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  1. #1
    Patrick Barber weed eater's Avatar
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    First-time wheelbuilding questions

    OK, the hubs are here, the spokes and rims are ordered, and just in time, my current hub is stripped and out of commission. Wheelbuilding time is upon me.

    so, three questions

    -- do I need that spoke prep stuff or can I just use 3-in-1 oil/Tri-flon?

    -- do I need a dish stick? Or can I just enjoy saying "dish stick" for the heck of it, and save my money?

    -- is the bike sufficient as a truing stand?

    Dish stick.

    Thanks

    --patrick

  2. #2
    Senior Member poppalurch's Avatar
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    yes, yes and no

  3. #3
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Yes no yes

    You're building a dishless wheel. If you're really worried, rest the wheel on the floor next to the wall with the axle to the floor (like a toy top). Press down on the rim opposite the wall so the side adjacent to the wall rises up. Mark where it reaches.

    Now flip it over and repeat the process. If the rim is properly centered, it'll reach the same height both times.

    As for truing, use an old spoke bent in an L shape (with a U bend at the very tip to keep from scratching the rim) strapped to the stays or fork arms. This can be rotated in and out and raised up or down. Use two and do lateral and radial truing simultaneously.

    Who knows, you might be able to get away w/o spoke prep. I've never tried, but I've been told that my spokes will back out if I don't use it. Linseed oil is supposed to be suitable, but you have to let it set for a day or two.

  4. #4
    legalize bikes
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    for lubrication i like to use philwood tenacious oil. i lay the spokes flat and coat the threads, then roll them around together and wipe off the excess. also a drop in each spoke nipple. once the wheel is laced and initially tensioned, i put a drop of triflow in every nipple/rim junction after. if your wheels are tensioned, stress relieved, and unwound correctly then the spokes will never back out.

  5. #5
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    you don't NEED a dish stick (dish stick!) or a truing stand, but they will make things much easier, especially if you drink beer while you're building the wheels (recommended).

  6. #6
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dolface
    you don't NEED a dish stick (dish stick!) or a truing stand, but they will make things much easier, especially if you drink beer while you're building the wheels (recommended).
    recommended? essential! i don't think i've ever built a wheel without my trusty sierra nevada.

    it's like a guy i used to work with who did all his best welding with a cigarette in one hand.

  7. #7
    Patrick Barber weed eater's Avatar
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    Damn, I forgot to ask about beer. Fortunately I have that already.

  8. #8
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    no, no, yes

    I really don't think spoke prep is necessary- and for some people, it seems to cause more trouble than it fixes.

    Dish isn't much of an issue with fixed, since both wheels should be centered on the hubs. You can just flip them to check... and you can true the wheel on your bike.

    Did you read the gospel?

    http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

    It is free!

  9. #9
    Patrick Barber weed eater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep

    Did you read the gospel?

    http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

    It is free!
    yep I have that whole section all printed out. Plus the Lennard zinn book, also very handy.

  10. #10
    Senior Member poppalurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    As for truing, use an old spoke bent in an L shape (with a U bend at the very tip to keep from scratching the rim) strapped to the stays or fork arms. This can be rotated in and out and raised up or down. Use two and do lateral and radial truing simultaneously
    That's rad

  11. #11
    ... tlupfer's Avatar
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    * spoke prep was invented because people started building radial, low spoke, and otherwise goofy wheels. jobst brandt says so.
    * I use marine grease on the threads. makes it easy to put together, easy to take apart, and easy to get the wheel up to proper tension.
    * A truing stand is a wise investment. People will tell you how you can build a wheel using a vice, a lawn chair, and a stick of butter, but you'll be quite a lot happier with a stand and your wheel will show it. The cheap ones work fine. The minoura junior is something like $40.

    cheers,
    tim

  12. #12
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    How many wheels ya gonna build? A truing stand won't enable you to make a better wheel, it'll allow you to make the same wheel faster. I've built something like five wheels using that technique very happily. It's not a ton, but they've all come out nice and true and stayed that way (except when hit by cars or wedged in construction sites).

    In my opinion, for what you'd pay for a truing stand, I'd get a tensiometer. There's really no other way to quantify tension (don't tell me about tension-by-tone because Jobst has a good explanation about how that doesn't really fly if you don't have an already built wheel with spokes for comparison).

  13. #13
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Girls just love my dish stick.
    --
    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
    Friends don't let friends use brifters.

  14. #14
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    In my opinion, for what you'd pay for a truing stand, I'd get a tensiometer. There's really no other way to quantify tension (don't tell me about tension-by-tone because Jobst has a good explanation about how that doesn't really fly if you don't have an already built wheel with spokes for comparison).
    Cool thing about a tensiometer is there is no guessing involved and you can follow tensions after the initial build to see how good your stress relief process was.

    "the bicycle wheel" by Jobst Brandt is an awesome book. Definitely Worth the $10 pick-up on Ebay.

  15. #15
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    <drunk> thanks. you guys have inspired me. I'm going to build one. I'm stick of this damn stuck seatpost.
    </drunk>


  16. #16
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    How many wheels ya gonna build? A truing stand won't enable you to make a better wheel, it'll allow you to make the same wheel faster. I've built something like five wheels using that technique very happily.
    I agree, however, a truing stand can be used for truing all wheels whenever they need it. Much of wheelbuilding take place off the stand.

  17. #17
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    I'm gonna be the wild one here and answer, no, no, no. For dishless wheels you don't need no dish stick, you don't need spoke prep on regular wheels with brass nipples (if your spokes are backing out its because they are going slack, which means you messed up the wheel build), and you can true wheels just fine on the bike.

