aka: Mike J.
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: between Milwaukee and Sheboygan in Wisconsin
Bikes: 1995 Trek 520 is the current primary bike.
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
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Just take your time and make small adjustments along the way. I always try to let the air out of the tire before doing anything more than a quick tweak of a spoke on a roadside repair. If I've got the time I let the air out, sometimes remove the tire if the wheel is really out of whack, then put it in a truing stand or on an upside down bicycle and see where the wobble is and check the spokes in that area for obvious looseness. If nothing is obviously loose I"ll loosen the bowed side a little and tighten the concaved side a little, then check to see the results, and keep on doing that until the wheel runs true and the spokes feel or ring true.
Three or four spoke wrench sizes should about cover the bulk of your needs, and sometimes you'll run across a wheel that has had a spoke replaced with a different sized nipple on it so it's handy to have the additional spoke wrench sizes handy. During the busy season at the shop I help at part time I see this at least once a month what with all the old bikes that were being brought back into service this past season.
Read up about wheel building on SheldonBrown.com, keep your eyes open for a wheel building book (there were two recently at a nearby used book store, one if which I bought, the other I already had), and just relax and have some patience and take your time and try to enjoy the process.
Sometimes it is handy to mark the worst offending spoke with a small piece of tape wrapped over it when you're first starting out, helps to keep track of where the wobble is and as a quick reference point once you're done. You can then leave that tape on that spoke to in case the wheels wobble returns and you can see immediately if it is the same spoke or area. You can also count spokes starting at the valve stem, but it's easier to just use a small piece of tape.
Hope this helps. I'm don't consider myself an expert wheel builder, but I have trued up a wheel or two in my days, and any wheels I've built up or rebuilt up from a bare hub or rim seemed to have held up well enough.