I'm planning to build my first wheelset as soon as I get a little time (I've got all the parts, not finding the time is my next challenge). To do that, I'm looking for a stand to build/true them in and would like to do it as cheaply as possible.
I've been trolling the craigslist and ebay looking for a used wheel truing stand and so far have had no luck.
I'd rather not use my bike as the stand because:
a) my time is limiting and I think it's going to take a while to get the wheels built up and trued, and I'd like to have my bike ready to ride rather than with zip tie for distance markers on it
and b) my wife wants me to keep my bike down in the garage and do stuff on it down there (which will be cold this winter).
I'm pretty sure I she'd be cool with having a truing stand, some spokes and a wrench or two up in the apartment as they won't take up too much space and is something I can keep out of the way while our daughter is awake and crawling around (and I won't leave the grease everywhere like when I was stupid about things and did repairs up in our last apartment without a drop cloth).
So I'd like to be able to build the wheels in the apartment where it's heated and I can be around the rest of my family.
I've read Sheldon Brown among others who've said they made a truing stand by taking an old fork and putting it in a bench vise (or drilling a 1" hole in their workbench). I currently don't have either a workbench or a vise (or a spare fork), so that looks like it'd cost me maybe $20 for a used straight fork and at least $50 for a minimally decent bench vise. The nice thing about that is then I'd have a vise I could use for other things, but at that point we're getting into the price range of a cheap dedicated truing stand.
So are there any inexpensive (sub $100) truing stands that are decent? Basically, I have one bike, so I'm planning on making this wheelset and keeping it true occasionally as well as truing the wheels for the other bikes in our house. Currently that'd mean just truing the wheels of my wife's old mtb but potentially in the future may include building my wife a wheelset (in addition to building her an entire bike - though this is a bit off in the future for financial reasons as I'd like to build her something nice on the off chance I can convince her to go on long rides with me but currently she's ok on what she has now for her 2 mile commutes to work when she's forgotten something once a month or two). So basically, a stand would see some rather limited use and I can't justify the cost of say the park pro truing stand for such limited use.
Anybody have any suggestions of worthwhile inexpensive truing stands (maybe with links)? Is getting an old fork and a vice the best approach? Or should I not cheap out and just get a decent thing for the specific task at hand?
I had thought about getting a whole park tool repair stand and the add on truing attachment, but most of what I do now I can do without the bike being on a stand (though a stand would definitely make some things easier like a drive train replacement that I also have parts for and will be doing once I have the wheels done and the new cassette on so I know how long to make the chain). But in the end that was looking to cost in the area of $200+ and our family income is about to take a (hopefully temoporary) decrease, so I'd like to do something cheaper than that.
tl,dr version: Looking for suggestions for a decent, inexpensive truing stand if there is such a thing.