I purchased a new set of spokes from Snyder's for my 1927 T and have just started installing them I built one of the presses from a fun projects plan and watched the various videos on the forum and read the threads regarding this process. In spite of everything, I can't seem to get the spokes to go into place. It appears that the spokes are too wide at the hub end as after I wind down on the nut on the press a certain distance nothing will compress any further. I can withdraw the hub and the inner circumference of the spokes is not even and although part of the circle, the first few spokes, are even the following spokes are progressively out of round and the ends have a jagged appearance. Anybody else have this problem or have any suggestions?
Post some pictures of your problem Dave, it'll help folks help you.
I know Steve Jelf makes it look easy, but I've pressed just about all the spokes on my car and I've got to tell you even with the press, it's quite a fight getting them back into that hub and felloe.
A couple of things to make sure of are you sure you got the correct tenon size and your wheels size...Kelsey Hayes spokes are a bit wider at the hub than Ford spokes are. And tenon's come in two sizes 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch.
Did you get the correct tenon size for your felows?
21" Kelsey wheels. Feloes are the right size. They go in the hole ok. I can't seem to post the pictures as I get a message that they are too large.
I never have any trouble getting 'em pressed in 'cause, well, I just let Stutzman do it!!
File size limit on pictures is around 245K. Here's one way to reduce the file size of your pics:
It sounds like the very ends of your spokes, just below the tapered end, are not finished. Meaning, after the spokes are pressed in place, the hole in the middle will be irregular and too small to accept the hub. Does this sound like your trouble?
That's how the spokes were that I bought from Stutzman's. I had to finish cut the center hole. If that's what you've got, you'll have to push the spokes in place without the hub, finish the hole, then press the hub in later.
According to T-3421, you are supposed to machine the hub end after assembly. You want it to be a very snug fit.
Mark-Thanks, I'll give that a try to resize the pictures.
Jerry & Thomas-I can't compress the spokes to the flat position and the hub is still loose. It seems that the spokes are too wide at the hub end to let them lay flat.
I don't understand the spokes not being of uniform size and shape. I bought these from Stuzman to make a pair of wheels three years ago. All I had to do was paint and press.
I had no trouble pressing the hubs in with the spokes, as all the spokes were uniform in size and shape.
The wheels I made were Hayes (Kelsey was a different company).
I did NOT have to machine the ends of the spokes. They came with a round cut to fit the hub, and I had no trouble pressing the two wheels. If I received spokes that were not of uniform size and shape, I'd return them for a refund.
The spokes I ordered from Snyder's had the ends machined to the proper curve and pressed in as designed
I have made my own spokes on the lathe. It was a tiresome job and I was unable to machine the tapered end as that was where I held the wood. So I put on the taper with a fixture on a bench saw and then installed them in a rim with the press. Then with a simple fixture, machined the center circle with a router. Once the hole was uniform and a little smaller (about 0.020") than the diameter of the hub, I numbered the spokes and disassembled. Then assembled again this with the hub in place.
Lots of effort but it passes the time, I have done three sets from scratch over the years.
Here's another try with the pics. I have done a little more work on the wheel and it seems that the new spokes are wider on the section that goes in the hub. This is a Canadian T with Kelsey wheels made in Ontario Canada. Is it possible that these wheels take a different spoke?
It's possible that they're for a different wheel, but I'm more interested in the apparent unevenness shown in the photos. Are the ends uneven because they're loose, or because the spokes aren't uniform? Have you carefully measured all of them for uniformity?
Dave, have you tried fitting just the spokes to your hub without the felloe? That should tell you right away if they are correct or not. Just a thought. Dave
Thanks guys. I just spent another hour or so on the wheel. Thought it was going pretty good but then jammed up and I had to take the threaded rod out to get the wheel out. Nut has probably deformed the threads on the rod again. This is the second time this has happened. The spokes look like they are not going in at the correct angle and I end up with a fan shaped hole in the center where the hub goes. Jeff, this is what you are seeing as unevenness. Again, there is no interference between the hub and the spokes, just between the spokes themselves. I will check them for uniformity as you suggested Jeff and try fitting the spokes to the hub as suggested by David. I'll post the results. I talked to Tom at Snyder's and he is not aware of any difference in the Canadian made wheels.
