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Old 02-03-10, 12:15 PM   #1
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Spoke nipple washers for carbon rims?

I just wanted t to get some feedback on the issue above. My experience with building wheels is that nipple in carbon rims seem to set over time (due to compressing the carbon at the nipple seat?) requiring retensioning, up to running out of thread on the spokes (that happened to me once even despite nipple washers). My further concern is little cracks on the rim spoke hole, as I encountered on a set of older Zipp carbon wheels (not self build).
So nipple washers should help distributing the load (I have used the ones from Sapim in various sizes) - do they?
Yes, I set and measure spoke tension with a spoke tension gauge.
Thanks for any feedback
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Old 02-03-10, 01:49 PM   #2
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Yes, I'm a firm believer in using washers on non-eyelet rims. Try to find decent ones in Stainless or Brass, and if the rim section is narrow at the seat, make yourself a small jig to curve them so they seat nicely into the rim.

Many years ago working with thin section alloy rims I used to use a bit of body filler under the washers to spread the load. While it was still soft, I'd build the wheel, and tighten it enough to bed the nipples and washers, Then I'd let the body filler cure before applying final tension. Using that technique I eliminated the splitting that those rims were famous for.

I still have and occasionally ride an old set of Italian built track wheels, wherein the builder used leather washers under each nipple. Those have taken tons of abuse as street wheels and are still in great shape, other than the effects of almost 50 years of weathering.
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