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  1. #1
    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Wheel coming out of true - is the linseed oil to blame?

    Last week, I did my first wheel build. Mavic open sport rims, Campagnolo Daytona hubs, 36 Dt Swiss competition spokes (DB) and DT swiss brass nipples. 3X.
    Based on the writings of Sheldon Brown, John Allen and Martin Gerritsen (framebuilder who has an excellent website in Dutch) I prepped the spokes with linseed oil, I laced everything up, tensioned everything nice and even until all spokes had the same pitch and then trued the wheels in the frame. I then took the wheels out, stretched the spokes, crunched them in pairs and treated the spoke heads with a punch to settle them in the hubs. Then final tensioning and truing.

    So far, so good. However, after about a 100 km's (two training rides and one 30 km commute in a veritable monsoon) I pulled the wheels out of the frame, because I had some brake rub. I expected nothing serious, but boy, the wheels were a mess! Tension all over the place, and some spokes were just slack, with two or three windings of the thread showing!

    What went wrong? Tension not high enough? Should I've left the linseed oil to dry some more? Do I need loctite?

    Anyway, I tensioned and trued them once again, and now they seemed to hold up fine, but two rides isn't exactly long enough to tell wether I got it right.

    Please share your wheelbuilding tips!
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    Sounds like spoke wind-up to me.

    If you weren't careful to keep the spokes from twisting while you were tensioning them, then each spoke had a different amount of twist inside depending on the friction of its nipple. After some training rides, the bumping and jostling allowed that built-up twist to come undone, loosening each spoke by a random amount.

    You'll probably be fine if you just let down the tension in each wheel then repeat the tensioning and truing steps, being careful to avoid spoke wind-up. The way I like to do that is to hold the middle of the spoke in one hand while tensioning it with the other. When adding tension to a spoke, twist the spoke wrench until you stop feeling the middle twist. Note about how far that was, add the tension you want, then back off by the same amount as before to undo the twisting. This will keep the total twist in each spoke to about zero.

    Alternately, just always tighten 1/4 turn further than desired, then back off 1/4 turn. It'll be about the same effect.

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    Not that familiar with the Daytona hubs.
    Questions would be besides the spokes untorquing (as explained above) is were the spoke elbows loose or firm at the hub?
    DT for a while changed their spoke elbow length none for the better.
    They then reduced it a bit but stock does hang around on shelves.

    Retrue the wheel of course with the tire off and spoke heads exposed.
    Check the tension, if not with a gauge, compare to similar wheels you have.

    Check the dish of you tighten a 1/2 turn all around, and ride around the block, if you hear the "tink, tink, tink" sound then recheck as the spokes are adjusting themselves.
    Many experienced wheelbuilders have various ways of dealing with this, and all help, but nothing beats just a ride around the block.

  4. #4
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    I stress relieve, seat the spoke heads, etc, when building using this guy's technique. I am still relatively new at this but so far none of my wheels have come out of true. This technique is easy to follow and has been very successful for me so far: http://miketechinfo.com/new-tech-wheels-tires.htm
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    +1 on spoke windup. If you ever build up a wheel with aero profile/bladed spokes, you will get an idea on how much a spoke can wind up when you tension them as you will see the twist on the bladed spoke really easy. On plain, non-bladed spokes, it is harder to tell if they are twisting but sometimes you can detect a twisting pattern on the legnth of the spoke as there are subltle markings and a a sort of grain that follows the legnth of the spoke. Best thing to do is to have your fingers of your free hand on the spoke right below the nibbple when you turn the spoke wrench and you will have an idea if it is twisting and how much you have to turn back the wrench to undo the twist after each tightening turn of the spoke wrench.

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    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    I too just built up some A23s and Daytonas.

    I made sure to prevent wind up by doing the 1/4 over, then 1/4 back, but I also knew it would be out of true after a few rides because the hub holes on daytonas are a bit tighter to get spokes through and seat/notch.

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    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    I'm gonna bet that it was low tension, I grease the nipple head to make things go a little smoother. Did you make sure the wheel was true radially? I strongly recommend the park tensiometer if you plan to build wheels. It is cheep and it will allow you to learn what good tension should feel like. You need to match paired spokes also (parallel on same side), this is critical to good wheel strength.
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    iab
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    I found the 1/4 overturn then back is not fool proof. To release wind up, I put the end of the axle on a piece of carpet and push on the rim, working myself around the whole rim. Flip over and do the other side. You'll hear the spokes unwind.

