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Old 02-26-14, 08:11 PM   #1
josephgallawos
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spoke gauge question

is 2-1.8-2 the same as 14-15-14. i realize that the latter is the guage. is the former mm? and are they the same?
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Old 02-26-14, 08:22 PM   #2
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Yes, for all practical purposes.

The gauge numbers are steel wire gauge (a USA standard) and more precisely correspond to 0.080" and 0.072" but 2mm and 1.8mm are close enough.

Here's a link to a SWG chart. scroll down to 2mm or so to see the gauge values.
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Old 02-26-14, 10:04 PM   #3
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Francis- Great link! I love the almost but not quite the same size numbers... Andy.
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Old 02-26-14, 10:16 PM   #4
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Francis- Great link! I love the almost but not quite the same size numbers... Andy.
For the record, some 40 years ago I was told that spoke gauges were based on the Washburn & Moen standard, and later sources said SWG. Fortunately in the range we use there's only a slight difference or none at all.

In reality, I suspect the gauges are only approximations for reference, and the wire isn't true to gauge standard. For example, the blank diameter for rolling a UNC 2-56 thread is 0.079" which is closer to 2mm than it is to 0.080. One thing you have to get used to as a manufacturer is the difference between nominal and actual dimensions.
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Old 02-27-14, 02:59 AM   #5
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When I was growing up my next door neighbor was a retired ME prof at Milwaukee School of Engineering. Somehow I got a 1927 copy of Machinery's Handbook from him. It says:

Upon the recomendation of the Bureau of Standards at Washington, a number of the principal wire manufacturers and consumers have agreed that it would be well to designate the American Steel & Wire Co.'s gage, which is the same as the Washburn & Moen gage, as the "Steel Wire Gage". In cases where it becomes necesary to distinguish this from the British Imperial standard wire gage, it may be called the "U.S. Steel Wire Gage." This gage applies to all steel wire. The trend of practice in the gaging of materials is increasingly toward the direct specification of dimensions in decimal fractions of an inch without the use of gage numbers. This is similar to the practice in Europe where sizes of wire are specified directly by the diameter in millimeters.

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Old 02-27-14, 09:36 AM   #6
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When I was growing up my next door neighbor was a retired ME prof at Milwaukee School of Engineering. Somehow I got a 1927 copy of Machinery's Handbook from him. It says:

Upon the recomendation of the Bureau of Standards at Washington, a number of the principal wire manufacturers and consumers have agreed that it would be well to designate the American Steel & Wire Co.'s gage, which is the same as the Washburn & Moen gage, as the "Steel Wire Gage". .
Thanks, that resolves my confusion. However, not that it relates to spokes but if you check the reference sheets, the SWG and W&M standards are slightly different.

In any case, I believe that the gauge numbers are only nominal, since for practical purposes the spoke wire diameter would have to be what's right for rolling the thread.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:59 AM   #7
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More amusing is how SWG and French wire gauges are numbered in the opposite direction, and just happen to cross over right in the range of bicycle spokes. This used to be a source of endless confusion, but since nobody makes spokes in France anymore the problem has disappeared except for people using vintage French spokes to build wheels.



Source: Sutherland's 4th Edition
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Old 02-27-14, 10:03 AM   #8
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I don't want to hijack a thread but I think this might be almost relevant. I read books, the internet, BF etc. I'm teaching myself to build wheels. I don't want to embarass myself when I walk into the LBS and buy spokes. How is "2.0-1.8-2.0" pronounced? "Two-oh, one eight, two-oh?" "Twenty-eighteen-twenty?" I've been using the gauge equilivents to cover my inexperience...
And now that I think of it, I have a Schmidts Original Nabendynamo hub. It's abbreviated "SON." How does the industry pronounce that? "s-o-n?" or "Sun?"
Thanks for the insight
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Old 02-27-14, 10:30 AM   #9
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you can can them whatever you like as long as you're clear.

Many simply call them 2mm or 14g butted spokes, while others specify all three diameters calling them two oh, one eight, two oh or whatever, or 14/15/14g or if old enough in the USA oh eighty, oh seventy-two, oh eighty.

As for the hubs most pronounce them as Son - on as in on/off.
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Old 02-27-14, 11:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rubato View Post
I don't want to hijack a thread but I think this might be almost relevant. I read books, the internet, BF etc. I'm teaching myself to build wheels. I don't want to embarass myself when I walk into the LBS and buy spokes. How is "2.0-1.8-2.0" pronounced? "Two-oh, one eight, two-oh?" "Twenty-eighteen-twenty?" I've been using the gauge equilivents to cover my inexperience...
And now that I think of it, I have a Schmidts Original Nabendynamo hub. It's abbreviated "SON." How does the industry pronounce that? "s-o-n?" or "Sun?"
Thanks for the insight
I'd call them 14-15 gauge double butted.
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Old 02-27-14, 12:10 PM   #11
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I'd call them 14-15 gauge double butted.
Yeah, me too. Gotta say, this thread has been most illuminating. Lots of stuff I didn't know before.
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Old 02-27-14, 01:10 PM   #12
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Thank you-Ain't BF great!
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