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Old 11-18-06, 04:21 AM   #1
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Wheelbuilding question in 2 parts

I've decided to give wheelbuilding a go.....i figure by the time i retire i will have mastered it and it'll give me something to do in my old age (i have about 35yrs to do that).

So first question building your own wheels cheaper? or is it more a personal satisfaction of doing the job yourself.

Second.....Tension meters. my LBS stocks a range....from an $800 DT digital to the Park TM-1. I'm looking at the park because its cheapest. Any reason to go with something else? The guy at the shop while helpful uses the high end one.....but as he said "its a business expense" i suspect the top of the line model would be overkill for me.

Any other tips from experienced wheelbuilders are always welcome. thanks in advance guys
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Old 11-18-06, 05:58 AM   #2
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Is it cheaper than a machine built wheel? No. (This would be a comparison between apples and oranges) Is it cheaper than a professionally hand built wheel? Maybe or maybe not because of the bulk prices that they pay for material.
Is there a degree of satisfaction froming doing the job yourself? Absolutely.
There is no need to buy the high end tension meter for a low volumn builder.
The money saved here could be used to buy a book or 2 on the art of wheelbuilding.
You will be able to build wheels for special purposes that are not available on the market. (Clydsdales for example can benefit from custom handbuilt wheels).
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Old 11-18-06, 06:53 AM   #3
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Personal satisfaction and the ability to use my choice of parts...try a 1972 S-A dynohub on a 1978 Fiamme Redlabel Also for whatever reason the LBSes in this area don't want to build up a wheel using old parts.

The Park tension meter works fine, the main thing is to use one.

For an online wheel building course go to the one and only Sheldon Brown I have printed off his directions and refer to them on a regular basis. I had build a couple of wheels before but apparently was doing it the hard way

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Old 11-18-06, 08:34 AM   #4
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Building them costs more than machine built wheels, but you get to choose the specs of your wheels, and the satisfaction of a job well done, like you said.

The Park tension meter should be fine. They make great tools. I have built many wheels and have never used a tension meter, though. I use pitch, which seems to have built many strong wheels for me. The only exception is when I used really thin spokes, and didn't realize the tension would seem different. Just don't try to do some super duper lightweight spoke, it's not worth the risk... says my shoulder.
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