    I like the Park tensioner to get you in the ballpark. After that, plucking the spokes works best to get the tension equal. All the front spokes should have the same pitch. Drive side will have a much higher pitch than the non-drive side.

    I have found the most important thing in keeping a wheel true is even tension. The commuter that I beat has perfectly true wheels for the last three years.

    Also, wind up will eventually cause your spokes to snap at the elbows because of the increased stress.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    It wasn't the linseed oil. I'd say that what you've just experienced is perfectly normal stress relief. Are you a lighter rider? It can certainly take a few tens of miles for all the stress and wind-up to work its way out of a wheel. Detension, retension watching the wind-up, and enjoy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
    was it raw linseed oil or boiled linseed oil? BLO is what you want for spoke threads cause it will actually "cure" (which is to say: harden) over time and act as the "cheap Loctite" you are looking for.
    Raw linseed oil will act only as a lubricant to your spoke threads, AFAIK, and that's not what you want...lube alone is good for outside of nipples, spoke threads want a lube that hardens.
    Thats not my experience. I use antiseize. A properly tensioned wheel shouldn't detention enough to loosen. Plenty of people use grease or plain ol triflow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
    was it raw linseed oil or boiled linseed oil? BLO is what you want for spoke threads cause it will actually "cure" (which is to say: harden) over time and act as the "cheap Loctite" you are looking for.
    Raw linseed oil will act only as a lubricant to your spoke threads, AFAIK, and that's not what you want...lube alone is good for outside of nipples, spoke threads want a lube that hardens.
    I'll take a properly tensioned stress relieved wheel and pass on the hardeners, JMO.....

  12. #12
    wrench from the 70s
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    You know, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I also don't think the twisted spokes are so much to blame b/c you would have relieved a lot of that when you "stretched the spokes, crunched them in pairs". Linseed oil is fine. I've been told to use that, WS Spoke Prep (what I mostly use), chain lube (DT certification class), beeswax, whatever. If you've ever tried to file down a piece of brass you know that it's what we call "self-lubricating". All this just goes to show that reading something on the web is no substitute for actual practice and experience--that's why you wanted to build them up yourself in the first place, right? You built them using reasonable practices, performed a rolling stress-relieving (otherwise known is riding), and then re-trued and tensioned them. Sounds like you did just fine.

    You say you tensioned the spokes evenly, but don't say how tight. I think cyclotoine and iab can't be faulted for recommending a tension meter, but buying one may be overkill if you don't plan on doing a lot of this. I'm sure your LBS will measure your tensions for you in less than 60 seconds, and you certainly can have them too tight. Mavic rims are always cracking from overzealous tensioning (I know I did it once or twice). You also describe stressing and relieving steps, but it matters how you do these things. Think of it this way: the process is what's important. Be consistent, build some more wheels, try changing one thing about how you do it and see what works. I can guarantee that after you've built a dozen wheels they'll be coming out better, and with any luck all of them will have been rideable. You can get one cheap front wheel and just take it apart and build it back up again a few times. [BTW, don't ever slack off all the tension on a wheel you care about. That's just asking for trouble]

    The product here is not the wheels--the product is you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    I found the 1/4 overturn then back is not fool proof.
    Agreed. That's why I prefer the "hold the spoke in your other hand, actually see how much wind-up you need to back off of" method. But, the "1/4 turn" rule is better than nothing, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
    Thats not my experience. I use antiseize. A properly tensioned wheel shouldn't detention enough to loosen. Plenty of people use grease or plain ol triflow.
    +1 PP. I, too, use anti-seize -- the same stuff I put on the caliper mount screws when I replace the brakes on my car. If spoke wind-up were the culprit in the OP's wheel, it wouldn't need to go slack to loosen -- the spoke is constantly trying to unscrew itself! Just normal little bumps can provide enough opportunity.

    About 2000 miles now on my most recently built wheels (CR-18 rims, DT Rev spokes, Tiarga hubs with new ball bearings) and no re-truing. I had high hopes when there were no popping or pinging noises on the first ride. Now I'm just looking for a good excuse to build up another wheelset. Maybe tubular this time...

