I finished building my wheel press today using John Regan's plans (I just need to glue the carpet padding onto the top of the 4x4 ring).
I have four Kelsey felloes at the powder coat shop right now, I'm expecting a call any day to go pick them up.
I also got a box of 50 Kelsey/Hayes length spokes with 1/2 inch tenons from Lang's today:
I'm planning to give the spokes a natural finish using premium exterior grade spar Urethane.
My hubs are all painted and ready. I don't have the front bearings or races yet, but I don't plan to install them until after the wheels are built.
Many thanks to Model T Haven, Bob's, Lang's, and John Regan for the materials and plans for this upcoming project!
Mark, after the paint job on the felloes you need to clean the teton holes. In the press, just cut a space on the side so you can get a hand under the wheel while you are assembling it.
I finish the spokes to before assembling but it can be done after.
I just finished doing 4 wheels today. The next set I do I will cut about 8" off the threaded rod. The long rod serves no other purpose but to make the job longer. Andre's photo show just how much excess there is and really I can't see why more than 5 or 6 inches above the plate is needed. Maybe I'm missing something and other can straighten me out?
Watch also Steve's Youtube video. The card-board disk trick is a great help to keep the spokes in place.
I think Mark knows this, but I'll mention it for anybody else planning to do this job. Don't fasten down the felloe as I did in the video. Let the spokes center it. Also skip the paper tube. It's unnecessary and just gets in the way. I didn't use any tape to keep the cardboard disk on the hub, but it's probably a good idea.
Today is being spent staining the spokes with an oil-based combination stain and sealer.
I didn't have any clothes pins to hang the spokes with, so I cut up a couple of coat hangers and made little clamps that grip the unstained sides of the spokes.
After this batch dries (24 hours), I'll unclip them and do another batch, then another until all 50 are stained and dried. Then, it starts all over again with the exterior grade spar urethane. The urethane has a light honey tint to it, so the spokes will darken up a little more after the final coat is applied.
Well, after a week of sealing, staining, sanding, and four coats of outdoor polyurethane on all 50 spokes (48 to use plus two spares), today was the day I decided to assemble the wheels.
Here is one of the Kelsey metal felloes and a hub mounted on the wheel press. The cardboard ring helps hold the spokes up close to the hub as I insert them.
All the spokes installed, ready to start pressing:
Finished pressing, ready to dismount and start on the next wheel:
All done, four new wheels! All that's left is to drill the bolt holes, mount the cover plates, tighten the nuts, and stake the ends of the bolts so that the nuts can't back off.
A couple of lessons learned:
1) It helps to grease the threads of the all-thread in the area where the upper nut goes.
2) Placing the first eight or so spokes is easy, the last four is trickier because you have to lift the hub up to make room and the other spokes try to twist or fall out. The cardboard ring helps, but I found that I had to cup my hand under the hub and already installed spokes to hold them in place as I installed the last few spokes.
3) Links to these have been posted before, but here are a couple of great videos showing the process:
They sure are pretty, Mark!
I can't do it better.
Interesting and nice work, looks great.
But my question is, why not pre-drill the bolt holes in the wood for the hubs?
I've never re-spoked any wheels, but I imagine that if you lay out the spokes, somehow clamped them and used a hub or template to mark them, then drilled them the holes would not be exactly correct once you force them into place under stress.
The holes for the bolts go in between spokes, not centered in a spoke. I think drilling a half-hole in each spoke would be more trouble.
Here is where the hole belongs:
I knew the holes where of set to the spokes, after thinking a little, I now have a new question, is there a jig to do this so you get them straight so the wheel runs true?
Nice looking wheels. If you look at the plans again you will notice there is a notch that you didn't cut along one of the straight sides. That notch is to pass the last spoke through so you don't have it all falling apart and you don't have to loosen the hub to get the spoke between other spokes. While the threaded rod most certainly can be shortened, it isn't a hardened steel acme thread or anything and when it gets kinda worn you can simply invert it or move it down and THEN cut off the extra length so you can get full utilization of all the good threads. If you cut it off to least usable height then you can only invert it once and then your press is wore out. Main issue that many people miss is that if you hold the hub rather tight in mid air and figure out on the first wheel just how high in the air to hold it then you will find all the wheels will then not have the spokes fall apart on you since they will snap into place and be held by the hub which is NOT allowed to spin if held tight between the lower nut and upper nut. When the hub can spin then the spoke teepee can rotate and fall apart rather easily on you. Whatever way works the easiest for you is the way to do it. The proof is in the final assembly and your wheels sure look nice.
Thank you everyone for the kind words. This was my first attempt at wheel building, I'm very happy with the results.
John, I should have looked at your plans more closely, I thought the notch was just for storing the threaded rod when it was removed from the base.
I certainly did experience the "collapsing spoke teepee" effect a couple of times, but I was able to get all the spokes in with a little patience. I almost put one spoke in upside down, but luckily caught it and fixed it before pressing the wheel.
I just finished drilling all the holes and bolting the hub flanges on all the wheels (and the brake drums on the rear wheels). I made a drill jig using a three inch block of wood and drilling several 3/8 inch holes in it on my drill press. Then, I used the holes in the block of wood to guide my portable drill when I drilled the holes in the wheels. I drilled two holes on opposite sides of the hub first and inserted two bolts to hold the flanges firmly while I drilled the remaining four holes per wheel.
I used the "original style" hub bolts and nuts from Langs. I expected the rear bolts to be a bit longer than the fronts to account for the extra thickness of the brake drums, but all the bolts were the same length. I used Loctite on all the nuts, but I'm going to stake the ends of the bolts anyway for extra insurance.
The hole for the threaded rod storage was an idea that was sent to me by Tony Cimorelli when he built his press and he drilled it opposite the notch to take advantage of the notch that was there for inserting the last spoke. I liked the idea so added it to the plans.
Mark, I would not be in a tearing hurry to stake the bolts to stop the nuts coming off. Your loctite will do the job for now. The timber spokes will compress initially and you might want to take up any looseness a little later. Then the bolts can be peened over.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
I agree with Allan. Trust the loctite. The various colors of loctite indicate primarily the temperature at which it will release. I use red for initial stuff and green for the long haul and/or sharp punch in 3 places between the nut and bolt. Wood will indeed loosen up a bit and I used a torque wrench on them to get them even.