood. He too said he had never found a house paint primer that worked in that instance. After wire brushing the old paint/rot off the surface, I picked a nice warm day and coated an old shed with boiled linseed oil prior to coating it with oil base house primer. So far, so good but then it’s only been on a few months. I read about mixing boiled linseed oil in the primer but opted to coat the wood first so I could see how it was taking it. Sorry for the windy post.
I wouldn't paint over dry-rotted wood with OUThouse primer. Unsound substrate must be replaced on a building; how much more so on wheels upon which your life depends! "House" (more correctly, wood) primer is meant to do the job I need done: to penetrate the wood to preserve it and to provide a sound smooth surface for the subsequent coats.
If your paint won't hold on SOUND wood surfaces, there is likely a fungus in the wood. In those cases, remove the pain from the bad areas and use a heat gun such as is used for paint stripping on the surface to kill the fungus. Heat the wood so it's too hot to touch but is not scorched. Let it cool completely in a DRY area such as in the full sun on a low-humidity day. Then sand, prime, and paint as before.
What R.V. says is right. The bad wood needs to be removed and then the renewed surface coated with something that will penetrate the wood to preserve it. The unfortuneate thing is, the availability of good original wood wheels seems to be dwindling. Them new wood wheels are looking better all the time!
Here's the best way to get good wheels, buy new ones from John McLaren. Aren't they pretty?
I've heard people talk about sanding, stripping or sand-blasting, but no one has mentioned soda-blasting. Although I don't need to strip my wheels I did see a demonstration of soda blasting that took paint off an old wagon wheel without hurting the grain of the wheel. It may be another option!
I've seen a soda blasting demo on a late model car. It took the paint off and did a fine job. It even left the factory markings on the sheet metal. However, I didn't remember that it removed rust. I would liked to have seen what it did on wood.
Royce said "Aircraft Stripper". I can only repeat: "Aircraft Stripper","Aircraft Stripper", "Aircraft Stripper". Its performance is outstanding. Its fumes are ferocious, and after you open the can what you have left will eat through it. Use gloves, lots of ventilation, and let the stripper do the work for you.
I am happy to report I found a stripper that worked great for me. It was suggested by a fellow co-worker along with the method to follow to make it work. It is a product called CITRISTRIP from Lowe's home center. I brushed it on, covered the spokes with cellophane and stuck the wheel in a plastic garbage bag overnight. In the morning the yellow paint "popped" off to the bare wood and the metal in one application! I scraped most of it off with a wooden stir stick and finished cleaning it with a scuff pad dipped in CITRISTRIP paint stripper after wash! The products were non-toxic, had a great smell and really worked
More pictures with end result!! 1 down and 3 to go!! Jim
Glad you ran across the Citrustrip. I used it too on the mother in law body. I like your bag idea as I found it dried out pretty fast in my FL weather. But it took off the old paint and primer which I am pretty sure was a catalyst primer, these are tough to get off most times.
Stripping off the paint
Clean and ready for primer
Primed and ready for finish
Looks good with minimum work, there finding more & more uses for Citrus, it is mildly acidic, "Someone throws you a lemon you make lemonade"
The best way is media blasting them. Ive used plastic media, and it takes the paint off without destroying the wood.
Here is result with one strip and one rinse! J
This one might be my spare!! NOT REALLY-- this is the decoration in my girl friends flower bed. It caught my eye the first time I visited her home, as did her 5 bay shop with 4 empty stalls!! PS She also caught my eye!!
Hope she's a keeper, I remember a lot of fences made out of those wheels.
we used CITRISTRIP on 2 rooms of Knotty pine outside and washed w/ a hose, then we did 1 room of knotty pine in the house and rinsed with sponges, didn't damage anything as the carpet was getting replaced, NEAT STUFF
How do I refinish the "split rim" that the tires mount on? Paint? Cad plate? Galvanize? Thanks, Jim
Cad plate for 21" rims
I just wanted to add that this site is the BEST! I was on an Oregon coast trip last week and was only a few miles from Paul Vitko's home. I gave him a quick call unannounced and he invited me to stop by. Not only did he show me his collection of Model T's and parts, but he had a wooden wheel set out with scrapers and sandpaper. He gave me a hands on lesson on sharpening the scrapers and how to use them! This is what this hobby is all about! Thanks Paul!
I think the rims were zinc plated (galvanized), not Cad plated.