I think you should have the hub in there while pulling the spoke down.
OK. I checked the new spokes and they are all uniform. I laid the new spokes out on the hub and a picture is attached. There is also a picture of the original spokes. I notice that the original spokes are not uniform. Every 2nd spoke is narrower on the flat part where the bolt goes through. Also, should the part of the spoke that goes into the felloe take a lot of force to insert? It is 1/2" at the end but swells as it gets closer to the main body of the spoke. Would this be preventing the spoke from seating properly or should it press in when the spokes are pressed into place?
Wow! That's one mixed up wheel. Looks like they shaved them to fit.
I don't think that the tapered part is as mixed up as you might think. The wedge part might be tapered between the between the flanges of the hub. In the photo you see a wide and narrow face. It acts like a lock. If you flip the spokes over you would see the the other face of a narrow spoke is wide etc.
^ are these for the 1926/27 size wheels? If so are you interested in selling your old spokes? I need them for a trailer I'm going to build.
Dave, your new spokes look like they fit nicely around the hub. Have you measured the length of your new spokes versus your old ones?
I don't know about 21 inch wheels, but the vendors sell two different length spokes for 30 inch wheels. The spokes for Kelsey felloes and Hayes felloes are 1/32 inch longer than the ones for Ford felloes.
I've run into wheels with those trapezoid shaped spokes. From memory, they were also on a Canadian car. I don't think the spokes the vendors sell will fit those wheels, however there are two different lengths of spokes so maybe you will get lucky.
First thing I would do is measure across the inside of the felloe (the metal ring the spokes fit into). Then give Lang's Old Car Parts a call and ask for Steven or Don. Tell him what you have and give him the inside diameter of your felloe. He can tell you if any of their spokes will work or not. You may have to get 4 used felloes which will fit those spokes, or have a set of spokes custom made for those wheels.
Measure the ID of the felloe. Most 21 inch wheels measure 18.75 inches. This one probably measures 18.5 inches. I just rebuilt one this week. It is boxed for shipment so I can't look to see the maker. I don't see many of them, but they do show up now and then. The supply houses do not supply this spoke that I know of.
Thanks guys for all your input. I will do some measuring tomorrow and let you know what I find. Travis, I am not going to sell the used spokes. I have some more old wheels and if I don't need them for this wheel, I'll use them to rebuild some others. Some of them are no good but some will be useable. I may end up having to dispose of the 12 new ones if they can't be made to fit. Time will tell.
Many of the Canadian cars had spokes with a double taper, meaning they are tapered in the usual fashion, plus they have an alternating taper across the thickness of the spokes. It shouldn't present any problem if the new spokes don't have this feature.
As Bill Calimer suggests, measure the inside diameter of the felloe. Also measure the distance from one spoke end to the other as you have them laid out in your photo above, (not including the end pins). I think this will be very revealing. (Might as well measure the old spokes in the same manner for comparison.)
If it turns out that the new spokes are too long, maybe you can find a buddy with a wood lathe that can turn down the outer ends down to the correct length.
Here I am again. ID of felloe is 18.5 inches. Length of old spokes (not including the tenon) is 8 1/8". New spokes are 8 1/4". Looks like this is the problem. Next step is to call Lang's to see if they can help out or as a last resort modify the new spokes. Who ever thought that a Model T could be that unusual? Guess the Canadian built cars are full of surprises. Thanks to everyone who contributed their thoughts and ideas. I'll post my progress as it happens.
