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  1. #1
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    re- threading old spokes...

    As Fatty Chrimbo never dropped off a new Pinarello on his way past my house (perhaps the sled's brakes didn't work) I'll have to continue rebuilding my old bike. As I mentioned earlier I intend to fit new 700c rims to replace the sprint rims. I've bought the rims and the existing spokes are a tad or two too long. I know I'll probably be browbeaten into buying new spokes, but being tight I wondered if it is worth cutting them down and re-threading them? Is it easy to do (72 stainless) or am I dreaming? And a Happy New Year to all my readers.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Take to an LBS that has a Phil Wood, Morizumi or Kowa spoke cutting and thread rolling machine. It's best to keep the reduction to 2mm or larger.

    Usually trying to do only 1mm reduction and threading is problematic.

    Phil can do it - just the end user needs to be certain they thoroughly clean the work recess of the bits before take down, cleaning and reassembly. Else they get mashed between the body parts. They can also jam the flipper.

    The Kowa can do it - however the cutter hole gets filled by the 1mm piece left behind requiring a firmer snap of the next spoke in order to cut the next spoke AND clear the old piece. The cycle repeats itself for the next pair of spokes in order. The nice thing though is the Kowa picks up the existing leftover threads extraordinarily well.

    Try to see if a 2mm reduction minimum is doable for this job - it'll be easier for the mechanic to handle than a 1mm reduction.

    Can't comment on the in's / out's of this in regard to the Morizumi even though it's similar to the Kowa..

    =8-)
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    It's pretty easy to do. My LBS does this for almost all their spoke sales of regular straight-gauge. They just stock one long length and cut them to size as needed. Last time I needed a spoke it was just $.50 and I presume it'd be cheaper if you supplied the spoke, esp. in quantity.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    It's pretty easy to do. My LBS does this for almost all their spoke sales of regular straight-gauge. They just stock one long length and cut them to size as needed. Last time I needed a spoke it was just $.50 and I presume it'd be cheaper if you supplied the spoke, esp. in quantity.
    The OP's inquiry was specifically to cutting down the existing spokes a small amount...but he did allow a license for brow-beating.

    =8-)
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    Disclaimer:

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    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
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    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  5. #5
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    if the spokes are in good shape then it won't be too much to cut and thread spokes. i charged 10 bucks to do 32 of em. we don't have a set charge as it is not a common request. custom cut spokes purchased from us have the labor set in the price of the spoke

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Hozan has a thread rolling tool bench vise held, but not really made to make whole sets.

    We make 1 or 2 when a bike tourist with broken spokes needs a couple.. and no ready made is right.
    Phil Wood co's spoke roller is a make a lot, tool. costs significantly..

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    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Take to an LBS that has a Phil Wood, Morizumi or Kowa spoke cutting and thread rolling machine. It's best to keep the reduction to 2mm or larger.

    Usually trying to do only 1mm reduction and threading is problematic.

    Phil can do it - just the end user needs to be certain they thoroughly clean the work recess of the bits before take down, cleaning and reassembly. Else they get mashed between the body parts. They can also jam the flipper.

    The Kowa can do it - however the cutter hole gets filled by the 1mm piece left behind requiring a firmer snap of the next spoke in order to cut the next spoke AND clear the old piece. The cycle repeats itself for the next pair of spokes in order. The nice thing though is the Kowa picks up the existing leftover threads extraordinarily well.

    Try to see if a 2mm reduction minimum is doable for this job - it'll be easier for the mechanic to handle than a 1mm reduction.

    Can't comment on the in's / out's of this in regard to the Morizumi even though it's similar to the Kowa..

    =8-)
    I just took delivery of a new Morizumi machine and got it set up today. The first thing I wanted to try was to see if the dies would pick up a partial thread, so I cut about 5mm off a spoke and ran it through. Pleased to report it worked just fine. I'll have to try shortening by one or two mm to see if it works as well.
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  8. #8
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    Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it makes sense. If you go to a shop to have these cut and threaded, especially for a small trim cut of 2mm or so, I expect that the labor charge will be fairly close to the price of new plain gauge spokes, and maybe about 1/2 the price of butted spokes.

