Faux wood rims

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I have two bikes that use 28 x 1 1/2 single tube tires. I have a set of extra alloy coaster wheels. I replaced the half inch pitch cog with an Ichi Bike one inch pitch cog. To make them appear original I cleaned the rims, buffed them with fine steel wool and taped the nipples. I smeared 5 minute epoxy on the rim as nothing sticks as well as epoxy primer. I used rubber gloves and old painter garb for this. A thin layer is all you need. While it is still sticky I brushed on the fake wood, which contains real powered wood and is stainable. The epoxy stays sticky for quit awhile. After it dried overnight I applied two more thin coats, waiting two hours between coats. My next step is to apply a stain prep penetrant and then stain. The final step will be to apply slow setting clear marine epoxy. I had everything except the wood paint so this experiment has a minimal cost. At this point I’m not sure if it will work.
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Feb 26, 2017
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There is a long tradition of painting something to look like something else. It's called "trompe l'oeil," which is French for "fool the eye." There are tools available in craft stores for faux wood grain painting and lots of info online.

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There is a long tradition of painting something to look like something else. It's called "trompe l'oeil," which is French for "fool the eye." There are tools available in craft stores for faux wood grain painting and lots of info online.

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You can buy a graining tool from the fake wood company but none of my wood bicycle wheels have any noticeable grain. Instead I spent time brushing in a fine grain with the brush. I’m hoping for an even stain color with the brush grain giving depth. If I don’t like that the plan is to sand away the brushstrokes and go for the even brushless look of real wood wheels. This is an experiment. Here is one of my bikes with real wood wheels and this is the effect I want.
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Jul 16, 2019
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America's Friendly Hat
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There is a long tradition of painting something to look like something else. It's called "trompe l'oeil," which is French for "fool the eye." There are tools available in craft stores for faux wood grain painting and lots of info online.

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Long tradition indeed! The earliest records of trompe l'oeil date back to ancient Greece. Legend has it that Zeuxis painted grapes with such skill that the birds flew down and pecked at his art!
 
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I put on the final epoxy coat, washed the tire and put it on the rim while the epoxy was very slightly sticky. The only real problem was where the valve stem went through and chipped the finish as the wood filler made the stem hole too small. No paint came off the rim otherwise during tire installation. There is some black from the tire that got into the sticky epoxy. The real test will be to see if it chips off while riding.
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The powdered wood and latex paint didn’t accept stain very well, even with a pre treatment of stain penetrant. You would have to use a stain much darker that what you think you need. The product says it’s stainable but you can also buy it in a darker shade. I used a knife to cut off the masking tape. A few areas of peel required an additional coat of epoxy and a touch up with a very fine artists brush. This would work better on bare rims, before lacing. I have another wood wheeled bike and I plan to do this on the rims before I build the wheels. The original wood wheels on this bike are fine but they don’t make tubular tires wide enough to fill these rims.
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