Talked to Steve at Lang's and he didn't have anything to fit.I guess my last options now are to try to shorten the spokes I have or send the wheel to Stutzman's to be respoked. Does anyone know an approximate cost to have this done. It's a steel felloe wheel so all I would need done is the spokes.
Don't forget your checking against spokes that have shrunk from age and an 1/8 inch is not much. I know that when I pressed the spokes in the 21 inch wheel I used a press and they did pop pretty good when they found home. Looking at your photo of them in the wheel I think you need to tepee them more and maybe try using a larger diameter all-thread rod. I put the hub in place and used it to help push the spokes down. I needs to be in place with the bolt holes lined up so it ends up with the holes bisecting the joint.
After seeing the pictures of the 12 spokes around the hub where they look equal length then looking at the 11 spokes in the wheel, I think the uneven length is a visual illusion. As I say, the photo round the hub looks fine, I think you need to push harder as Mark suggests.
Another point, why call Langs as you bought them from Don Snyder?
Had a similar problem with my Canadian built 1926 T. In the end I damaged so many new spokes I ended up making my own spokes with a slightly shorter length. Your (our) problem may be unique to Canadian wheels. I have an old post some years ago about how I made jigs and turned my own hickory spokes.
Tony-Actually, I talked Tom Jordan at Snyder's first and then to Steve at Lang's and neither one could supply a spoke that they thought would fit. This is in no way an issue with the supplier. I have purchased from both before and they have always been helpful. When I bought the spokes Lang's was out of stock (and still are) but Snyder's were able to supply them.
Mark-Steve was of the opinion that 1/8" difference is not normal shrinkage. When you consider the total of both opposing spokes the total is 1/4" which is the same as the difference between the inside diameter of my felloe (18 1/2") and the usual felloe at 18 3/4". Also, the original spokes were very tight in the wheel and I had to press out the hub and broke the tenons off a few spokes in the process. In hindsight, I should have left well enough alone and just refinished everything as it was. Of course then I wouldn't have had all this fun? As Bill mentioned he has encountered this size wheel before and I assume has made spokes for them. This may be the way to go. Thanks again to everyone for their input and suggestions. It sure helps to have interested people doing their best to help those of us with less experience.
Dave, when you mentioned that the wheels were Kelsey and they came from a Canadian car, bells rang for me. I believe you may have wheels like all our Canadian sourced cars. They are made differently from US made wheels.
If you look at the hub end of the spokes I see you say each second spoke is narrower. If you look at the ones in between, I think you will see that there is a narrow side on the others too, but it is at the back. The spokes are made with a taper front to back, as well as the taper on the sides. when such a wheel is assembled, the front to back tapers are alternated. When these spokes are clamped in the hub, the spokes become wedged tighter as the bolts are done up, altogether a good idea.
However, I do not believe any of the vendors supply this type of spoke. Theirs do not have the taper front to back. I have had a few sets of this type of wheel built by a New Zealander, using American Hickory. Just to complicate things, the spokes are of different length to those used on many US made wheels.
Hope this explains somewhat. Let me know if you need photos.
Allan from down under.
I have a pair of those type wheels on the front of my TT. They came off of a T trailer that I have that was built back in the day. I have no idea where the wheels came from. I removed the rear hubs from them and installed front hubs. Those spokes are SO much easier to assemble, no press is needed. As Allan said, they tighten up radially as the bolts are tightened. If they get loose over the years, a VERY thin shim between each spoke at the hub will tighten them up both at the hub and at the felloe. A far superior design as far as I'm concerned. I wish the vendor suppliers would make them that way. As far as I'm concerned, they are WAY better than the usual style. JMHO. Dave
Allan/David-Thanks very much. That's exactly what I have. I think I will try to put the wheel back together using original spokes. I broke the tenons off a few taking it apart but I have five wheels so I'm sure I can make 4 good ones. I'll be more careful taking the others apart to refinish them.
