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Wood spoke wheels


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Boiled linseed oil is one thing that will swell the spokes but if they are loose the correct repair is to respoke them.  Horseshoe shaped shims between the spoke and the felloe is probably the worst solution.  Any use with loose spokes makes them looser.  Once the wood dries out and gets worn there is no repair other than new spokes.

I find it funny how many people have a problem with loose spokes when I have put 400,000 miles on my Grandfathers 99,000 mile Pontiac with Jaxon wheels and have never had a problem even though one back wheel has a spoke that has had a check in it since 1937.

Actually when you consider how many wood wheels are out there they really do last quite well.  I think sitting, unused in a heated garage is probably the worst condition possible for wood artillery wheels.

 

Good luck with your wheels.

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8 minutes ago, Tinindian said:

Boiled linseed oil is one thing that will swell the spokes but if they are loose the correct repair is to respoke them.  Horseshoe shaped shims between the spoke and the felloe is probably the worst solution.  Any use with loose spokes makes them looser.  Once the wood dries out and gets worn there is no repair other than new spokes.

I find it funny how many people have a problem with loose spokes when I have put 400,000 miles on my Grandfathers 99,000 mile Pontiac with Jaxon wheels and have never had a problem even though one back wheel has a spoke that has had a check in it since 1937.

Actually when you consider how many wood wheels are out there they really do last quite well.  I think sitting, unused in a heated garage is probably the worst condition possible for wood artillery wheels.

 

Good luck with your wheels.

Correct on the rebuild statement above - the wood in spoked wheels is very dense hickory, second growth normally.  While it is some what subject to changes in humidity, the wood changes very little dimensionally due to moisture content, or lack thereof.  When they loosen up, most often it's not something you can repair by soaking with oil, or taking with you into the shower.  If you drive the car, the wheels should be respoked.  There are a number of places that will rebuild your wooden wheels, and it is surprisingly not a bank-breaker to do them.

Terry

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If you need to tighten a wheel? It should be tightened from the center out. The spokes should be shimmed out from the hub, and as much as needed between a few spokes to make that tight. The tenons NEED to be pushed into the felloe, otherwise they will work and wear loose again in not many miles. If the tenons are loose much at all, metal shims around the tenon can help. However, if the tenons are very worn? The only safe repair is new spokes!

Today we have a reasonable option of fairly priced re-spoking of wheels by several different wheelwrights from coast to coast. Most of them are quite good.

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Dried out or unpainted wheels need raw linseed oil . The boiled will harden and seal pores . You need to continually add raw until will not absorb any more . That should swell wood best it will get for years . unless baked out in sun .  It is also going to darken color , but can be painted over with oil based paint .

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5 hours ago, nickelroadster said:

There is a product called "chair lock" that is designed to use on wooden chairs.  It will tighten spokes real well.

Wouldn't the stresses on a wooden wheel be far higher, and different, to those a wooden chair undergoes? 🤔

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Lots of home remedies and "old wives tales" on this topic, but don't think those tight grain hickory wheels have any sponge-like ability to soak up enough of anything to make them swell, that is unless they are already so dry-rotted they are dangerous. Loose spokes are like surface rust. It's a symptom of other underlying issues. Your life is at stake here so don't ever "CHEAP OUT" on your wheels. Get them redone.  Take a look at previous discussions on the Model T Ford club discussion forums.

Terry

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