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What do you think of hammering spokes to seat/flatten them?

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What do you think of hammering spokes to seat/flatten them?

Old 10-07-21, 02:21 PM
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MyRedTrek
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What do you think of hammering spokes to seat/flatten them?

I'm in the process of building a 36-spoke wheel and have been following the video below. At 15:30 he talks about hammering the spokes with a rubber mallet to flatten them. He certainly seems to know what he's talking about - it's just that the notion of blows like that even with a rubber mallet make me nervous about possibly doing damage. If it makes a difference I'm using DT Swiss Alpine3 triple-butted spokes.

Perfectly valid practice and no reason to be concerned in your view? Do you think there's a better way?

Go to 15:30 to see the section in question.

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Old 10-07-21, 02:31 PM
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Yup, common practice for new spokes. You could press a flat piece of wood on the elbows to do the same thing if you're more comfortable with that but a soft mallet is easier IME.
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Old 10-07-21, 02:39 PM
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I like the Park Tool vidio method better, they just give a little extra bend when inserting the spoke into the hub as shown in their video at 5:15.

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Old 10-07-21, 02:54 PM
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Totally fine to do it, won't hurt anything. I just bend mine after lacing and before tensioning.
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Old 10-07-21, 03:05 PM
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I have done it a few times, no problem,
Also grab pairs of spokes in the middle with gloves and pull them together to relieve stress.
I rarely have to go back and re-true my wheels.
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Old 10-07-21, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeTBM
I like the Park Tool vidio method better, they just give a little extra bend when inserting the spoke into the hub as shown in their video at 5:15.
The Park method of lacing is what I use and teach. Itís easier to keep track of the spokes. The other method uses key spokes and a whole lot of counting. I only have to count one spoke and that one isnít all that important. As I tell my students

Hold the hub in the center of the rim with the spokes hanging down. If you are OCD or if you have bicycle mechanic friends and want to avoid ridicule, selection of the first spoke is (marginally) important. OCD mechanics want to have the label of the hub visible through the valve stem hole of the rim. To accomplish this, find the label on the hub and count 4 spokes holes (i.e. 2 spokes) to the right of the label. Select this spoke (which from now on will be referred to as the No.1 spoke) and put it through the first hole to the left of the valve hole. Attach its nipple a couple of turns.
To form the spokes to the hub, I prefer to use a lever. That bends the spokes on top and bottom. I use an old crank arm. Iíve used screwdrivers in the past but that can gouge the spokes. Aluminum is softer.

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Old 10-07-21, 05:30 PM
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There use to be a spoke head punch available but like tools that are un needed it likely suffered a slow poor selling death. I use my hands/fingers to bend/remove the bowing that new spokes have when initially laced up in a wheel. Andy
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Old 10-07-21, 06:19 PM
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Iíve never used a hammer to form the elbows to the hub. Pressing with my thumbs while the spokes are under low tension seems to do the job.
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Old 10-07-21, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The Park method of lacing is what I use and teach. Itís easier to keep track of the spokes. The other method uses key spokes and a whole lot of counting. I only have to count one spoke and that one isnít all that important. As I tell my students



To form the spokes to the hub, I prefer to use a lever. That bends the spokes on top and bottom. I use an old crank arm. Iíve used screwdrivers in the past but that can gouge the spokes. Aluminum is softer.

This works really well as it does spokes on both sides of the hub at the same time. I don't think being able to see the label through the valve hole is OCD at all, it's just the 'right' way to do it.
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Old 10-07-21, 09:58 PM
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I agree with cycommute on this, as does Ric Hjertberg: https://www.wheelfanatyk.com/blog/wh...the-spoke-path . This also is a little faster than hammering things.
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Old 10-08-21, 12:09 AM
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I used to worry a bit about bending spokes, until I started doing 36 spoke 20" wheels with aluminium rims.
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Old 10-08-21, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Iíve never used a hammer to form the elbows to the hub. Pressing with my thumbs while the spokes are under low tension seems to do the job.
That is all I've ever done too, the method gleaned from either Jobst or Sheldon.
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Old 10-08-21, 07:39 AM
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At 15:30 he talks about hammering the spokes with a rubber mallet to flatten them... it's just that the notion of blows like that even with a rubber mallet make me nervous about possibly doing damage. If it makes a difference I'm using DT Swiss Alpine3 triple-butted spokes....

Perfectly valid practice and no reason to be concerned in your view?
...those spokes of yours are made from pretty rugged stainless steel. If you can figure out a way to mar the surface of one hitting it with a rubber mallet against an aluminum surface as your backing (the hub flange,) I'd be interested to see the results. I've done this for many years, and observed no adverse results. Just don't pound on them hard enough to break off one of your hub flanges, and you should be fine. Or use one of the other methods mentioned. But nothing seems to seat them at the bend so it is supported by the hub flange quite as well and quickly as the rubber mallet treatment. I do it on top of a wooden sawhorse. Just don't let anything hard like steel get accidentally introduced into the equation.

It only seats the spokes that exit to the outside, so you still need to use a crank arm (or similar), to get the interior exiting spokes to seat well.
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Old 10-08-21, 08:21 AM
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I've NEVER pounded spokes (even in the old days with a smaller J bend). Never had a problem, Never had to worry about knick marks. Even on a 20" wheel, 36s, 4X "race" lace pattern (all spokes radiate to the outside of the hub).
Besides doing that on a colored spoke would be a no no..
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Old 10-08-21, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach
I agree with cycommute on this, as does Ric Hjertberg: https://www.wheelfanatyk.com/blog/wh...the-spoke-path . This also is a little faster than hammering things.
Thatís where I got my technique. I learned how to build wheels from his series that started in March 1986 Bicycling magazine. He has a link to the original text
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Old 10-08-21, 09:17 AM
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I use the the soft hammer method on the heads-in spokes. Super quick and easy. I see no reason to reshape the heads-out spokes. Frankly, I think this is a mistake. Have at me if you like....

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Old 10-08-21, 09:24 AM
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I've always just used my fingers or thumbs. No drama, no issues on wheels that have tens of thousands of miles on them. Nothing wrong with using a mallet or lever, but I've never thought it necessary.

I imagine that there is some wheel builder somewhere who advocates the use of a dial indicator to measure the degree of bend.
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Old 10-08-21, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Dean51
I use the the soft hammer method on the heads-in spokes. Super quick and easy. I see no reason to reshape the heads-out spokes. Frankly, I think this is a mistake. Have at me if you like....

Dean
Read the Hjertberg link above. It has a good explanation of why bending both spokes is a good idea.
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Old 10-11-21, 12:46 PM
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I've never built a wheel, but I can understand there being some "constructional loosening" as tiny high spots on spokes and seating surfaces settle in. Perhaps hammering speeds that up.
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Old 10-12-21, 11:21 AM
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I have not hammered on any of the wheels I have built. Proper tensioning and stress relieving solves all problems.
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