I've read about these Canadian wheels before, and yes, they have that double taper and don't need a press to assemble them, as they tighten as you bolt the flange together. Very interesting design, and somewhat more complicated to make, although back in the day, simple once the milling fixtures were set up--and they were making thousands of spokes, so the extra effort was not much per spoke or wheel.
David D, the spokes are all the same, so there is no real complication in their manufacture. They are simply alternated as they are installed. You do need to number them if you take a wheel apart. Because of the taper front to back, the bolt holes are not central at the part lines on the spokes, so they need to go back in exactly the same position.
The whole set-up makes them much easier to work on/tighten/assemble.
Allan from down under.
You learn something every day on the Forum......
I wonder if anyone has shown this type of spoke to the wheelwrights? Stutsmans, Calimers, etc. Wonder if they would be interested in making them? Dave
Allan or David D.- Do you know if it is possible to take these wheels apart without damaging the spokes. I want to refinish the spokes and the felloe and hub but it's difficult if not impossible to get the rust out from between the spoke and the felloe when it's all together. The first one that I disassembled, I assumed I wasn't going to use the spokes again so I just used the press to push the hub out. A few spokes had the tenons broken off in the process. I would like to avoid that happening again.
The complication is in tapering the sides of the center part; it's a little harder to set up to get the right dimension, maybe not much, but some--and You can't just flip the spoke blank over to cut the other side, have to have a second set-up to cut it. More room for errors!
That's all I was saying. I think it's actually a better arrangement than the US version.
Just saw your post. I have no direct experience with them, but I would think it's more possible than with the US ones, as once you take the hubs off, you could work three spokes in the opposite directions, which would immediately provide clearance to push the middle spoke of the three spokes towards the center. Once that spoke is removed, there should be plenty of clearance to push the others in. Same with re-assembly.
Yep, that's how they work. Dave
Thanks David and David. I have the flange off but the hub seems to be pretty solidly in place. I'll try taping on a spoke that has the wide side away from the hub. If I can get one started the rest should be easy. If it is really stubborn, I might try supporting the spokes and pressing the hub out. I don't want to press the hub with the spokes free to move as that's how I broke the tenons of a few spokes before. I'll let you know how I make out.
YES, support all the spokes and press the hub out first. You could cut a "donut" out of a piece of heavy plywood with the hole just a little bigger then the hub flange, and put supports underneath it. This is where a hydraulic press comes in VERY handy. I think in model T work, a press is a great shop tool to have. I'm lucky, I 'inherited" one when the family gas station closed--it ain't fancy, not much better than a HF unit, but it does work! And since the cylinder is actually just a hydraulic jack, it can be replaced easily if the fails.
Dave, I have had success this way.
First remove the outer hub plate. Then using a wooden block as a cushion, drive each of the 6 spokes which have the narrow side at the rear, just a little way out. Then you can drive the other 6 also. Doing this bit at a time will leave the whole still assembled at the end. In effect you are removing the hub, without having to resort to a press.
Once the hub is out, dis-assembly is easy, with no damage to the spokes.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
David D, I understand that making the double taper would make things more complicated when building individual wheels. I was thinking of the mass production methods used originally.
The New Zealand fellow does not us e a lathe to 'turn' spokes. He has a set-up which uses a set of linked routers to cut the spokes. The equipment is designed to follow a pattern spoke mounted at the bottom. Following the double taper on the pattern spoke is no more difficult on his set up. The same applies to making spokes with bulges in the middle to take brake drum bolts used on some much larger and more exotic cars. Altogether an ingenious way to do the job.
His finished spokes have a series of flat surfaces about 1/8"wide around them. These are easily wiped off with a quick swipe of sanding paper.
Allan from down under.
PS a router is a tool used to cut fancy edges on timber, not a bloody black box connected to a computer!!!!!!
ROFL! I never though of the electronic usage of the word! That's a very clever way to do the spokes, I've often wondered how the spokes on the Dodge Brother's wheels were done, as some have that "bulge" in them.
