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Old 11-16-07, 11:35 PM   #1
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Good hub, bad rim- best way to separate the two?

I found a 26" 32-spoke wheel with a brushed silver USA-made GT hub this afternoon at the thrift store for $5.00. I have an unbuilt matching rear hub, so I'm going to have them built into a 700c CX wheelset. The wheel already has one broken spoke and the rim doesn't look like it's in very good shape, but the hub's in great shape and the spoke holes look fine. Can I just take some needle-nose pliers and cut the old spokes, or will I risk damaging the spoke holes on the hub by doing it this way? I know how to use a spoke wrench, but don't own one. If it IS safe to just cut the spokes, is there any order I should follow (one side, then the other, for example)?

Thanks in advance, and any info on the hubs would be greatly appreciated- they look pretty much like this one, except they're made in the US.
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Old 11-17-07, 12:11 AM   #2
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Just cut away in the middle of the spokes, working your way around- wear eye protection and lay the wheel down away from you so the nipple ends of the spokes don't come flying out of the rim and hit you or someone else. This can happen until most of the tension is relieved from the wheel, which will be when you're nearing halfway around. Leaving the rim strip on or wrapping with strong tape can help contain the spoke ends. Most common pliers/side cutters are a bit weak to deal with the stainless so you may have to work it. I use high leverage hardened side cutters for this. Also, some of the Vice Grip pliers have OK cutters built in.
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Old 11-17-07, 12:15 AM   #3
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Thanks! I'll start on it first thing in the morning. I won't have any problems with the spoke flying out- the tire is still on the wheel. I'll wear the goggles anyhow, as Murphy seems to live right next door, or pretty close.
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Old 11-17-07, 08:27 AM   #4
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Even if you have to use a pair of pliers or a Vise-Grip as a spoke wrench, I'd loosen the nipples a turn or two all around before cutting the spokes. It's safer and easier on the hub flanges.

BTW, Murphy doesn't live next door, he lives in the same room you do.
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Old 11-17-07, 09:40 AM   #5
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I might be too conservative (i.e. I like to keep my stuff), but I think spokes are made of some rather strong steel, and cutting some 30 or so of them might cause considerable wear to any tool you might have. I would just unscrew the nipples with a screwdriver, if I were you.
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Old 11-17-07, 09:49 AM   #6
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Very seriously, unless you are dying to build a wheel, you can pick up pre-built something from Performance (or similar) for less money.

-Z
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Old 11-17-07, 10:51 AM   #7
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I might be too conservative (i.e. I like to keep my stuff), but I think spokes are made of some rather strong steel, and cutting some 30 or so of them might cause considerable wear to any tool you might have. I would just unscrew the nipples with a screwdriver, if I were you.
Usually stainless steel, to be exact.

Good point, yes, very hard on the cutting tool. Thats why I use these Klein cutters, high-leverage and hardened jaws:
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Old 11-17-07, 11:10 AM   #8
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I might be too conservative (i.e. I like to keep my stuff), but I think spokes are made of some rather strong steel, and cutting some 30 or so of them might cause considerable wear to any tool you might have. I would just unscrew the nipples with a screwdriver, if I were you.
We use a big pair of bolt cutters at the shop
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Old 11-17-07, 11:33 AM   #9
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I have cut about 1800 spokes in a day with a single tool already worn, and is sill works the same as before. Also if you cut the spokes as close to the hub as possible, it makes removing them a whole lot easier.
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Old 11-17-07, 12:16 PM   #10
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+1 on cutting spokes close to hub. then you have 1/2 to 1" stubs to wiggle out of the hub, not 6" things you have to untangle.

also, put the rim over a garbage can and "aim" the spoke you're cutting downward. the spokes shoot down unless you have a rim strip or tire glue holding it in place.

+1 on cutting a lot of spokes using that pictured tool or something similar (wire cutter as part of pliers, for example - what else will you cut with that?). whatever you do, do NOT cut using cable cutters (shimano, park, etc).

put the spoke as close to the pivot of the wire cutter as possible - i.e. as far down the "V" of the cutting edges. it's really not too hard to cut like that.

I'd recommend wearing gloves, the shock of cutting spokes will make your hand tingle after you cut a bunch of them.

never cut even close to 1800 spokes in a day,
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Old 11-18-07, 09:28 AM   #11
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+1 on cutting spokes close to hub. then you have 1/2 to 1" stubs to wiggle out of the hub, not 6" things you have to untangle.

also, put the rim over a garbage can and "aim" the spoke you're cutting downward. the spokes shoot down unless you have a rim strip or tire glue holding it in place.

+1 on cutting a lot of spokes using that pictured tool or something similar (wire cutter as part of pliers, for example - what else will you cut with that?). whatever you do, do NOT cut using cable cutters (shimano, park, etc).

put the spoke as close to the pivot of the wire cutter as possible - i.e. as far down the "V" of the cutting edges. it's really not too hard to cut like that.

