I have found that my wheels on my 15 Roadster are unsafe. Found a couple where the rivets between the fellows and the rim are broken and also I can push a .035 feeler gauge between the fellows and the metal rim. Did the wood shrink up that much as I know the fellows should be a very tight fit into the Rim. These are non demountable wheels
You need to take the wheel apart, sandblast the rim, and send it to Calimers. If your felloe is original it should be round.
Yes, they do shrink. There could be some deterioration/rot. There are several good wheel shops. I'd check prices. Sandblast and send the rim, the hub and plate, and a spoke and felloe for a sample so the wheelwright will see exactly what to make.
Anderson’s Wooden Wheels
Dale Anderson – Owner-Operator
Box 1433, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Canada S6V 5S9
Phone (306) 763-4049
Fax (306) 763-4018
Calimer's Wheel Shop
30 East North St.
Waynesboro, PA 17268
Johnson's Wood Wheels
300 Ingleside Drive*
Ardmore, OK 73401
*Mail only; contact for shipping address
33656 County Rd 12
Baltic, OH 43804
Vintage Wheel Shop
19842 Via Redondo
Sonora, CA 95370
If it is otherwise sound, you can take the wheel assembly out of the rim and shim it with veneer or a thin metal strip wrapped around the felloe, then heat the rim to push back on the newly shimmed assembly. When cooled and therefore tight, re-rivet it.
Of course, there will be those who will tell you you shouldn't do this. The decision is yours.
What you do depends on the condition of the wood. You an always buy new wood wheels but there are other ways to fix them as well.
Save your car and your life, step up and have new wheels made.
I used Johnsons Wood wheels out of Okla for my 24 Coupe wheels and they did an outstanding job and also balances the wheels.
I don't know about the other wheel rebuilders but Johnsons did just as good a job on packing and crating the wheels. His crating was built like a tank and very strong and ridged.
Something to think about if you have new ones built and have them shipped.
What I did was to shim between the spokes with pieces of 1/8" steel, which has the effect of making this larger and in so doing will push outwards, which in so doing will tighten up loose spokes and fellows in the wheel.
I know that some of you would say that this is probably not the right way to do this, but, I did a fair bit of research and questioned a number of other veteran drivers before doing this, one of who had done this some years ago and his wheels are still as tight as new ones.
1915 Canadian Tourer
I prefer to shim around the outside of the felloe. Look at the gap between the spoke and the hub. Shimming between the spokes effectively increases the size of the 'hole' in the center of the spoked assembly. I would be afraid that the bolts are taking all the load in that wheel.
Consider the age factor, nearly 100 year old worn and stressed spokes and fellows let alone to consider the worm out rivets.
Spend the money and make your model t safe, don't waste your time trying to patch unsafe wheels. Why is there never time to do it right but always time to do it over?
Your both right, Hal and BCGuy, Shimming around the fellows is the preferred way to tighten felloe wheels. There is nothing wrong with this method providing the wood is in good sound condition.
One should also consider how the wheels will be used.
John O -- As others have suggested, when you shim between the spokes as you did, you must also shim between the spokes and the hub. The hub MUST be a tight fit in the spokes in order to carry the load of the car.