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Projects Painting and restoring a steering wheel

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by volvobrynk, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    I got this steering wheel from 1929 chevy, but I suspect it from a tractor.

    But it very rough, and weathered I the bakelit. Its a barn find where the barn collapsed on the car. And it's been left to the elements.

    Would you prime it with plastic primer, and then epoxy it and Paint.?
    Or epoxy and then primer?
    Or something else?
    Would you clean it with paint thinner, or something else?
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  2. i wiped mine down with wax and grease remover, then used jb weld to make repairs, then i epoxy primed it. then i used a filler primer and sanded it with 400, then painted it.
     
    lothiandon1940 and volvobrynk like this.
  3. Here's another vote for JB Weld (two-part epoxy putty).
    It fills gaps and cracks well and sands relatively easily.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  4. I used PC-7 epoxy on my steering wheel. Opened all cracks with a triangle file, wire brushed out anything loose, mixed and applied the epoxy. Messy, wear disposable gloves and disposable spatulas. Took a couple of days to harden up, hit it with sanding discs to get it close, did a lot of hand sanding too. It wet sands real good for the final sanding. Any divots I filled with spot putty.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

  5. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,220

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Another member of the J-B Weld camp. For those tricky areas, make a splash out of plastic filler (bondo) against an area the same shape. coat the wheel with straight old fashioned paste wax and apply the filler. You want 1/2 at a time, the fill supported by a chunk of cardboard or such. When it hardens you have a mold of the wheel to carry your epoxy. Simply smooth the mold as needed, wax it like you did the wheel, epoxy and cover. J-B Kwik is the best choice for that type of fix. Make sense?
     
    bondojunkie and lothiandon1940 like this.
  6. Paint Guru
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 522

    Paint Guru
    Member
    from Bowdon, GA

    I agree with bobss396, make sure you V groove all your cracks so the epoxy has more surface area to stick to, which will provide a long lasting repair. But most any 2 part epoxy putty will work fine. But use the slower drying putty, it has a stronger bond. Also before you even start sanding degrease with wax and grease remover AND hot soapy water. Use hot soapy water anytime you are going to paint any interior part because regular wax and grease remover does not remove the natural oil that comes off your hands. And if the if don't have access to that then use window cleaner with ammonia.

    Then use epoxy primer, sand and paint.
     
  7. All good advice..

    I reworked the steering wheel on the Ranch Wagon and used PC-7.

    This is what I started with.

    steeringwheelrepair024-vi.jpg

    The the tools I used to open the hairline cracks & cut grooves in the wheel to get the epoxy to adhere.
    RanchWagonparts013-vi.jpg

    I laid the epoxy on heavy,in hindsight this just made more work,the PC-& is a bear to sand. RanchWagonparts015-vi.jpg

    After several hours of applying the epoxy and sanding the steering wheel is ready for the primer.

    RanchWagonparts014-vi.jpg

    wheel001-vi.jpg

    A couple of coats of the Chrysler Vanilla. 54Wagon004-vi.jpg

    And the finished product installed. 150502_Knoxville_0616-vi.jpg
    I'm happy to report that it has held up well for the past 4 years. HRP
     
    -Brent-, Fedman, Avgas and 9 others like this.
  8. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    I know the JB Weld Camp is getting bigger, and it sounds good, but not that i deont like it, but i never seen in Denmark :(
    And regarding other brands and names, they migth be of no help as the over story.
    Not to be slow can some one put up so links or general specifications, that transleates well.

    Like Acetone, paint thinner, because I bet you dont know brads like Borup kemi or dyrup paint ;)

    But there is some good advice on here.

    I actualy found a stering wheel that "should"fit, from a tractor, but this is for a low budget build, so fix before replace. :cool:
     
  9. The brand name "DEVCON" makes several types of "mix 'em fix em" type stuff,,,over there, maybe?
     
  10. Paint Guru
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 522

    Paint Guru
    Member
    from Bowdon, GA

    What you want to find is a 100% solids 2 part epoxy. This might be found in a marine boat repair place. They would also sell a spray able epoxy primer, if they don't have I am sure one of the paint lines you listed has epoxy. I know in Denmark you can get Debeer Epoxy primer, or Akzo Nobel (Sikkens).
    To degrease the part use vm and p naphtha. Hope this helps.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  11. What about clear over the paint? Any one product work better than others to prevent lifting, etc.? Hate to go to all that trouble to have the finish start to break down during use.

    Steve
     
  12. Steve,the paint I used on my steering wheel is exactly the same as I used on the wagons off white,base coat/clear coat. HRP
     
    lothiandon1940 and volvobrynk like this.
  13. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    I usually don't use clear/base coat paint. But I can, I got a thing for industrial/heavy equipment enamel.

    But I will try look for the epoxy solids 2 part.