    So given that the savings isn't all that much, doesn't make more sense to start fresh?

    Of course the answer would be different if you owned a threading machine, or were a member of a co-op with one, so the only cost of cutting would be your time.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 12-27-12 at 08:05 PM.
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  9. #9
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it makes sense. If you go to a shop to have these cut and threaded, especially for a small trim cut of 2mm or so, I expect that the labor charge will be fairly close to the price of new plain gauge spokes, and maybe 12 or more the price of buted spokes.

    So given that the savings isn't all that much, dosn't make more sense to start fresh?

    Of course the answer would be different if you owned a threading machine, or were a member of a co-op with one, so the only cost of cuting would be your time.
    +1
    I'm all for saving a buck, but there are times it just makes sense to replace. New spokes and nipples are about $1 for straight gauge, rethreading isn't likely to be significantly cheaper.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    +1
    I'm all for saving a buck, but there are times it just makes sense to replace. New spokes and nipples are about $1 for straight gauge, rethreading isn't likely to be significantly cheaper.
    ...especially when you walk in with the exact amount from the original wheel or an exact amount for a new set - when the spoke machine operator would like to see a few extras just in case.

    Accidents do happen...

    I for one ask my customers to always have spares - used or new. I don't want to be the one who says, "Well I successfully got 35/36."

    It's like saying, "I nailed 99 out of 100 landings."

    =8-)
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    Disclaimer:

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  11. #11
    I like cats. ericoseveins's Avatar
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    It's really easy to do. The Hozan tool is actually probably better and easier than a Morizumi/Phil/whatever for the purpose of just extending the existing threads a little bit, although there's a bit of a learning curve in using the Hozan. It's ~22 rotations of the crank for every cm of threaded spoke, so just figure out by how much you want to extend it and count.

    Little trick with the Hozan, I find it easier not to clamp it in a vise, even though it has a mount specifically for that. Instead I use a hand on each side of the tool to help all the rollers engage a spoke, then after that they each help each other move forward on the spoke. Otherwise sometimes you can get stuck rolling in a circle if only one or two rollers engage. I usually cut new spokes to my desired length as a group, then bevel them all with a Dremel as a group. But if I'm just extending or chasing existing threads, I don't even bother to bevel them since the existing thread will help all the rollers engage. And generous amounts of cutting fluid as always.

    Yeah, I suppose it doesn't cost much to buy another set of spokes, but there's no guarantee that the person cutting the new set is going to do a better job with the next set than this one.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericoseveins View Post
    It's really easy to do. The Hozan tool is actually probably better and easier than a Morizumi/Phil/whatever for the purpose of just extending the existing threads a little bit, although there's a bit of a learning curve in using the Hozan. It's ~22 rotations of the crank for every cm of threaded spoke, so just figure out by how much you want to extend it and count.

    Little trick with the Hozan, I find it easier not to clamp it in a vise, even though it has a mount specifically for that. Instead I use a hand on each side of the tool to help all the rollers engage a spoke, then after that they each help each other move forward on the spoke. Otherwise sometimes you can get stuck rolling in a circle if only one or two rollers engage. I usually cut new spokes to my desired length as a group, then bevel them all with a Dremel as a group. But if I'm just extending or chasing existing threads, I don't even bother to bevel them since the existing thread will help all the rollers engage. And generous amounts of cutting fluid as always.

    Yeah, I suppose it doesn't cost much to buy another set of spokes, but there's no guarantee that the person cutting the new set is going to do a better job with the next set than this one.
    You aren't familiar with spoke machines are you?

