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Enough B-J, TECH clear glitter steering wheel resto

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Squablow, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,351


    So it seems like we should have a tech thread that can sink down to page 20 while we all talk about how cheap that Monster Garage car sold for. I'll start.

    My favorite steering wheels are the circa 1960 Mopar ones with the clear glitter sections in them. Pontiac also had some like that and probably others. Unfortunately every one I come across is so deteriorated that it's unusable, or insanely high priced. They can be recast, and the place that does them does a beautiful job, but cost is around $1200, and that's more than I can afford.

    So I decided to try to rebuild my own using clear vinyl tubing that you get at the hardware store, along with some craft glitter and clear glue made for vinyl.

    This probably won't be the most exciting pictoral ever and my pictures aren't that great either but bear with me and we'll go though the steps fast.

    Here's what I started with, from a '60 Dodge Dart Pioneer in a local junkyard. The clear part crumbled away in my hands and the painted part has huge cracks in it. The horn ring I found on eBay.


    I started by doing the center painted part, Vee'd out the cracks with a cutoff wheel just like any other steering wheel resto.


    And filled them with PC7, as suggested by other board members. Body filler doesn't last (I've tried it) and J-B weld is a lot harder to work with since it doesn't keep it's shape as well while it's curing. I've also used the stuff you can knead together in your hands, that works too and cures a lot faster but it sands out harder.

    This PC7 stuff takes a couple days to cure out but it's worth it, it smooths out really nice and doesn't seem to shrink.


    Then I sanded it all smooth and painted the center. The old clear stuff on the steering wheel just crumbled away, so I cleaned it all off and polished the chrome underneath. I also painted the center of my horn ring and polished it up. Here you can see the two sizes of clear tubing I used.


    I slit the tubing and fitted it onto the wheel to make sure it was the right length. Here it is mocked up, it fits just right. You put the smaller diameter stuff on first with the big one on top to give it enough thickness.


    First step is to glue the first layer on over the chrome bars. Once I got it on, I taped the seam shut to keep it from spreading, this also helped work air bubbles out.


    I let that cure and then for the second layer, I slit the bigger tubing, slimed the inside of it with the clear glue, then spread it apart and sprinkled my glitter into it. It's really hard to get the glitter evenly distributed, you can only spread the tubing out so much. Then I slid it on and taped it like with the first layer.

    Once it cured I took the tape off and this is what it looks like.


    Here's a closeup to show more detail and my uneven glitter.


    I'm pretty happy with it, we'll see how it holds up to regular use. It feels pretty solid though. I've got a lot of hours in this but the materials were cheap, maybe $30 total. I'm putting this in my '62 Chrysler, it should look good in front of the fishbowl speedometer.

    I think if you painted the bar, you could do this to any steering wheel, I'm thinking about adding clear glitter sections to my '59 Impala wheel. I could cut it off right where the two tone usually goes, would be a neat look.

    What do you think?
  2. povertyflats
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 8,282

    from Missouri

  3. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,251


    I like what you did there.
    It looks damn good and also gives some interesting possibilities for doing other wheels, with or without glitter.'ve got my brain working on this! Thanks!!!
  4. BCR
    Joined: Dec 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,262


    I like it.

  5. 55 gasser pickup
    Joined: Dec 17, 2010
    Posts: 479

    55 gasser pickup
    from utah

    Hey that looks pretty damn good to me.And as a bonus it was done on the cheap and done at home in U.S.A.
  6. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,880



    what if you sprayed the 1st tube with the glitter let it set up and then slid the big tubing over the top?? You might get better coverage and it might lay even?

    Nice job SB!
  7. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,279

    Master of None

    Nice work! wonder if it would work for an old metal flake wheel I have.
  8. coupster
    Joined: May 9, 2006
    Posts: 860

    from Oscoda Mi

    Looks great to me! Thanks for making a relevant post.
  9. 94hoghead
    Joined: Jun 1, 2007
    Posts: 1,290


  10. That was my thought. Wheel looks great!
  11. mattrod68
    Joined: Jan 22, 2007
    Posts: 524


    if you could find a glue that wont react with the paint i think this would would work great

  12. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,351


    I had that thought too, glue on the first layer, then coat the outside of it with glue, glitter it, let it dry, then glue the top layer over it. If I do another wheel, I'm going to experiment with that and see if it works better, maybe I'll try it on a piece of brake line or something and see how it comes out.

