I've built up a couple dozen vintage 3-speed, comfort bike, and similar utility and cross-bike wheelsets and am starting to feel fairly confident in my wheel-building ability.
But i am about to tackle a more modern road-bike type build with 32-spokes. Technically building the wheel itself isn't going to be any different with one less set of 4 spokes, but choosing the right spokes and the right cross pattern is starting to push my comfort zone so I would like a little bit of input here.
I'm going 32 spokes because I picked up a great deal on a used 32h cassette hub and an SRAM dynohub with optional disc mounts in 32h for the front. Too good of a deal to pass up although I would probably have gone 36-hole if all other things were equal for a stronger build. I'm not a weight weenie -I'm a $ weenie and I'm saving a bunch using these two hubs.
Since I'm not too concerned about weight I am certainly going with a conventional 3-cross front and rear just to be sure I've got a strong wheel that will not torsion under load from the drive or the front disc brake if i ever upgrade to that. The Dynohub having a disc mount was just a pleasant surprise that I don't need right now but maybe someday I will upgrade to a disc. Did I say I got a really good bargain on this hub? The disc mounts can hide under the boot for now.
For spokes I was thinking going with double-butted 2.0/1.8/2.0 or maybe just straight-gauge 2.0 -I know that double-butted are stronger but I"m not sure the person I buy my spokes from does double-butted spokes as they are hand-cut. Are single-butted 2.0/1.8 better than straight 2.0? I don't want to pay $1/spoke prices so it will be what my guy can get me. My first choice would be double-butted but if that isn't possible I'm not sure if I should just go 2.0 straight-gauge spokes or go 2.0/1.8 single-butted spokes. Maybe even 2.3/2.0 butted spokes would be best if I couldn't get 2.0/1.8/2.0 double-butted.
I'm 200lbs and this is going to be for a recreational country road bike and general riding in longer rides where my slow comfort bike just isn't light or quick enough. No racing or stuff like that is in my near future. Rims are Sun CR-18's front and back. I'm shooting for a <30lb steel-framed day-tripper distance bike and not really a touring bike carrying a lot of weight.