[Healeys] Refinish steering wheel

Oudesluys coudesluijs at chello.nl
Thu Dec 31 10:42:48 MST 2015

Of what I can see the steering wheel does look very nice and patinated. 
I would not do anything to it apart from cleaning it with white spirits 
on a rough cloth or kitchen abrasive sponge and rubbing in some linseed oil.
Look for remnants of lacquer  on the inside of the aluminium. It may 
have been coated only with a wax or oil, e.g. linseed oil if you cannot 
find anything.

Depending on the age of the wheel it could be coated with acrylic paint. 
If that is the case this must be completely removed before repainting.
Start with degreasing the wood very carefully and thoroughly with white 
spirits. Sand very lightly with 320 grade sand paper until the colour is 
even and all lacquer is removed but remove as little wood/aluminium 
material as possible. Remove all the dust carefully. Repaint using a 
soft round brush with PU solvent based clear lacquer (as used on boats 
or wood floors) with about 4-5 coats or more at well over 20C so the 
lacquer will flow evenly. Let every coat dry thoroughly for a few days 
and sand lightly with 400 grade in between the coats. I prefer to coat 
wooden wheels using a satin finish, but others prefer gloss.
Another method is applying many very very thin coats of raw linseed oil 
and leave every coat to dry for at least a week at summer temperatures.
Generally mahogany plywood or solid mahogany is used but walnut can be 
used as well. Lighter woods are also used. Yours looks like mahogany ply.
It is a good idea to try out the process first on an old battered 
Moto-Lita wheel (same manufacturer).

I have done many steering wheels using PU solvent based lacquer and also 
using raw linseed oil. I prefer the latter method. The drawback may be 
that in the beginning your hands will smell of linseed oil.

Kees Oudesluijs

Op 31-12-2015 om 17:48 schreef Chris Scholz:
> I am finishing restoration of my BN4. Any ideas on how to improve the looks of my wooden steering wheel?  The wood is in very good shape. I would like to lighten it up some, but am nervous to start sanding it since the metal rivets would be more exposed. Any idea what kind of wood they used?  Are these maple?  I know they are not original. I see the original wheels were black plastic.
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