Just got my Coker Tire catalogue and toward the back, the new service of building wood wheels at their place in Chattanooga, Tn.
I looked at the catalogue, and specifically the part regarding wood wheels. I was gob-smacked when I saw the prices. Can anyone explain the GIGANTIC discrepancy between their prices, and another firm, such as Stutzman's? I have seen Noah's work, and it is beautiful... so what is so special about wheels costing several times more?
Just a service they offering
I think it also includes new rims
But they are charging hourly shop rates were I think stuntman it's a labor of love
Stutzman's is building wheels to make money--but they also have an extremely strong work ethic and have invested in machinery to make things right and faster. Plus, I believe he owns the trees grown for the lumber. You can bet the Coker has to buy the lumber from someone who mills it.
At least this is my theory for the difference.
Oh, and I suppose you could say it's a labor of love, they love producing good stuff.
At first, I thought it was nice to see that Coker was offering this service. Then, like you, I was so sticker shocked by the price that I didn't even bother to call an see if it included new hubs and rims.
Stutzman's did the wheels for my '23 about a decade ago. The spokes were so beautiful that I talked myself into staining and varnishing them. That's saying something, because, excepting early firewalls, I hate unpainted wood on Model Ts.
So, this winter when it was time to pick a wheel shop for the new spokes for my '08 Maxwell, I didn't hesitate to call Noah. He finished my wheels in four weeks and worked with me to have them delivered to Chickasha, so that UPS won't get a chance to lose them. That's a good thing, because '08 Maxwell hubs are made of unobtainiun. The total cost for all four, was little more than for just one at Coker's price
I picked up my re-spoked wheels from Johnson's Wheels in Oklahoma in January. He did a great job and gave me a tour of his place. The price was quite reasonable and I am really happy with the quality of his work. He has a spot at Chickasha every year.
Plus, I believe he owns the trees grown for the lumber.
Hi Dave -
That's incorrect - they don't grow their own material. I dropped some metal wheel parts off at their place the day after Thanksgiving and Noah showed us around. I told him I thought he was one of three places in the country that did this kind of work and he told me they handled about 800 antique car wheels last year (repair and fabrication). I'm thinking buggy wheels are still the big part of the Stutzman business.
I left him some blank felloe joining plates and ask him to stamp an "S" onto them. He said "I know "K" is for Kelsey and "H" is for Hayes - what is de "S" for?
"Stutzman," I said. He laughed and told me he'd get in trouble for dat! It didn't occur to me at the time but I don't know if he was talking about getting in trouble with Model T purists or his own family and the church for being vain. When I got the wheel back in January, the joining plates were still blank.
On our way out, he gifted us a couple of Stutzman wheelwright embossed "Amish calculators." It was a small pocket calendar booklet that included a notepad and a pen in a holster. "When you need a calculator, you put the pen to da pad here and do long hand arithmetic!" The Amish have a sense of humor.
Here's a wheel off a civil war cannon that set at the courthouse of some small Ohio berg in for repairs:
Various buggy & wagon wheels ready for pickup:
Cokers is your hubs and their new felloes.
Gary, do you mean Coker's new rims? I was not aware that anyone was making new steel felloes. Rims are available for wooden felloe wheels, but new steel felloes are news to me. There being more than one type would make their production somewhat complicated.
Or am I just behind the times even further than I thought?
Allan from down under.