Noah Stutzman tells me he no longer sells spokes, only wheels. The best price I've found from other sources is $10.50 each. Is there anybody who beats that price?
Bummer, that was the best source for spokes.
I made a set of 50 on my lathe, by hand. The first one took quite a while but by the time I was on the fifth I was getting much better. By the time I was doing the 49th I was tired of the whole damn project.
I used oak as I had it on hand. I know many prefer hickory but I was unable to find a good source of 5/4 by 8/4 hickory on the west coast. Any source from the east coast cost more than buying the spokes directly from Snyder’s.
You have some Osage Orange in your back yard
Like oils, there are good spokes and there are bad spokes.
I'm on the other side of the world to most of you, but I remember our old friend RDR extensively testing different timbers for wood spokes. I also remember that in the wash-up, the original Hickory proved to be the best. Its both strong and flexible. At the other end of a list of timbers was White Oak. Strong-ish but brittle and would shatter in some impact tests. Now all this was a long time ago and if memory serves me correctly he classed White Oak as unsafe to use. BUT....we here in the antipodes, don't have that problem, because White Oak isn't something we have here, but we do have a lot of different Eucalypt's. My car has Spotted Gum spokes.
I have a copier on my lathe and have made spokes for 8 wheels. Before I knew better I made 4 wheels out of Maple. I'm running those wheels on a speedster, after using them on my Runabout for several years. I now use only Hickory. Why spend your time on a substandard product? For me Oak is a no-no. Sometime you can lose a bunch by "saving" a little. Your local hardwood yard can get Hickory.
BTW, I made enough spokes for a set o wheels out of an eight by ten by 8/4 plank. $$$$
Tony, no disrespect, but I think you made a really nice set of trailer wheels or ones for yard art. I hope you make it clear to whomever buys your car or wheels that they are oak. Again, no disrespect intended, JMHO. Dave
For the newbies, here is a rather long older post discussing the merits of Hickory for spokes (and axe handles). The bottom line is that Hickory has the best combination of ultimate strength and toughness (work of fracture). Oak has a high ultimate strength, but a lower "work of fracture", so when it does break it tends to shatter.
If I recall, Osage Orange also has a favorable combination of ultimate strength and toughness.
If you're buying spokes from one of the parts dealers, enough for one wheel will cost you $144 from Snyder's or $126 from Lang's. If you send the metal parts to Noah Stutzman and have him make the wheel, it's $150. When he used to sell separate spokes, they were $72 a wheel.
I don't know the details, but I believe some lamebrain accused Stutzman of making his spokes wrong and he quit selling them separately. A similar thing happened with Dave Nolting, who makes transmission drums. He used to provide the service of installing hubs in original drums. Some clown accused Dave of breaking an original drum in order to sell him a new one. He no longer provides that service. It seems there's always some fool willing to poison the well for everybody.
Yup. That's why I no longer provide plating services.
With Stutzman shipping would be the only question. For me its a no brainer. I live about 3 hrs away. My time is worth more than the difference. If one is not in a hurry, he is on the way for a lot of Hershey bound folks. I bought a set of wheels in Nevada and shipping was more than the wheels. I found a ride with someone going to Hershey through the forum. Very reasonable.
Steve, I am going to Clarida Iowa 3rd week Of Janurary. If I can help let me know.
Dave Seiler from the Orange County Club makes wood spokes and does some very nice wheels.
You may contact him at his shop714=5zero1-7080 in Brea, Ca.
I always thought I would try testing some Vine Maple, locally reputed to be pretty tough. Dave in Bellingham, WA
I have a couple early Cad projects and out of the factory they only used second growth hickory. Of course they were heavier than T's and many others but I don't think wood came any tougher than that.
We always used to marvel and cuss at the Mesquite that was so common in south Texas. It's nearly hard as rock and one small tree will often wear out a new chainsaw blade.
I wonder how it would perform as a Model T spoke.
The stuff is literally everywhere in south Texas and people will pay you to remove it. You'd probably only get one or two spokes out of each tree because they're so small, but gathering 100 bushes would not be a problem.
Almost the same story with Ebony, and it also has the benefit of being naturally almost black in color.
(Message edited by rustyfords on December 11, 2017)
Osage Orange is also rock hard. I made 1 spoke for Ricks a few years ago and It was beautiful. It was almost an impossible to reduce the chunks he brought me to a workable size. There's Osage Orange by the carload in Kansas
Someone once posted a picture of a box of pine spokes at a swap meet for a pretty low price ($1 a piece or something like that?). I don't know the story behind it. Hopefully no one really used them to build a wheel.
That was me.
Took this photo at Hershey years ago on these low cost spokes, didn't ask the vendor about why, just took this photo and walked.....
Hedge (Osage Orange) fence posts still solid after 60+ years. It's not too hard on a saw when it's green, but once it's dried it's mighty tough. My grandfather built the bathroom over hedge logs. A few years ago when installing a new water line I tried to drill through one of them. I burned up three bits. The last one is still stuck in the log. I went around it with a flexible line.
So who supplies the vendors ?
I wish I knew.
We are very lucky to live in the middle of a major furniture manufacturing area and Lang's has contracted a local furniture manufacturer to make our woods spokes to the original Ford drawings out of good quality hickory. So we supply our own spokes.
Interesting wood hardness chart I found online.
Now I'm wanting to find some ebony....the stuff is almost the hardest wood out there. I didn't see Osage on the chart, unless it has another name.
Beware, hardness is not the same as ultimate strength or toughness!
Good point Mark. Too hard might equate to brittleness.
Johnson Wood Wheels,Ardmore OK
I have heard from 😇English Model T folks, that as hickory is not available in Europe, some joker bought hickory axe handles and made two spoke from each. I guess the axe handles were imported from the USA.
I live in Central Texas and have wondered about Mesquite myself being used for spokes. It's pretty much everywhere in various sizes. We have Mequite and Osage orange which is really tough wood. Now that would would make some really good wood for wheels I would think. Maybe somebody has already tried it.
I don't really know how mesquite really falls in the toughness category but running a few off road races there I would guess it is too brittle. When you accidentally get off course and into it, little pieces go everywhere. Am guessing it might not flex enough and fail unpredictably. Not an analysis by any means, just a suspicion.
So far the best price is at Lang's and Johnson's, $10.50 each. Can anybody beat that?
Here in SW Virginia the shagbark hickory is fairly common. My understanding is that Ford Motor Co. would not accept other varieties of hickory. Because of the unique bark appearance, the shagbark hickory is easy to recognize in any season of the year. Since I needed 48 spokes, it was worth my trouble to cut one, dry it, and make them. If you live in an area where the shagbark is native, you might talk with someone who sells firewood. I would insist on seeing the bark, though. I would be sceptical of lumberyards, because many of them believe that hickory is hickory.
Cowan TN in southeast TN was home to grand stands of hickory, and this lumber company used it for Ford orders.
The Davidson, Hicks & Greene sawmill operation was ended in 1928 after having logged, sawed and shipped more than 225,000,000 board feet of southern hardwoods, including 60,000,000 club-turned hickory spokes for Ford "tin lizzies," before the advent of wire and steel flange wheels for automobiles.
I don't want the cheapest spokes. I want the best spokes. If they also happen to be the cheapest, so be it.
Yes, I know that's what you guys want too, just don't let the newbies here think that it's all about the price, and that otherwise, all spokes are equal.
Dan: There was also a company in Cuba that supplied spokes to Ford. I met the grandson of the starter of that company. He said they had a machine that made them, then would ship them to MI. They were making hammer handle blanks just a few years ago. Oh, it was Cuba Alabama. Dan