There was a fellow making wheels with the double taper, 15 +/- years ago, in Canada. I have a set on my REO, a friend has some on his T. He has driven several years on his, mine not quite ready yet.
Don't honestly know if he's still making wheels or not. Some where in Ontario, between Toronto and Niagra Falls maybe.
I am really glad that I read through this post before buying spokes for my Canadian Tudor. I would be interested in getting the name of the fella that made Jim Dix's spokes.
Hey. I would be interested in that guys contact info as well.
The double taper is the best and is probably the best way to do it i can think of.
Alan, I tried your suggestion using a rubber mallet. Worked great and everything came apart easily. Thanks.
Hi guys. After a Christmas break, I went back to the wheel. I followed Allan's suggestion, numbered all of the spokes and simply taped it back together with a rubber mallet, installed the hub flange and tightened the bolts. Everything went in to place perfectly and is nice and tight. Thanks to everyone for all of their help and shedding some light on another unique feature of the Canadian built Ts
Nice work Dave! Another feature unique to the Canadian 21" split rims is the pair of holes either side of the split. These are there to accept the feet on an unusual tool used to open and close the split. I had never seen one in the flesh until recently. I bought it for another Alan for his 26 T. Sure is much more compact than the usual cast iron jobs.
Allan from down under.
Allan-Do you, or anyone else, have a picture of this tool?
The Rim Tool:
Again, I ask, I wonder if any of the wheelwrights have made/thought about making spokes that way? I know it would take some work to get everything set up right, but once done, it seems to me they would be just as easy to make(says the guy that has never made any!), they are just SO much easier to assemble. I would think it would be to their advantage too. JMHO Dave
Just to finish off here is a photo of the tapered ends of the Canadian spokes.
They are so easy to assemble I also wonder why no one has made them that way as replacements.
One other thing also, I think you will find the late Canadian Felloes are thicker ( inside diameter smaller ) than the USA ones. The rims are made for these felloes and the bolt holes are slightly less across the diameter Center to center.
An 1/8" less on each spoke length makes them 1/4" shorter across the diameter of the felloe. I don't think one has any hope of pressing the dealer USA type in place, and as has been suggested they would need the tenons ends altered
Adding to this thread again, am I correct that the wheelwrights have to assemble the wheels as we do with a press such as the one John Regan designed? If so, that brings up the question again, why? It looks to me that the "Canadian" design would work and even be far superior for any wood spoke wheels, for cars, wagons, buggies, etc. What am I missing here? Do they just make them the other way because that's the way they have always made them? I don't get it. Dave
Wow! The more you find out, the more interesting it gets. The spokes pictured are exactly like mine and yes they are 1/8" shorter than the US type. The dealer supplied ones can not be pressed in using the press I made. I jammed up the threads on two pieces of threaded rod trying to do that. I would like to get one of the tools pictured if anyone has one they want to part with. I may have seen them at swap meets but wouldn't have identified it as something I could use. Has anyone tried one and does it work well?
Dave, I wish you luck with the rim tool. They are scarce due to;
Being Canadian sourced, smaller production numbers.
Only used on 21" wooden wheels, small window of production.
Unusual in appearance, so largely ignored by collectors who could not identify it.
Perhaps not all that proficient in use, so discarded early.
I have never used one, so that last thought may or may not be credible. I have only ever seen one in 50 years of T ownership, but only relatively recently would I have recognised it.
Allan from down under.
Bill and Allan- Great info and pictures. Can you tell me the approximate size of the tool so I can watch for one? You can never tell what I might find here in Canada.
They are about 10" from the 4 'feet' which enter the holes to the handle, and it is about 6" wide.
The material it is made from is about 5/16", I suspect spring steel.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
For future reference it is not only split Rim 21" wheels that have these spokes,
30 x 3 1/2" B. E. Canadian wheels also have the double taper.