Lexus Magazine has a new photo feature up that details the steps necessary to build one of a Lexus wood-carved steering wheel — here’s a couple of the slides that show the workmanship:
Anyone who’s worked with fine woods knows that polishing raw wood is a high art form. Hardness, density, and color will vary, even on a single piece of wood, and if the entire surface is sanded in the same way, say by machine, the result can be a slightly uneven surface. So, to achieve a fine, uniform finish, Lexus steering-wheel wood gets hand-sanded by artisans, who can evaluate the variables as they smooth things out.
…the wheels receive a sealer coat, followed by a colored paint layer—applied very thinly to ensure that the natural wood tones aren’t lost. The color’s main purpose is to match the shade of the wood trim inside the vehicles. Finally, a thin clear basecoat is applied, followed by a thin final layer of clear paint, both to protect against UV light and scratches and to give the wheel a decorative, mirror-like finish.
The workmanship is one thing, but to think this is done on such a large scale for mass-produced vehicles — that’s absolutely astounding.
Highly recommend checking out the full slideshow, it will give you a new appreciation of the one of the most-used parts of your Lexus.
[Source: Lexus Magazine]