  14. #14
    Senior Member mudboy's Avatar
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    I've used boiled linseed oil as spoke prep for 25 years and have never had it contribute to the wheel coming out of true. As others have mentioned, it's probable that you had some unwanted stresses in your wheel when you thought you were done. I do the sideloading method on both sides, and then I squeeze parallel pairs of spokes on both sides of the wheel, check for true, and repeat. Never had a problem.
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  15. #15
    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Thanks, all. Unworthy1, it turns out that the oil is the uncooked, cold pressed kind - I bought it at an organic market! None of the sites I visited mentioned the difference between cooked and uncooked anyway. I now believe twisting to be the major culprit.

    Cycletoine, the true both radially and sideways was within half a millimeter.

    Captain blight, I'm not a clyde at 65-70 kilo's (what's that in imperial? 140-150? lbs.?), and certainly these wheels are overkill for me.

    To conclude, next build I'm going to do my stress relieving more rigorous and watch out for spoke twisting.
    Last edited by Italuminium; 07-18-12 at 07:51 AM.
    Pass the Dutchie on the non-drive side.
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    rhm
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    For what it's worth, I've tried the linseed oil thing only twice, and it didn't work out for me. I usually build pretty good wheels, but I'm not so good at it that I can expect them to stay true for ever. And linseed oil makes them hard to true after the oil dries. I'm sure it's great for the experts, but for the dilettante DIY'er like me, regular old grease or oil seems to be a lot easier and better both in the short run and in the long run.

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    I like that web site too, Lostarchitect. Tons of great advice on that site. One thing you didn't mention I don't think, Italuminium ...but I'm fairly sure you did.... was "improving the spoke line" at the hub. Not doing so can leave a bit of un-wanted slack in the spokes. FWIW.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Boiled linseed oil is not boiled or cooked. Chemical additives are used to speed drying so that it acts like some other oils do when they're boiled. I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Maybe true GB. Though I've read they heat it. I save mine for wood working.
    Last edited by rootboy; 07-18-12 at 01:13 PM.

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    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    I'll add that my method for preventing wind up is holding squeezing the spoke and tightening (1/4 over then back) the nipple like others have mentioned. For stress relief, I place the rim parallel to the ground with the axle as the fulcrum and lightly press down on opposing sides of the rim. This method works better than almost any other method for me. Just be careful, it's not hard to collapse and taco a wheel this way.

  21. #21
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    ..1/4 overturn then back is not fool proof ...Park tensioner to get you in the ballpark ...wind up will eventually cause your spokes to snap at the elbows because of the increased stress.
    Thanks - This explains allot of my wheel problems - I am a heavy guy and recently bought a new set of wheels with better quality 14ga spokes - I was worried for the first few rides as I heard various quite pops and tings of my spokes - I kept my spoke tool one me and made just a very few adjustments during my first rides - All is well now - Point is even the best sets of wheels will need adjustments the first few rides...

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    I'm not a very experienced wheel builder, but, I used some "spoke prep" too, Unworthy1. My question on this stuff is, are you supposed to let it completely dry...doesn't seem to...before adding nipples? Is it supposed to act as a lubricant? A thread lock? An anti-seize?

  23. #23
    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    I'm not a very experienced wheel builder, but, I used some "spoke prep" too, Unworthy1. My question on this stuff is, are you supposed to let it completely dry...doesn't seem to...before adding nipples? Is it supposed to act as a lubricant? A thread lock? An anti-seize?
    All of the above. Apply it wet so it lubes at first. Later on it will harden and adhere to the nips. I don't have a problem using this kind of stuff if it is readily available. A lot of people will say that they don't want to use anything that adds resistance to trueing down the line. I mostly use anti-seize or grease because it's cheap and works just as well. However, I would not use only triflow since that stuff washes away really easily.

  24. #24
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
    was it raw linseed oil or boiled linseed oil? BLO is what you want for spoke threads cause it will actually "cure" (which is to say: harden) over time and act as the "cheap Loctite" you are looking for.
    Raw linseed oil will act only as a lubricant to your spoke threads, AFAIK, and that's not what you want...lube alone is good for outside of nipples, spoke threads want a lube that hardens.
    Say what??? Why would you want a lube that hardens? That's the opposite of what you want.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  25. #25
    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    Say what??? Why would you want a lube that hardens? That's the opposite of what you want.
    That's kind of the argument here, whether the thread locking aspect of linseed oil or spoke prep is really needed, but I tend to agree with you.

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