    =8-)
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    Disclaimer:

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    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
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    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  13. #13
    I like cats. ericoseveins's Avatar
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    It's true, I can't claim to be as familiar with them as you are with your own anus, but it's a high standard you've set. : )

    Oh, internet ******ry, how I've missed you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aljohn View Post
    As Fatty Chrimbo never dropped off a new Pinarello on his way past my house (perhaps the sled's brakes didn't work) I'll have to continue rebuilding my old bike. As I mentioned earlier I intend to fit new 700c rims to replace the sprint rims. I've bought the rims and the existing spokes are a tad or two too long. I know I'll probably be browbeaten into buying new spokes, but being tight I wondered if it is worth cutting them down and re-threading them? Is it easy to do (72 stainless) or am I dreaming? And a Happy New Year to all my readers.
    The Hozan is the cheapest spoke-threading device there is, and it costs $200+. And over the last year people have complained about Hozan not having replacement rollers in stock, which do wear out.
    The Phil Wood has a great reputation, but costs $2500-$3000+.
    How many spokes did you need to make again?...

    ------

    Bicycle spokes use rolled threads, not threads that are cut using a die.

    The technical necessity of the spoke threads being rolled is debatable, but one thing that is certain is that a normal hand-operated die will not cut threads longer than about 2 or 3 diameters at best before it begins to wander off-center and jams. No matter how square you start it, it isn't going to go straight for long. Bicycle spokes I've seen appeared to be threaded 4+ diameters.

    You can also cut threads using a single-point tool in a lathe, but here again will not work for bicycle spokes, since they aren't really stiff enough for that.

    A thread rolling machine squeezes the rod between three rollers, and this means that the rod being threaded always stays perfectly centered and the "wandering-off-center" issue you have with a cutting die is totally absent. Any length of threads can be formed this way: the 6-foot pieces of allthread rod that the hardware stores sell is rolled, not cut with a die. You can also form really tiny sizes easily this way, since the rod doesn't need to be particularly stiff.



    If you are just wanting to clean up spoke threads, the thread size is #2-56 TPI. You can buy these dies online for $7, and a wrench to hold the die for a few bucks more. And yes it should cut threads, but probably not well.
    ,,,,,
    If you had machine tools at your disposal, it *might* be possible to build a little machine that held the spoke PERFECTLY straight & centered while the die turned PERFECTLY around the spoke--but this ain't gonna work doing it by hand.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    You can get the Hozan tool for $145 from some place back east. Also shows up on fleabay around $50-75. I've got a brand-new unused one if anyone offers $100+shipping.

    I've cut several thousand spokes on one back when I was a student building wheels for the university team. It does work well if you leave 2-3 of the existing threads as a guide when cutting down spokes. With bare spokes, you'll want to bevel the ends by about 1mm to help the rollers work up gradually. Otherwise, you may roll a ring that connects with itself. You're trading muscle and time for low-cost and you can do a set of spokes for 2-wheels in about 30-40 minutes.

    We had a Phil tool at local wheel-building shop where I helped out occasionally. That tool is very powerful! However, it doesn't care about existing threads and will start its own threads when and where it wants. Looking closely with a magnifying glass, sometimes you can see existing threads split in half by the Phil tool at the ends before it re-forms them to new full-threads. So it's best to feed the Phil tool bare spokes. Can do spokes for 2-wheels in about 10-15 minutes.

    In the OP's case, if it's just 2mm, I'd just trim the ends off on a grinder and slightly bevel the ends so there's no fragments. Much easier than re-treading with any tool.

    BTW, there's a cutting die, such as with a tap & die set. And there's also rolling dies, used to roll threads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post

    ------

    Bicycle spokes use rolled threads, not threads that are cut using a die...
    So far so good, then you wander off into the realm of BS.

    There's no debate about the comparative virtues of cut vs. rolled threads in general, or specifically for spokes. Mechanically one major advantage of rolled threads is a closer ratio between the thread's root diameter and the shank diameter. This becomes a very significant difference when the thread depth is large compared to the thread diameter -- as in spokes.