    The big problem is, once the glitter touches the glue, you can't really move it around, so getting it sprinkled on just right takes some skill. This one turned out plenty good for my use though, the Chrysler is a driver anyway.
  13. What kinda clear glue did ya use on the tubing? This thread is super!!!!
  14. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,351


    The glue is called Amazing E-6000 Here's a pic if you want to look for it. I shopped around for a bunch of different glues, all of the super glue and cement stuff said it would react to certain kinds of plastic and petroleum based materials, but this stuff says it was good for vinyl.

    I was worried about the glue, that it would soften the tubing or not be totally clear but it seems to work really well. I got it in the crafts section at Wal-Mart along with my "Glitter Shakers". The glue, glitter, and tubing all together was less than ten bucks, the PC7 and paint cost more.

    Attached Files:

  15. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,880


    what about Roth Rattlecan flake?? oooooh, I could see that working good!! :)
  16. Cool. I have seen some glue with the glitter in it-my daughter used it on some project. Probably from Michaels, Hobby Lobby or Jeffrey Alan.
  17. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,351


    If anyone experiments with different ways of doing the glitter part, please take pics and post up your results, I'm curious to see what will work best.

    My pic of the finished wheel makes the glitter look blotchier than it is, in person it's not bad, but it still could use a little improvement, and I have a '60 Fury square glitter wheel I want to do next, so that one I want to be the best it can be.

    Also, I forgot to mention, but my horn ring is missing the little center plastic and also the plate that mounts it to the wheel. You can see in the last pictures, I made a plate out of a piece of '57 Chevy quarter panel insert to be the center of the horn ring, and it looks good but if anyone had that plastic center piece and the hardware to attach the horn ring, please let me know.

    I can make the attaching plate, it's not that complicated, but I sure would like to have an OG one so I can make this functional as a horn ring too, otherwise I have to put a button for the horn under the dash.
  18. Thanks for the info! I have a 60 Catalina wheel that is good except for the clear part that's crumbled---was gonna pitch I can make somethin' cool out of it. Great thinking, squablow
  19. Malarky
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 330


    Wow! Awesome job, that steering wheel was trashed and now it looks rad! This is the kinda stuff that gets me inspired. I almost wish mine was in worse shape so I could give it this treatment.
  20. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,099


    personally, I think the auction is mostly richman's fantasy...

    best value yet this month!
  21. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    Pactra also sells fairly heavy flake in clear lacquer in their line of Model RC car paints. Put the first tube on, spray the pactra, let it dry, slide the top tube on. Cool stuff. Good thread.
  22. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,351


    If you do, be sure to post pictures, I want to see how it turns out.
  23. pugh433
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 88

    from toledo

    great idea and exicution. you will have to update us on how it holds up
  24. Jantrix
    Joined: Oct 28, 2010
    Posts: 85


    Duplicolor also has a few high glitter paints in their line of rattle cans. You could use this over the first tube, and then slide the larger one over when dry. In theory anyway. You'd likely have to prime over the first tube and then spray the glitter as most Duplicolor stuff is pretty hot and there's no telling how it will react to the tubing.

    Very cool idea.
  25. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,927

    Alliance Vendor

    A nice finishing touch would be to find/fabricate some kind of trim ring to cover the interface where the painted section meets the clear glitter section of the ring.

    Wouldn't have to be much, but it'd really set off the wheel, and cover the transition (making the fit between the clear and the painted less critical).

    Can you feel the split in the tubing on the back side when you're driving?

    Does the split show from outside the car?

    I've been thinking about making up a mold with the finger grooves machined into it for just such a use, but I figured that every make and model year had a slightly different diameter ring.

    Is there any standard size for these hoops, or are they all different?

    If a few sizes would cover most wheels (like three or four diameters), I'd be willing to machine masters and make the molds so that people could recast these kinds of things themselves.

    But if they're all different, that's just not cost effective.

    Excellent tech.
  26. happy hoppy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,328

    happy hoppy

    that's using your melon, love it!
  27. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,099


  28. thotvet
    Joined: Feb 15, 2010
    Posts: 26


    Thank you, for posting this article it's great!
  29. mt94ss
    Joined: Jul 25, 2010
    Posts: 310


    Great idea! I wonder how it will sold up when it gets hot (parked out in the sun all day). That would be the only fear. Vinyl gets so soft when it gets hot.

    Other than that, I can see cool mods on other wheels, like your '59 Imp. Might be cool on my rivi...

  30. briggs&strattonChev
    Joined: Feb 20, 2003
    Posts: 2,233


    Great post, I like the 57 chevy insert piece.

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