How to Restore an Old Wooden Wagon Wheel

By Dionna Harding
Old wagon wheels are popular lawn ornaments.

The Conestoga wagon was used during the 18th and 19th centuries in both the U.S. and Canada. Also referred to as the covered wagon, this early American vehicle was able to transport up to 8 tons of cargo. Today, parts from covered wagons, particularly the wheels, are antique artifacts. As with other antiques, restoring wagon wheels is a hobby for some and a job for others. The restoration of antique wood products consists of a series of steps to make your wagon wheel like new.

Assess the condition of the wheel. This consists of several different steps of its own. Your assessment should begin with determining if the wood is rotted or not. If it displays signs of rotting, you may opt to cure its condition by applying a flexible penetrating resin. If the wood is still in good condition, search your wooden wheel to see if any pieces are missing that require replacement.

Replace missing parts. For example, if a small portion of the wheel rim needs repair, measure and cut out the bad piece and glue in a replacement segment. Spokes are another part of a wagon wheel that may be missing and need replacement. In this case, simply measure the dimensions of your wood from an existing spoke and replace it into the missing slots.

Finish the wheel. Finishing your wheel will breathe new life into the overall appearance through varying coats of gloss. Some finishing products require a certain climate, so be sure to choose products that work best with the environmental elements of where the wagon wheel is being restored and housed.

Things Needed

  • 1 piece of wood, 4 by 4
  • Wood carving tool
  • Mallet
  • Wood glue

About the Author

Based in St. Louis, Dionna Harding has been writing professionally since 2009, penning articles and information for various websites. Harding holds a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Missouri-St.Louis.