wheelbuilding with arup

These tips are now part of the method_two page

The Tips Page

In addition to the main method page there are other little tips and tricks that I have been gathering along the way and I wanted to list them here to share them with you. I hope they will be useful.

Oiling the Threads

In the method page I mention the idea of oiling the ends of the spokes along the threads so that they will move easily in the nipple. This is good for when you are nearing full tension and make the nipple easier to turn.

The other place to oil would be around the nipple, so that the contact between the nipple and the hole in the rim is lubricated. This again would make it easier to turn when you get close to full tension.

If you are doing radial lacing, then you should not oil the ends of the spokes because in this spoking pattern they are more likely to work loose especially if they are lubricated. Some wheel builders recommend using linseed oil here as it becomes hard or use spoke prep.

Getting the Valve Hole Correct

Using my 3-cross pre-cross method I have noticed that sometimes I seem to get the valve hole in the wrong place. There should be no crossing under the valve hole. If I get this wrong, then the only way to remedy it is to remove all the spokes on one side move them one hole along. Obviously you want to avoid having to do this. So here's my tip.

Before you put in all the spokes on each side, just put 4 pairs each side. Just enough for a few crosses. Then with the heads out spokes pointing to the right, the one nearest you should be further to the right.

Did you follow that? That means the head of the spoke is on the outside of the hub spoke hole. Hold the hub perpendicular to you. The tip points to the right. Cross and tie the few pairs and hold the rim in place. Should work. Saves you having to take it all apart.

Seating the Spoke Heads

This one comes from Gerd Schraner's book. Once you have laced the wheel and added a little bit of tension you can seat the spoke heads into the hub holes using a centre punch.

For whatever reason sometimes a few spokes would not be seated completely in their holes. I would try and push them with my finger or tap them a bit with the nipple wrench, but that would be it. No more. Now I hammer each one all the way home. Gently does it though.

More Accurate Initial Tension

I have been using my spoke tensiometer, the Park Tools TM-1, towards the end of the build. But I realised that the reason for having it and using it was to take the guesswork out of getting the spoke tension correct.

The point at which the spoke tension is starting to pull on the rim is what I call Initial Tension. It’s where the wire becomes taut. But I have been doing this by feel. What I have discovered using the tensiometer is that there can be quite large discrepancies between spokes which I might consider to be of fairly even tension. It is a slow process but saves time and effort in the later stages. First I do it by feel as before and then check each spoke individually with the tensiometer. My feel is not all that bad and I need only tighten or loosen about a third of them.

My wheels have improved since I have started working this way and I can get a more even tension with a lot less effort.

I have read that some say that at such low tension levels the tension measurements can be inaccurate. But that is not the point here. It’s just to give you a rough guide. But more accurate than just by feel.

Lateral Truing Creates Dish

Here is a method that I use to true a wheel laterally and set the dish at the same time. After the lacing has been done and the initial tension has been reached I do some basic roundness adjustments and then true the wheel laterally but only to within about 2mm. I call this rough lateral truing and it is accurate enough to work on the dish. Using the dishing gauge I can see which way the rim needs to move. That means that all the nipples on one side are tightened by a quarter turn or a half turn. I usually do it in quarter turn increments. Then check the dish again. When it's almost there i.e. one more quarter turn will give a perfect dish, I stop. I continue to tighten the spokes that I would have tightened to set the dish but now to improve the lateral truing instead. And in this way the lateral truing creates the dish and I am able to do both at the same time.

Why do I favour this over getting the dish correct first and then refining the lateral truing? Because once the dish is in place I would need to keep flipping the wheel over and over again to make sure that the dish is maintained. Using the method above avoids this to a certain extent and also saves time and effort.