Dan I noticed the correct configuration for the mother-in-law seat in your first picture but then the following pictures revealed the incorrect configuration, why the change? :^)
Soda blasting was mentioned so I wanted to comment. The statements were correct, it doesn't remove rust, but rust removal isn't the reason for using it. It is used to remove paint, lichen, oxidation, or pigeon shi*t from materials that can't stand up to sand or beads, such as glass, fiberglass, plastic, wood, masonry or old stonework (such as limestone or old and delicate gravestones, non-ferrous metals, or for sheetmetal where warpage might be an issue. Soda or crushed pecan shells, unlike sand, doesn't produce hazardous dust and is biodegradable, so is used a lot for architectural restorations and such. It does a very fine job of removing paint from 200 year-old wood without damaging the soft grain. You can sweep up the excess and let the elements take care of the rest.
I've used soda quite a bit and love the results. You can blow paint off metal that is next to glass and not worry about frosting the glass. You don't have to worry about generating heat on large flat ares of sheet metal and warping it. It cleans overspray off of stainless trim, light bezels, and other chrome or potmetal parts. Contrary to what the salespeople will tell you, there is no reason to buy additional equipment! A normal sandblasting setup will work just fine. I did experiment with different sized nozzles, but I did that with beads and sand too. If you do use your sandblaster to shoot soda, make sure there is NO sand grains left in the equipment if you are going to blast glass. Every grain of sand mixed in the soda will still have the potential to pock glass if it impacts.
A word of caution, and a first-hand account of what NOT to do; it will do very good removing oxidation from aluminum and brass, but the alkalinity is really high so you want to get any residue cleaned off immediately to prevent re-oxidation.
Mind you, the soda or pecan shells doesn't produce toxic dust, BUT blasting off lead paint will! Just remember that you are breathing not only what is being sprayed out of the nozzle, but also anything that is being blasted, and you still need to wear gloves and breather, and clothes that will keep the dust from contacting your skin, not only while blasting but until all the residue is removed and you are safely away from the area. Its a good idea to take a good COOL shower immediately afterward too. Hot water opens skin pores, while cool water closes them.
We had an incident a few years ago where my youngest son just happened to get a blood test and it came back with elevated levels of lead. It wasn't at a critical level, but high enough that the doctor wanted to find out why it was high and make sure it didn't get higher. We couldn't imagine what he had gotten into that would have caused that, until the doctor asked if he had been exposed to sanding old paint. At that point it dawned on me that several weeks earlier he had been playing (and helping out a little) around the shop where I was soda blasting some old wood that I had taken from a 150 year old house. He had been playing around the area, far enough away so that he wasn't being hit by flying debris but close enough that I'm sure he inhaled his share of the dust cloud. He helped put the wood on and off the saw horses and handled the freshly cleaned wood, where he got quite a bit of the dust on his clothes, on his hands, and in his hair. The next test a couple months later revealed the lead level was slowly coming down, and his levels were normal after a year or so. Needless to say, I felt horrible about the whole deal. Nothing will open your eyes faster than realizing you poisoned your own child! I didn't get mine checked, but I'm quite sure that I got the lead too (probably more than he did) since I wasn't using gloves or protective clothes while blasting or to handle the stuff, and didn't wear my breather when blwoing off the residue. Stupid mistake on my part but I learned my lesson. Just remember, any paint manufactured before the mid-'70's will likely have some lead in it and, from what I'm told, any old WHITE paint has very high lead content.
Just be careful whether blasting with sand, soda, or even sandpaper on old paint. Just because the soda doesn't produce silica dust doesn't make it safe and healthy.
When you guys say "Soda", are you talking about regular baking soda like you buy at the grocery store?
Ok I'm a little off subject but im out of optons.. I have a pair of wooden wheels, 12 spoke, center cap says "STAR"... I'm looking for a value on these things. And I'm not looking to sell so dont give me some stupid low price any help would be great. Please email me at email@example.com
Condition is important. Also it is important to know that not many people own a Star that would need your wheels.
If they are fantastic condition and you can find a Star owner then maybe they are worth $100 for the pair?
If you'r not looking to sell, then why is the value important?
Kyle, have a wheel rebuilder look at them and give you a price on rebuilding them, then go from there. Just a thought. Dave
I just bought my T with the wood spokes. They aren't painted but varnished and have so much oil and road gook that I plan on stripping them using a chemical stripper too. My nephew decided to wash my new T at the car wash and hit one spoke and got down to bare wood but also took some of the soft stuff with it. Decided that was a bad idea. So we'll see. Once I get down to bare wood then I will seal the wood and varnish (polyurethene). Will keep you posted.