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GenuineRides
01-19-2011, 10:02 AM
Since modern varnishes were not prevalent in the late 1800's, what would the "correct" finish to apply to raw wood rims from that era? I've considered those similar to what was used on gun stocks like linseed oil, tongue oil, and even tru-oil mixed with turpentine. Anybody with experience with wood rim finishes out there?
GenuineRides

sam
01-19-2011, 10:42 AM
Varnish plain and simple.Varnish is tree sap desolived in Alcohol,it'd been used for 100s of years.

GenuineRides
01-19-2011, 12:01 PM
True, yet varnish is a general term used to name several different types of resin mixed with solvent. Maybe shellac was used then too (wikipedia - Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. Shellac is often the only historically appropriate finish for early 20th-century hardwood floors, and wooden wall and ceiling paneling. From the time it replaced oil and wax finishes in the 19th century, shellac was the dominant wood finish in the western world until it was replaced by nitrocellulose lacquer in the 1920s and 1930s). I also doubt polyurethanes or some spars with UV inhibitors even existed...just wondering if a finish that appears more as a penetrating oil was used or a harder surface protector like shellac was common on wood rims.
GenuineRides

chitown
01-19-2011, 12:46 PM
I'm guessing penetrating oils.

Dissolve bees wax in mineral spirits, add tung oil and you've got one of the nicest finishes for wood you can get. Tung oil like linseed oil are hardening oils so they protect and penetrate. Re-apply top coat of wax as needed. I use the stuff from here: http://www.realmilkpaint.com/oil.html I've used it on maple flooring, butcher blocks and tons of woodworking projects I've done. I like it because there are no chipping pieces of varnish or shellac to worry about and has a great genuine look to it.

Chris

37ccmflyte
01-19-2011, 02:56 PM
Since modern varnishes were not prevalent in the late 1800's, what would the "correct" finish to apply to raw wood rims from that era? I've considered those similar to what was used on gun stocks like linseed oil, tongue oil, and even tru-oil mixed with turpentine. Anybody with experience with wood rim finishes out there?
GenuineRides

Well that's an interesting question.... I have asked the same question in regards to finishes on 1915 cars.
Here is something to think about.... their were thousands of bicycle makers in different parts of the world with different materials to hand, different budgets and ideas on how things "should" be done.
So to find one "correct" answer overall is not really an option! You can eliminate a few materials that were just not around but anything else could be on the table.

Having said that, my personal thoughts (bearing in mind I was not their!) they would want to sell their bikes so a nice bright shiny finish like shellac would be a common choice.

Then you come to the decision, do I want the exact materials in the finish (which might not be that durable) or do I go for a modern material that looks like it (and stays that way)....

Just thinking out loud...
Regards
Gavin

JAcycle
01-20-2011, 08:14 AM
Being a custom wood worker and having restored ...(refubished) many antique pieces and replicating.I find the ole timey way the best.For a durable finish , I start w/ desired color of stain . sometimes more than one coat or none at all. Then I seal w/ boiled linseed oil because it makes the color really stand out. (found at local hardware stores). Let that cure.Then I use Shellac...roughly 3 coats ,sanding w/ 220 grit paper between coats . Last sanding I step down to 320 grit then topcoat w/ last coat of shellac. The reason for using shellac is it is very easy to touch up if you get a scratch ,scuff or what not.It blends in w/out a trace of touchup. then you can use paste wax to further seal your project and buff to the sheen you desire. Just my 2 cents and my preferance for an antique finish

chitown
01-20-2011, 08:52 PM
Google books reference from "Bicycle Accessoires and Repair Supplies (1918)"

16509

http://books.google.com/books?id=AkMwnvNnaRcC&lpg=PA53-IA2&dq=wood%20rim%20bicycle%20varnish&pg=PA53-IA2#v=onepage&q=wood%20rim%20bicycle%20varnish&f=false

It states that the rims are "treated with a special formula waterproof oil, of great penetration... Finished with the highest grade of varnish and highly polished."

GenuineRides
01-21-2011, 12:07 PM
Great information, I knew there would be someone with wood working experience well beyond my level of knowledge, thanks for all the help!
GenuineRides

elginkid
04-03-2011, 07:14 AM
While shellac is an incredibly durable, and easy to repair/restore finish, it doesn't like water at all. (Really, that's shellac's main weakness) I double the original rims would be employing a finish that is easy stained by water. (but most people aren't subjecting these bikes to the same demands as the original owners would have) I would imagine something like a spar varnish would be more appropriate finish given it's durability to water, and its elasticity. It may not be as beautiful, but then again, these were being mass produced.

ftwelder
04-12-2011, 03:02 AM
This thread is perfect timing for me. My project, the Nashua seen in these pics
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52448896@N08/sets/72157624981957264/

is getting a rehab. I am (or have) removed all of the rust from the steel parts. The frame was missing too much paint and what remained was converted to what looked some type of charcoal product. The rims are in decent shape and using fine steel wool I have removed the loose material which was a red-ish stain or tint and a clear coat of some type. Some of the tint remained. I don't want the rims to be too nice and I also don't want to prevent a future full resto by using oil or wax.

