Register now to get rid of these ads!

String wrapping a steering wheel

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ricknroll, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. ricknroll
    Joined: Mar 8, 2007
    Posts: 78


    Did some searchin' and couldn't come up with much on the process. Seems fairly self explanitory but thought if someone has done this before they could share some tips about type of string and if you shellac it or something similar.
  2. Ole don
    Joined: Dec 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,915

    Ole don

    I rode in an old race car with that. He said he used twine about 3/16 in diameter, then two coats of shelac. It was really cool, and he said easy to grip.
  3. I've never heard of this, but I'm subscribed now, and I will learn
  4. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,083

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    An old salt will probably chime in. Sailors used to wrap/braid their ship railings with twine while out at sea and it looks pretty cool. IIRC, it's no longer allowed as it holds in moisture and causes corrosion.
    Steve Ray likes this.

  5. Old salt here, Yea we used to do it on our dirt cars, the dirt did not stick.
    We would use twine and tightly wrap the wheel. We did not use "shellac"
    it was a clear wood floor coating. We tried using the foam and rubber grips but as soon as any dirt go on it your fingers would slip. My hands are very big so with the addition of the twine it was very comfortable to drive. I still have some twine but the floor paint hardened and I threw it out a couple of years ago (after sitting 25 years on the shelf, go figure) I know there are at least 4 different twines that we tried

    Attached Files:

  6. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,498


    I have a good pic from last year's Hotrod Hayride. I really took it as a reference shot to try to work it out. Wrapping is easy, finishing the ends is the trick


  7. What sort of knot would one use at the beginning and end of each segment?

    Ah, now I see in the picture posted while I was typing

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  8. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,498


    I went with the budget version. Fabric tape wrapping. It has held up well and provides good grip

    LOU WELLS and seatex like this.
  9. Harms Way
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 6,868

    Harms Way

  10. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,768

    from Tampa, FL

    I think I saw a post on this awhile back. The best thing to do would be to find an old Navy / Coast Guard / merchant marine boatswain mate or deck hand and have him do it or show you. To this day, it's common practice for boaters of all varieties for railings, hand rails and even the ship's wheel. Here is a site that has a lot on it. Gary
  11. Toner283
    Joined: Feb 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,326


    Holy Crap there is a lot of info on that site. More than I ever needed to know about knots.

    Some very interesting ways to do this though.

    Looking forward to more pictures.
  12. BEAR
    Joined: Sep 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,310


    looks like something that would look good in my 56
  13. Here's my post from a thread I started on this a few years back;

  14. I have got some pictures of the wrapped wheel somewhere but I'm lying on the sofa having had surgery earlier this week and I'm too sore to move.
  15. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,758


    More! I want to do this for a lakes style roadster I'm building. Twine or leather? Hmmm....
  16. The bench riggers in our sail loft call this Serving or whipping, they finish with a twine called tarred marlin. A very tidy way to finish off the end of a rope. I`m guessing some old Bosun came back from the war with these skills and adapted it to his steering wheel.
  17. sailingengineer
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 14

    from CT

    It can be done and I do actually do this on wheels for boats. The idea is that on a boat with a wheel wrapped in nautical terms is called coxcombing would provide more grip in foul weather. There are a few patterns to use with different difficulty especially to get it to look right. As for the spokes a turkshead knot would cover the gap between runs and spokes. Then a few coats of poly to seal it and your set. Here's a wheel I did not to long ago.

    Attached Files:

    • 014.jpg
      File size:
      533 KB
    • 017.jpg
      File size:
      471.9 KB
    turboroadster and kidcampbell71 like this.
  18. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,410

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    However this was worked out around the spokes is so smart – I'd like to know specifically how this was done. I think that's the key to making it look good.

  19. Roger Walling
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,144

    Roger Walling

    Boy, I'v been holding this one for a long time.

    Two strings walk into a bar and the bar keeper says we don't serv strings here and throws them out.

    One of them was really thirsty so he twists himself into a knot and messed up his hair and walked back in. The bartender said , Art'nt you one of those strings that I just threw out? The string says....

    No! I'm a fraidknot!
    Malibob likes this.
  20. Here's the one in my '40 Mercury, it came that way when I bought the car. I was thinking about removing it but I think I have changed my mind.

    Attached Files:

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  21. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,106


    Kevin, I think this is how it's done. Refer to the really crappy drawing I just did, and start on the left. You are wrapping the twine in the same direction around the circumference of the steering wheel. When you get to a spoke, you make a few loose wraps around the spoke, then thread the twine under this loop, around to the back of the steering wheel where you then thread it through the backside of the loop around the spoke, then back to the front, etc. until you get past the spoke, then proceed to once again wrap in the same direction around the wheel. I also made a side view of how I believe the wrap is done through the loop around the spoke. Of course the real deal would look one hell of a lot better.....

    Hope you understand what I''m trying to convey.....

    Attached Files:

    • wrap.jpg
      File size:
      36.7 KB
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  22. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,768

    from Tampa, FL

    Funny to the bitter end. Gary
  23. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Good stuff! String wrapping was very common on racecar wheels on both sides of the Atlantic and goes back to whenever they stopped using tillers and adopted the steering wheel.
    A great advantage on a rod, aside from the visuals, is that it substantially increases the rim thickness of the steering wheel without making it look like crap. IMHO, about all traditional wheels for hotrods except maybe for Model A wheels have rims that are WAY too thin for comfort. Hold onto a '48 Ford wheel for 12 hours and you'll see what I mean. Modern wheels with fat rims are much more comfortable because they come close to the natural curl of human fingers, and this is a traditional way to get there.
    I'm looking forward to more on this...anything I try on my own with cord results in a dangling mess of granny knots.
    A source, fairly easy to find, on knot work: Old "Bluejacket's Manuals", a basic handbook once issued to all navy trainees. Mine is WWII vintage; editions run back at least from the turn of the 20th century til now, and I would bet older ones are even better on cord work.
    Kan Kustom and Cosmo49 like this.
  24. ricknroll
    Joined: Mar 8, 2007
    Posts: 78


    Thanks guys! So much great info to go from. Sad to say my attempt won't be on a a rod but my 62' C10. Cheaper than power steering and looks way cooler!
    I'll post pics to reveal my progress or disaster.
  25. Blackjack, you got wrap over a section of the end, when you come back to finish you tuck the other end in along side of the first end. I use to soak the twine before I wrapped it and used a awl to push the end under the first row. Then I would recoat the whole thing and let it sit for a few days in my shed.
  26. George G
    Joined: Jun 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,274

    George G

    Isn't that what you would call Macrame? Get some granny to show you how....
  27. iammarvin
    Joined: Oct 7, 2009
    Posts: 1,197

    from Tulare, Ca

    Can knot stop laughing....
  28. I wrapped this one a while ago


    If you go the route of wrapping the best advice I can give when it comes to finding the cordage is to look for a replacement line for a chalk line. I used to be able to find it at OSH but when I was last there they seemed to be phasing it out (Im on the east coast and dont get out to cali as much as I would like).
  29. 4woody
    Joined: Sep 4, 2002
    Posts: 2,101


    I always thought it would be cool to wrap as they do on a fancy fishing rod.
    Here's a couple of examples:[​IMG][​IMG]
  30. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,768

    from Tampa, FL

    Yep. Just macrame with a manly name (coxcombing). For sailors who are at sea for a long time, it must have been like knitting is to women folk, good to kill time. You know what they say about idle hands and rum rations. Gary

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.