In beaurocratic limbo
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Bikes: Specialized Allez, K2 Razorback
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Building them costs more than machine built wheels, but you get to choose the specs of your wheels, and the satisfaction of a job well done, like you said.
The Park tension meter should be fine. They make great tools. I have built many wheels and have never used a tension meter, though. I use pitch, which seems to have built many strong wheels for me. The only exception is when I used really thin spokes, and didn't realize the tension would seem different. Just don't try to do some super duper lightweight spoke, it's not worth the risk... says my shoulder.