    Abd novel I widely avalible.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  14. I think industral enamel would be fine,I just used what I had on hand. HRP
     
    lothiandon1940 and volvobrynk like this.
  15. joeycarpunk
    Joined: Jun 21, 2004
    Posts: 4,445

    joeycarpunk
    Member
    from MN,USA

    For crack repair I've used both regular JB Weld and JB Kwik Weld and think the regular sands/feathers out better. Have used masking tape to form and hold the JB shape as it cures. Use both depending on the application. Holds up and is permanant repair if prepped right.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  16. I never could get JB or JB Quick to work...perhaps our high humidity had a negative effect on the curing process. The JB would swell or shrink when exposed to extreme temps - not much, but enough that you could tell where the wheel had been repaired.

    Through experimentation, I found that CA glue (super glue) mixed with bakelite shavings (save your filings when you open up the cracks - or find another chunk of bakelite to make shavings) works wonders, but it is much more subject to developing small cracks as it is harder and less flexible than epoxy.

    My procedure is;
    1. Use a small triangle file to open cracks (save shavings/filings)
    2. 'Sprinkle' filings/shavings into crack, fill with CA glue (gel type glue is easier to work with in most cases)
    3. Sand
    4. Paint

    I prefer lacquer...wetsanded and polished. When finished, it looks exactly like the original bakelite.

    Here are some shots showing the repair work on a '35 Ford wheel;
    Glue applied
    [​IMG]

    Sanded with 600 and painted...first round of wetsanding with 1000 grit, followed by 1500.
    [​IMG]

    Final sanding with 3000 grit is followed with polishing compound and cheesecloth.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. With the PC-7, less is more. The parent steering wheel material sands easier than the epoxy, so you have to watch out for sanding out finer details. It wet sands very well and keeps the scratches down. I went as far as 400 grit wet and applied a high-build primer. Minor imperfections... spot putty worked great. More sanding & primer and I gave it a few coats of Duplicolor rattle can paint. I still have to clear it though.
     
  18. Paint Guru
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 522

    Paint Guru
    Member
    from Bowdon, GA

    You shouldn't have lifting unless you are painting over an older finish. But the clear will offer an extra layer of wear resistance , or you could do single stage and integrate clear in the last coat. I would recommend polyurethane. It has a stronger film which will help in wear and abrasion more so than any enamel or acrylic urethane.
     
  19. Awesome - thanks guys.

    Steve
     
  20. I'm prolly in the minority here but after spending a huge amount of time sanding, filing, filling with JB weld, I let the wheel sit a few weeks before painting it. I wasn't planning to use it for a few months so I covered it with bubble wrap and stored it in a storage garage over the summer. When I brought it home a few weeks ago, after unwrapping it the JB weld had swelled up and cracked, pushing outward and breaking the paint .Pissed me off so much I sold it at the local swap meet a few weeks ago. It was too large a diameter to use in my application anyway but the swelled up JB weld was a big surprise. 34steeringwheel.jpg
     
    gwhite likes this.
  21. Exact same thing here. Twice with regular JB, once with JB Kwik...on the same wheel. Freaking sucked. I'd get it shaped, sanded, and painted, then leave it out in the Texas summer sun and it would swell, then would bring it into the air conditioned house and it would shrink. Not a ton, but enough to be noticeable. On one spoke, it swelled/shrunk enough to crack the lacquer.

    Haven't tried PC7, but I hear it works well. FWIW, I'm gonna stick to the super glue & bakelite shaving method for now.
     
  22. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,150

    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've never seen JB Weld swell up or crack. Wonder if covering it up with the bubble wrap trapped in solvents that were trying to escape or maybe moisture got to it ???
     
  23. Paint Guru
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 522

    Paint Guru
    Member
    from Bowdon, GA

    That's odd I don't know how epoxy can swell after its been cured unless it wasn't activated well, then the solvent in the paint softened it up. I would have had to have seen the substrate first. This is one downfall of the tubes of JB weld. It's extremely difficult to measure out equal parts of paste like JB weld. But still doesn't make sense for expansion, I can understand shrinkage, but that much expansion almost sounds like the wheel itself was porous. ???
     
  24. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    Here is a few pics of the wheel if anyone can ID it
     

    Attached Files:

  25. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    And a few if the crack,flaws an defects.
     

    Attached Files:

  26. Wow, thankful knowledge. Looks perfect.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  27. Gary,I used PC-7 to repair the steering wheel on the wagon.

    A lot of guys complain about PC-7 being hard to sand and that's true but it doesn't swell or contract. HRP
     
  28. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,199

    ago
    Member
    from pgh. pa.

    I you don't use 2 part paint with hardener, won't it wear quicker?
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  29. Paint Guru
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 522

    Paint Guru
    Member
    from Bowdon, GA

    Yes
     
    choptop40 and volvobrynk like this.
  30. Randy Routt
    Joined: Jan 13, 2013
    Posts: 614

    Randy Routt
    Member

    Thanks for the how to, as my 62 Fury has a rough steering wheel that I'll use these tips to repair. But on a different note, does anyone know a firm that repairs the mid 50s clear Lucite type wheels?
     

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