    The other advantage is speed of production. Probably 90% or more of all threaded fasteners are produced with rolled threads. In many cases this isn't due to mechanical or functional considerations, but because the speed of flat to round thread forming dies, which create a thread of any length in a few turns of the blank. Combined with cold heading, this produces fasteners with virtually zero scrap, and so is vastly more efficient --aka cheaper.

    As for dies not running true, more male cow pattys. Once a die is established running true on a thread, it'll stay true indefinitely. The forces on dies are such that they tend to move towards trueness, rather than away from it. The same applies to taps.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 12-28-12 at 05:53 PM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericoseveins View Post
    It's true, I can't claim to be as familiar with them as you are with your own anus, but it's a high standard you've set. : )

    Oh, internet ******ry, how I've missed you.

    Ericoseveins:

    If you had any familiarity with the noted spoke machines, you would not have said:

    "The Hozan tool is actually probably better and easier than a Morizumi/Phil/whatever for the purpose of just extending the existing threads a little bit"

    The speed at which the machines get it done is faster than you can say "Ho" in Hozan...


    DannoXYZ:

    If the Phil really was doing that, I bet the dies were set a little too tight or slightly off alignment on an older machine. From memory, when rolling a fresh spoke through - did the ends feel very hot after exiting the back?.


    So far, great thread...we went from anus to BS to male cow patties!


    =8-)
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    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  18. #18
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    You can get the Hozan tool for $145 from some place back east. Also shows up on fleabay around $50-75. I've got a brand-new unused one if anyone offers $100+shipping.

    I've cut several thousand spokes on one back when I was a student building wheels for the university team. It does work well if you leave 2-3 of the existing threads as a guide when cutting down spokes. With bare spokes, you'll want to bevel the ends by about 1mm to help the rollers work up gradually. Otherwise, you may roll a ring that connects with itself. You're trading muscle and time for low-cost and you can do a set of spokes for 2-wheels in about 30-40 minutes.

    We had a Phil tool at local wheel-building shop where I helped out occasionally. That tool is very powerful! However, it doesn't care about existing threads and will start its own threads when and where it wants. Looking closely with a magnifying glass, sometimes you can see existing threads split in half by the Phil tool at the ends before it re-forms them to new full-threads. So it's best to feed the Phil tool bare spokes. Can do spokes for 2-wheels in about 10-15 minutes.

    In the OP's case, if it's just 2mm, I'd just trim the ends off on a grinder and slightly bevel the ends so there's no fragments. Much easier than re-treading with any tool.

    BTW, there's a cutting die, such as with a tap & die set. And there's also rolling dies, used to roll threads.
    I've custom cut spokes for many entire wheels using my Hozan threader, and used it to complete the set for builds when I was a few short of the proper length. It is very labour intensive though, and getting spokes consistent in length is a challenge. Not to mention a set of rolling dies only lasts a few wheel sets worth. (When replacing dies on the Hozan, always ensure you get the ones for SS spokes.)
    A pro quality spoke threader has been on my wish list for a long time, so after much consideration, and comparing options, I went for the Morizumi. Like I said before, I test ran a spoke with about half the threading cut off, and it seems to have picked up the original threads perfectly.
    In this demo video by Ric Hjertberg, he cuts 274mm spokes to 269mm, which would mean he has at least 4mm of thread left, although he makes no mention of that fact. He just makes it sound routine.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


