The front wheels on the T we are restoring were in terrible shape, nailed in, some split, a couple of broken ones nailed, wired, and bolted back together, and they were very worn. There were shims between spokes and between spokes and the hub. So the question has anyone built their own spokes? and would you describe how you made them? Or where is the best place to purchase for quality and price?
there are several vendors lang's old car parts (modeltford.com) Snyders, Stutzmans You would also need to build a spoke press for the steel felloe wheels best bet would be stutzmans very highly recommended on this site
Lang's price is good and quick service. Look at the online catalog for description and price. If you don't have them I would suggest getting catalogs form both Lang's and Snyder's.
Here is their contact info Amash country no web
33656 County Rd 12
Baltic, OH 43804
I bought 48 new hickory spokes from Stutzman last October for $7 each. The spokes fit 1926 Kelsey felloes. The quality is excellent.
Here's the spoke press drawing at Fun Project's web site: http://www.funprojects.com/pdf/WheelpressA2.pdf
Roger thanks for the drawings. will get started on that asap, are the specs the same for 21" wheels and 30" wheels?
I have made my own spokes in the past. They have to be more precise than you might think, for something made out of wood. That being said, while excellent spokes are available for $7 from Stutzman, I would never make another.
If you decide to try making your own spokes, you have to make them very accurate, especially on the angles and the length of the tennon end in relation to the angles. You have to hit "machinist" quality measurements, not "woodworker" measurements. If you are off around .020" on length, you may find the spokes press together too tight, or not tight enough. You also should have access to a milling machine to bore the hole for the hub exactly the right size and exactly on center based on the outside of the felloe(or rim).
I suppose it is possible to make/use fairly sloppy spokes and eventually put together a reasonable quality wheel, but the main difference might be in how long it lasts or how much runout it has.
I know that many people have had good luck with the spokes offered by the major vendors, but I don't understand how people get decent results without precision sizing each spoke before use. The felloes are a roll forming and I have found they are fairly variable in diameter. I have also found that the proper "press fit" for a spoke made out of modern kiln dried hickory is around .012" longer. I have found that a reasonable quality wheel can be made if the angled end of the spoke is "exact" and the length to the tennon end is .010" to .015" "oversize"
What's the going price to have Stutzman do a steel fellow wheel? If you get them done at Stutzman's do they paint the wheel for an extra price or is that up to you?
Is there much to it if I did it, once the wheel press is made? Sanding, fitting, drilling?
Here's my homebuilt spoke turning lathe, works great and is accurate. about 5 minuets from start to finish per spoke. KGB
The decision depends on how much you have to spend. Buy them for the going rate or restore the existing spokes for very much less.
I have bought new spokes fully assembled in a steel felloe....and I have also done my own my own way. Unless you want to mess with the assembly process I would get the fully assembled wheel. If you want to do it all yourself, then be prepared with the requisite skills, tools and patience. I think it is worth the extra bucks to have the wheels assembled.
yeah I am not a machinist, will not be building them as accurate as needed can see that already =). thanks guys for the input, all appreciated all valuable.
Stutzman is the best I've found for price, and the quality is top notch. He even sent an extra spoke in case I messed one up.
I painted all the spokes and the metal parts before assembly. It takes time, but it ain't brain surgery.
Here's the video version. Be sure you read the note about mistakes in the video.
I made the spokes for the Town Car, I had the necessary wood and it looked like an interesting project. I made two fixtures, one for shaping the round portion on the lathe and a second fixture to cut the angle at the end. I'll get some pictures later today.
Making the first spoke was fun, even though I discarded it a little later. By the time I had done five I was getting good and enjoying life. By twenty it was more like work and less fun. By the 50th I was glad it was over and no longer any fun. I made a simple press, though sometimes I use the weight of the truck to press them into the steel feloe.
Can be done, but $7 each sounds much better, especially if you have to buy the wood.
I agree that the decision of whether to have the whole thing done for you or to assemble it yourself depends on money and time. But assembly with ready-made spokes does not require great machinist or woodworking skills. It's really pretty simple with the Regan press. John says he made it from scraps on hand for less than $20. I had to buy a couple of items when I made my press, so I may have spent about $30 on it.
Based on your description of your current spokes, I'd say use them for firewood or give them to one of the guys who make stuff out of old wood. New Stutzman spokes will outlast you and any attempted repairs you make to junk.
Adam pointed out the precision required of the spokes to get a perfect fitting wheel. I concur with his statements. Ford actually had 2 dimensions on the length of the spoke from the hub to the end of the major diameter of the spoke at the tenon end. One dimension was BEFORE being pressed into the metal felloe and the other was AFTER being pressed together. I recall that the difference was about .033 or so. Compressing hickory lengthwise is pretty tight fitting. The question to ask your spoke supplier is whether the spokes they sell are made precisely to Ford drawings and do they have that drawing on file? If their reply is that they copied a perfect spoke then ask them what the humidity was on the day they copied it. A vendor would be forbidden to make you a copy of that drawing since it is copyrighted by Benson Research Center but the info on it is important if you want your wheel to fit tight and last long.
What humidity do the Ford drawings specify?
I suppose Steve, that you would have to look at the drawing date, search meteorological records for that day in history, in Detroit, MI, and you would have your answer. ;>)
Steve, I have a press like Steve Jeff has posted. I'm in Whitefish and you are welcome to use it . My phone # 406 899 2224
Last year, I had Stutzman's Wheel Shop completely rebuild/re-wood a rear wheel for me and the cost was $195 plus shipping. And that, brother, is what I call conspicuously inexpensive.
thanks Duane I will take you up on that, it will be a while we are a slow project =). My dad, my son and I are about a year into it and so far have the frame painted and all parts cataloged. We have lots to do and only work on it occasionally, so I will take you up on that offer but don't expect a call any too soon. I will be shopping for spokes tonight.
Has anyone used the Antique Auto place out of Spokane, they seem to be the cheapest I can find but I know cheaper is not always better.
How much are spokes from Antique Auto Ranch? Their website is short on information.
I picked up a book when I was there last fall and it advertises 21" spokes for $5.50 each. But they do not offer the 1/2" tenon vs. 5/8" tenon option like Lang's book offers.
I use a lathe with a duplicator to manufacture the spokes, a radial arm saw to cut the angles, a 20 ton press to squeeze them in place and a 20 inch drill press to make the bolt holes. They are fun to make but it's time consuming, It takes a 10'X8"X2 Hickory plank for 4 wheels, 'n that's expensive.
That $195/wheel price you paid. Was that for wood felloes?
Enough good kiln dried hickory to make 1 wheel should cost $12-$18.
In my earlier comment I promised pictures and today I remembered to take the camera down to the barn. The first of the rather simple gauge I use to get the shape of the spoke when in the lathe. It is an old knife blade ground to fit a spoke for the 30" wheel.
The next is the fixture used to cut the 15 degree angle at the hub end of the spoke, this fits in the radial arm saw.
Once the spokes are pressed into the feloe, it should be centered, but sometimes it is a little off. This next gauge checks this centering...
These simple tools work quite well, here is my collection of wheels, some 30" and a couple of 21"for the coupe.
Another useful simple tool is a piece of plywood, cut to hold an axle half during assembly. This is described more fully in the MTFCA Ruckstell booklet.