Originally Posted by Adroitly
@TejanoTrackie: Thanks for the encouragement!
I will also offer some encouragment.
Read Sheldon Browns words on it, and get a copy of Jobst Brandt's book. I've build only a handfull of wheels, and have had great luck with each build.
I have the brandt book open to the step-by-step instructions the entire time I'm lacing the wheel. It's really only a four step process to get all the spokes in the right spot... then the truing.
Make sure you use spoke prep on the treads of each spoke. Make sure you use the right length spokes. Linseed oil or similar should go everywhere metal touches metal...
When truing, if you have the right length spokes and a round wheel, counting nipple turns - and keeping them all consistent during the tensioning process - will typically result in a nearly true rim by the time things are tight. I take my time and turn each nipple 1/2 rotation at a time. Start at the valve to keep track. Once things get tighter, I go to 1/4 turn for each spoke. The key to this working, is making sure you start with the same number of threads peaking out of each nipple after the wheel has been laced.
Using a tension-meter (cheap ones work fine) will help to build a strong wheel... but not necessarily a round one. It depends on the quality (roundness) of the rim you start with.
Grab a handfull of spokes and and squeeze tight after each round of tensioning to aid in de-stressing them. Pushing along the edge of the rim with the tip of the axle against the floor accomplishes the same. do both. gently. kind of. Don't bend stuff.
It's not a black art... It's hardly even a science. It's just a process.
Be patient and pay attention. It's worth the time and effort (not to mention money) and is a very fulfilling accomplishment.
Unless you do something really stupid, you can always tear it all down and try again.