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  19. #19
    I like cats. ericoseveins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    The speed at which the machines get it done is faster than you can say "Ho" in Hozan...
    Uh, right, because that's exactly what the OP was asking about. No question that a Morizumi would be a better tool of choice for cutting and threading a lot of bare spokes quickly. It's a great tool. For the OP's specific job - extending existing threads by a short amount - the Hozan is actually more appropriate. Extending threads by 1 mm or less is easy with the Hozan tool, because it's two full turns of the crank, and there's less concern for damaging the existing threads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericoseveins View Post
    Uh, right, because that's exactly what the OP was asking about.
    I suspect that all this debate about the various machines is moot as far as the OP is concerned. If he's looking at a decision between cutting and reusing 72 spokes vs buying new, no machine is cost justified. He'll be paying someone else to do the job, and has no reason to care what machine they use.
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    Retro Grouch onespeedbiker's Avatar
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    I had some spokes cut and re-threaded at an LBS and it was a disaster. Apparently they had a Phil Wood machine but no one really knew how the use it. The first 36 15g spokes were to be cut by about 5mm, but the operator used a 14g die so the the threads were barely there (they eventually replaced these with new spokes, but not until I returned them). The next 36 spokes were 2 mm apart and 18 needed to have the previous threads picked up; they used the right die, but the threads varied in length, so it was a real chore to even up the tension from the start.This may not be the norm but keep in mind what you are asking is outside the norm of some LBS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
    This may not be the norm but keep in mind what you are asking is outside the norm of some LBS.
    I'd expect that a shop that spends upwards of $2k on a tool would know how to use it. However it's possible you ran into an employee who was more interested in trying to please, than knowing the limits of his knowledge. This is fairly common, years ago most shops had to keep the various cutting tools used in frame prep under lock and key.

    Anyway 15g spokes are fairly rare, and I wouldn't be surprised if half the shop rats wouldn't notice if you didn't mention it. As for the length issue, the length stop on the Phil needs a bit of touch to produce consistent sizes.

    I own a Phil machine (early serial#) and yet prefer to stock the 10% of sizes that I use 90% of the time. The Phil machine is for the 90% of the sizes that I only use 10% of the time. There's little or no discount for blank spokes vs cut and threaded ones, so hand threading all spokes is simply an unnecessary expense in time.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
    I had some spokes cut and re-threaded at an LBS and it was a disaster. Apparently they had a Phil Wood machine but no one really knew how the use it. The first 36 15g spokes were to be cut by about 5mm, but the operator used a 14g die so the the threads were barely there (they eventually replaced these with new spokes, but not until I returned them). The next 36 spokes were 2 mm apart and 18 needed to have the previous threads picked up; they used the right die, but the threads varied in length, so it was a real chore to even up the tension from the start.This may not be the norm but keep in mind what you are asking is outside the norm of some LBS.
    Many folks who own the Phil Wood machine really don't know how to use it - even moreso - change its setting or do any custom mods with it.

    It's primarily because they really do not understand how it works beyond the basic principle.

    I know two owners - one who has never reset his machine - another who has only started to do so within the last two years after going twenty years without a reset.

    They fear changing to 15g - and getting it right - and then fear even moreso not being able to get it back to 14g correctly. They find it intimidating...

    One wasn't even aware of the manual method of long-threading a spoke on old Phil Wood machines - and they're the owner of one of the first hundred machines made that have large dies and lots of slack that allows for 16mm worth of threading.

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  24. #24
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    I've custom cut spokes for many entire wheels using my Hozan threader, and used it to complete the set for builds when I was a few short of the proper length. It is very labour intensive though, and getting spokes consistent in length is a challenge. Not to mention a set of rolling dies only lasts a few wheel sets worth. (When replacing dies on the Hozan, always ensure you get the ones for SS spokes.)
    A pro quality spoke threader has been on my wish list for a long time, so after much consideration, and comparing options, I went for the Morizumi. Like I said before, I test ran a spoke with about half the threading cut off, and it seems to have picked up the original threads perfectly.
    In this demo video by Ric Hjertberg, he cuts 274mm spokes to 269mm, which would mean he has at least 4mm of thread left, although he makes no mention of that fact. He just makes it sound routine.
    You could have gotten the similar Kowa for a thousand less...more suited for a single operator shop or home environment - but not multi-user / multi-personality use without considerable training.

    Which environment is yours?

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  25. #25
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Hey Dan,

    Another question...

    The piece that it responsible for limiting spoke insertion before thread rolling - in your opinion - does it appear to be reversible thereby allowing for longer threading such as 12mm, 13mm or even up to 16mm threading?

    Just curious, as mine on the Kowa can be turned 180 degrees for 13.2mm of threading.

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

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