[Healeys] Refinish steering wheel

Mark Donaldson ardmorebusiness at xtra.co.nz
Thu Dec 31 17:35:22 MST 2015


I do the same as you - a light clean-up now and then to remove oils from my
hands, and road film.  I use either an old 'Scotchbrite' scouring pad, or
fine soap-impregnated steel wool, followed by an application of furniture
polish on a soft cloth.  Here in New Zealand we use either CO polishing oil,
or Neopol.  After the oil has sunk in to the wood there is only a minor
smell - and it is rather nice.


My steering wheel is the same as Chris'.  It's been on my BN2 for decades.
It does not appear to have ever been coated in any finish.  The principal
laminates - alternating dark and light - are Mahogany and Obeche.


Compliments of the season.



Ardmore, NZ



From: Oudesluys [mailto:coudesluijs at chello.nl] 
Sent: Friday, 1 January 2016 6:43 a.m.
To: healeys at autox.team.net
Subject: Re: [Healeys] Refinish steering wheel


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

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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