After being told that it would take months to receive a reconditioned wheel, I have built my own wheel press.
So far it is not strong enough as the tabletop base is beginning to splitting under the pressure. Can anyone direct me to some pictures of the underside of their wheel press?
Did you use the John Regan plans from the Fun Projects website? Mine is built from his plans and has four layers of plywood supporting the ring.
If yours is similar but is still too weak, are you sure you have the right length spokes? The vendors sell two lengths. The spokes for Kelsey and Hayes felloes are 1/32 inch longer than the spokes for Ford felloes.
Link to the plans on the Fun Projects website - go to the "choose document" box, scroll down to select the "wheel assembly spoke press plans", then click on the blue font "view document" link:
I made the same one as Mark has shown. I would add a little wax or lubricant to the threads before use. I have noticed after two spokes my threads are starting to become chewed up.
Jason is right. I sprayed white lithium grease on my threads before I used the press.
Also, check to make sure that you have the correct tenon size on your spokes, they come in 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch. The 5/8 inch ones won't press into 1/2 felloe holes.
As you're pressing, make sure that the spoke tenons are going into the felloe holes (adjust as necessary) and are not hanging up.
Not sure how important it is but you might also put a layer of carpet pad on top of your 4x4s. I have not see but two or three presses but they all had some sort of padding between the 4x4s and the fellow, I put it on mine.
I used 1/4-5/16 sheet steel for my base.
Here are more photos of the one I built at a later stage, with the carpet padding and a wheel on it in the process of being pressed:
Holy cow! There are free plans available? I'm on it!
The pad does 2 things. It prevents the paint on the felloe from getting scratched up but also allows the felloe to "self center" by not resisting the felloe if it needs to move a bit from side to side as the spokes are pressed straight down and begin to nestle into the felloe.
I always love to see the pretty wheels that people send me pictures of. That is my payment and the debt has been paid in full a long time ago.
Mark - I've never used a wheel press, but in just reading about them and looking at photos like yours, I'm wondering if a good addition to your wheel press would be some type of ball or roller bearing in place of the washer might be a good improvement. It wouldn't necessarily even have to be a very close fit. In fact, at a glance, it looks like a used Model T or Model A (or perhaps some other automotive front wheel bearing) in combination with a couple of the right sized washer/spacers might work well,....FWIW,..... harold
Sounds like a good idea, Harold - There is a lot of pressure on that nut when you're just starting to press the spokes down. Once the tenons start in the felloe holes, the force required goes down a bit.
Repeating - while pressing, it is important to check each spoke tenon and make sure it is going into its corresponding felloe hole! If one gets hung up, back off a bit and reposition it. Also, check the bases of the spokes to make sure that they stay aligned with each other. Sometimes, one or more spokes will try to twist out of position. If you see a spoke twisting, stop and reposition it before continuing to press!