I'd recommend wearing gloves, the shock of cutting spokes will make your hand tingle after you cut a bunch of them.

never cut even close to 1800 spokes in a day,
cdr
Cutting a tensioned spoke...at least the first few...is very hard on the hub flanges. The energy released has to go somewhere and it goes right into the hub flange. The aluminum can fracture which may cause problems later. Better to detension the wheel to the point where the spokes are very loose and then cut.
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Old 11-18-07, 09:55 AM   #12
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I just use my good old electricians Klein sidecutters. Never hurt them yet. Maybe if the spokes had current running through them.
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Old 11-18-07, 11:34 AM   #13
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Its amazing, a simple task and so many ways! I agree use cutters, cutting close to the hub. I always save a few spokes, sort of just incase I need one of that size, and for the memories.
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Old 11-18-07, 11:52 AM   #14
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Usually stainless steel, to be exact.

Good point, yes, very hard on the cutting tool. Thats why I use these Klein cutters, high-leverage and hardened jaws:

i'm an electrician and those are what i use. the red handles are cheaper and softer. i use the blues handled (as pictured) that are curved for pulling staples and install the hi-leverage grips.

i cut through a small master lock the other day with no problem....better leave me the key next time .

the only way to damage these pliers is by cutting through a live wire and touching a ground. then you have an expensive pair of wire strippers .

ed rader
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Old 11-18-07, 12:48 PM   #15
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I know the OP implied that this hub was a front, but I just wanted to mention that if you are cutting spokes or even gently removing the rim on an older REAR hub, always remove the freewheel first. It is possible to get one off if you've already removed the hub from the rim, but I wouldn't recommend it. Cassettes are a little easier, if you have two chainwhips (for older cassettes) or 1 chainwhip and a cassette tool (for newer ones).
Not that I've ever done such a thing...
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Old 11-18-07, 02:58 PM   #16
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i'm an electrician and those are what i use. the red handles are cheaper and softer. i use the blues handled (as pictured) that are curved for pulling staples and install the hi-leverage grips.

i cut through a small master lock the other day with no problem....better leave me the key next time .

the only way to damage these pliers is by cutting through a live wire and touching a ground. then you have an expensive pair of wire strippers .

ed rader
I'm not an electrician but a remodel carpenter. And, yes, I've 'blown up' a couple of these as you describe. But they are excellent cutters and you can cut nails all day long with 'em. The curve/offset is very handy. Maybe I should pick up the grips for 'em.
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Old 11-18-07, 03:03 PM   #17
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I know the OP implied that this hub was a front, but I just wanted to mention that if you are cutting spokes or even gently removing the rim on an older REAR hub, always remove the freewheel first. It is possible to get one off if you've already removed the hub from the rim, but I wouldn't recommend it. Cassettes are a little easier, if you have two chainwhips (for older cassettes) or 1 chainwhip and a cassette tool (for newer ones).
Not that I've ever done such a thing...
As one gets to wrenching more, seems almost a rite of passage to make this mistake. Yes, I've done it ONCE.

In trim carpentry the similar DOH! is to nail a pocket door open when installing trim. I've done THAT one a half dozen times.
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Old 11-18-07, 03:08 PM   #18
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Works just fine for me.
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Old 11-18-07, 03:15 PM   #19
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Works just fine for me.
Didn't think of the ol' spark-maker. Good suggestion!
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Old 11-18-07, 04:05 PM   #20
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As one gets to wrenching more, seems almost a rite of passage to make this mistake. Yes, I've done it ONCE.

In trim carpentry the similar DOH! is to nail a pocket door open when installing trim. I've done THAT one a half dozen times.
In automotive work the same "rite of passage" is forgetting to reinstall the oil pan bolt when changing oil.
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Old 11-18-07, 04:36 PM   #21
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In automotive work the same "rite of passage" is forgetting to reinstall the oil pan bolt when changing oil.
DOH!
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Old 11-18-07, 11:24 PM   #22
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I'm with cyccommute. I'd loosen them a couple turns first before cutting them, It might take 10 minutes longer, but why take a chance? You can probably use a screwdiver but whats the story with not having a spoke wrench? how are you going to build your wheel?
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Old 11-19-07, 05:49 AM   #23
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As one gets to wrenching more, seems almost a rite of passage to make this mistake. Yes, I've done it ONCE.

In trim carpentry the similar DOH! is to nail a pocket door open when installing trim. I've done THAT one a half dozen times.
OMG! I felt like such a bonehead when I did that last year after installing a beadboard wainscot for my wife.

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Old 11-19-07, 09:18 AM   #24
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Never have worried about detensioning them. I just cut everyother one all the way around. BE SURE TO POINT RIM IN A SAFE DIRRECTION. I usually rest it over the trash can to catch the projectiles.
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Old 11-19-07, 09:51 AM   #25
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Why would you cut the spokes? I just unscrew all the nipples, wrap them and the spokes up in a bundle, and put them in the 'used spokes' box. It's not a lot of work. When I need a spoke, I often find the one I need in that box. A couple times I've had my LBS cut them down and rethread them when I needed to lace up a small wheel.
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