    Now, a truing stand really does make it a lot quicker. I use my friend's truing stand occasionally, and it is a treat. But if you don't have the extra cash lying around, don't worry, you don't REALLY need it. My last wheelbuild was made clean (no spoke prep), dishless, and was trued in a 24" mountain bike fork (which fits a tireless 700c wheel perfectly, with tight clearance for easy truing). Its dead true, and I'm pretty damn pleased with it.

    peace,
    sam

  18. #18
    likes avocadoes
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    my .02:
    linseed oil is the only lube you need (well, you don't even really need that) in wheelbuilding. It will make it a lot easier and quieter to get your spokes up to tension, and for the rest of your life you will fondly remember your first build every time you smell it.

    I've never really been a fan of the dish stick...but I've got my truing stand set up so as to pretty much make the stick redunant and slow.

    My first several builds were w/o stand, my last several were with stand. Can't say there's a HUGE difference, but it is faster with the stand, and faster means less likely to get annoyed and give up before it's perfect.

    I find alcohol to make me more irritable when I'm trying to work on small, intricate things with narrow tolerances. Other relaxing inebriating substances are recommended for wheelbuilding as far as I'm concerned.

  19. #19
    Patrick Barber weed eater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r-dub
    my .02:
    linseed oil is the only lube you need (well, you don't even really need that) in wheelbuilding. It will make it a lot easier and quieter to get your spokes up to tension, and for the rest of your life you will fondly remember your first build every time you smell it.
    actually, the smell of linseed oil will remind me of building my first chicken coop, also a fond memory. And we've still got nearly a gallon of the stuff.

    However, up near the top of this thread Bostontrevor says he heard you have to "let linseed set for a day or two"--could either of you (Bt or r-d) expand on this? Let the wheel set after building? or let the linseed oil aerate for a day? I've got the raw stuff, so I hope that will work. I'm pleased I won't have to buy another specialty lubricant.

    I think I will buy a truing stand. It seems like a good tool, and I have become the household wrench, so there are lots of wheels to be trued. And potentially a lot to be built. I'm also very fond of using good tools, and time, for better or worse, is of the essence lately, so the speed factor is an important one.

    It does sound like a dish stick is completely unnecessary. The $40 truing stand I am looking at claims it can do the dishing as well, in any case.

    As for the beer/intoxicants, wheelbuilding will likely be of an evening, accompanied by a proprietary blend of nettles, chamomile, red clover, oatstraw, and various and sundry other things, steeped in boiled water for 20 minutes. A hot cup of this infusion warms the body and clears the mind. Just the ticket.

    Thanks, everyone, for all your advice.

  20. #20
    Patrick Barber weed eater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peripatetic


    <drunk> thanks. you guys have inspired me. I'm going to build one. I'm stick of this damn stuck seatpost.
    </drunk>

    peri, forgive me if this has already been suggested, but have you tried liquid wrench on that seatpost? it's horrible, toxic stuff, but it does work a treat.

  21. #21
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Linseed lubricates and then dries to a more viscous consistency, acting more as a thread locker. So just lube with linseed, build, and let the wheel set for a bit. Though if Jobst is to be believed (and he generally is), it's completely unnecessary.

    Me, I prefer to be straight sober when wrenching, particularly when building wheels. Especially on your first wheel, you need to be able to stay on top of the details, be able to think a little critically if things don't seem to be going right, etc. Sounds like you have the right idea.

  22. #22
    ... tlupfer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    How many wheels ya gonna build? A truing stand won't enable you to make a better wheel, it'll allow you to make the same wheel faster. I've built something like five wheels using that technique very happily. It's not a ton, but they've all come out nice and true and stayed that way (except when hit by cars or wedged in construction sites).

    In my opinion, for what you'd pay for a truing stand, I'd get a tensiometer. There's really no other way to quantify tension (don't tell me about tension-by-tone because Jobst has a good explanation about how that doesn't really fly if you don't have an already built wheel with spokes for comparison).
    A stand will produce a better wheel, that is not to suggest that that margin is a particularly large one and that your wheels aren't subjectively "true", but simply that a more precise tool will allow for a more precisely constructed wheel.

  23. #23
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    Linseed lubricates and then dries to a more viscous consistency, acting more as a thread locker. So just lube with linseed, build, and let the wheel set for a bit. Though if Jobst is to be believed (and he generally is), it's completely unnecessary.
    i thought you needed to use boiled linseed oil, will the raw stuff work too?

  24. #24
    bannned steaktaco's Avatar
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    hey as long as we're at it where do you guys go to get spokes? I'ma gonna try and build me some of them wheels. also can't find cheap 135mm hubs. where to go, where to go?
    steaktaco.com <-- poohoopsies.


  25. #25
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlupfer
    A stand will produce a better wheel, that is not to suggest that that margin is a particularly large one and that your wheels aren't subjectively "true", but simply that a more precise tool will allow for a more precisely constructed wheel.
    This is simply not true. I can rotate my ghetto feelers in arbitrarily close and get my wheel as dead true as any stand. It may not be as convenient to do so, but my results say it's absolutely possible. I usually shoot for something like less than 0.5mm out-of-true, but could do better if I really wanted to.

    There's nothing more precise about a proper truing stand, it's just faster to setup and will hold calibration a little better.

    As for linseed oil, I really don't know. I'm just repeating what I've heard tell. Maybe you do need to boil it, I don't know. To answer another question, I always buy my spokes (and rims) at my LBS where they hook me up with some complimentary spoke prep. DT or Phil, can't complain.

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