My objective is to protect the wood and "present" the materials in there current condition. If this makes sense.. Should I use just varnish? I think the oil is the look I am after but oil or wax would be the last material that could be used.. Correct?

Thnaks!

chitown
04-12-2011, 01:53 PM
FTW,

You can use just the tung oil and skip the wax. This would only benefit the wood by keeping it from drying out and possibly cracking. Old wood can get pretty thirsty after 100 years. But even if you were to add the wax to it, it would be very easy to clean and prep for a full resto in the future by using mineral spirits and steel wool.

You can get a nice antique look without "looking too nice" by hand buffing with a piece of wool (retired wool socks work great). I think the varnish would be used only if you were doing a full resto. One thing I would suggest also is to stay away from those pre-mixed tung oil finishes at the local hardware/big box stores. They usually contain hardeners and varnish in the mix which you don't want in this case.

Pics look great. I love seeing the fork tubes made from sheets folded and brazed. Nice torrington box also!

Chris

btw Yeti was my dream bike when I was racing back in the day. Nice to see you on the forums here.

ftwelder
04-12-2011, 04:48 PM
FTW,

You can use just the tung oil and skip the wax. This would only benefit the wood by keeping it from drying out and possibly cracking. Old wood can get pretty thirsty after 100 years. But even if you were to add the wax to it, it would be very easy to clean and prep for a full resto in the future by using mineral spirits and steel wool.

You can get a nice antique look without "looking too nice" by hand buffing with a piece of wool (retired wool socks work great). I think the varnish would be used only if you were doing a full resto. One thing I would suggest also is to stay away from those pre-mixed tung oil finishes at the local hardware/big box stores. They usually contain hardeners and varnish in the mix which you don't want in this case.

Pics look great. I love seeing the fork tubes made from sheets folded and brazed. Nice torrington box also!

Chris

btw Yeti was my dream bike when I was racing back in the day. Nice to see you on the forums here.

Thanks for the kind words and advice.

The whole frame is made of rolled tubes. This has been an amazing project, I really enjoy the old machines. I have found a lot of help locally for this project. The saddle will be recovered using a 100 year old leather duster and sewn on a machine of the same vintage.

chitown
05-02-2011, 02:08 PM
The saddle will be recovered using a 100 year old leather duster and sewn on a machine of the same vintage.

Pretty hardcore restoration there. Now if only you can find a 100 yr old abandoned nickel mine to use for re-plating. :)

pelletman
05-02-2011, 05:05 PM
Preserve don't restore wherever possible. Rims were painted and varnished in the day

ftwelder
05-07-2011, 03:19 PM
I just ended up using fine steel wool to remove the loose finish. I then did two coats of tung oil. They look stunning.

http://thecabe.com/vbulletin/images/imported/2011/05/5697507322_b97bbbcd1f-1.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/52448896@N08/5697507322/)
27 048 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/52448896@N08/5697507322/) by barnstormerbikes (http://www.flickr.com/people/52448896@N08/), on Flickr

http://thecabe.com/vbulletin/images/imported/2011/05/5697506474_9f232da2fe-1.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/52448896@N08/5697506474/)
27 046 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/52448896@N08/5697506474/) by barnstormerbikes (http://www.flickr.com/people/52448896@N08/), on Flickr

I now need eight more spoke nipples like this.

http://thecabe.com/vbulletin/images/imported/2011/05/5696930591_6cd9c113cf-1.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/52448896@N08/5696930591/)
27 043 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/52448896@N08/5696930591/) by barnstormerbikes (http://www.flickr.com/people/52448896@N08/), on Flickr

chitown
05-07-2011, 08:32 PM
Looks fantastic. The frame and parts look great all stripped down too. Heck just coat the frame in tung oil and wax to show off those rolled tubes! Who needs paint!

Good luck on those nipples... I'm sure someones got a drawer full of those things, it's finding that person that is the joy of the hunt... and the frustration of the hunt as well.

Any thoughts on adding some wax?

Chris

ftwelder
05-08-2011, 10:48 AM
Looks fantastic. The frame and parts look great all stripped down too. Heck just coat the frame in tung oil and wax to show off those rolled tubes! Who needs paint!

Good luck on those nipples... I'm sure someones got a drawer full of those things, it's finding that person that is the joy of the hunt... and the frustration of the hunt as well.

Any thoughts on adding some wax?

Chris

Yes, on the steel parts I used a wax based coating but it seems to stay tacky and attract dust. I might rinse it off and re-coat using Butcher's brand bowling alley wax. It goes on easy with a solvent that evaporates leaving a hard wax finish.