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Finding the Very Best Spoke Wrench

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Finding the Very Best Spoke Wrench

Old 03-25-13, 06:06 PM
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Gyro_T
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Finding the Very Best Spoke Wrench

In recent years, I have used Park, and I have used those little knurled chrome all-in-one wheels on Wheelsmith nipples and can't get a satisfactory fit. I want something that is professional quality. I have not had my hands on something that was top drawer since I was in the shop in the 70's. I am using 2.0mm Wheelsmith nipples and the fit is loose with the red Park tool #2 and the #14 all-in-one. I am very careful but I am having trouble getting the tension I want. I am tried of effing around and want the best I can buy. Your input is appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old 03-25-13, 06:11 PM
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i like this one.

Park Tool Master Mechanic Spoke Wrench - SW-20 - Wheelbuilder.com
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Old 03-25-13, 06:13 PM
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Have you tried the Park SW-40, -41, -42 series of wrenches? Unlike the SW-0, -1 and -2 they catch all 4 corners of the nipple making it much less likely to round off the corners. IME, all-in-ones never work well.
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Old 03-25-13, 07:03 PM
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The gauge or diameter of spoke doesn't determine the wrench size. The wrench size depends on the dimension across the nipple flats - which depends on who makes them.


Park Tool SW-0 and SW-40 (Black) is sized for 3.22mm or 0.127" nipples
Park Tool SW-1 (Green) is sized for 3.30mm or 0.130" nipples
Park Tool SW-2 and SW-42 (Red) is sized for 3.45mm or 0.136" nipples
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Old 03-25-13, 07:04 PM
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Thanks to DS and Pursuance. I will get 'em coming this way!
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Old 03-25-13, 07:13 PM
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There is no one best spoke wrench. It's a question of fit, type, and persona; preference.

First of all fit. I have a number of spoke wrenches, including Parks in all 3 sizes. I disregard what they're supposed to fit, and chose the one that fits whatever nipples I;m using best. IME the tolerance between various Park spoke wrenches of the same size, overalaps the adjacent sizes, so I use the nominal size only as a rough guide.

There are two basic types of wrenches, box style and open end style. Open ends are faster to use, but box types drive on 3-4 corners and are less likely to round nipples off. I start with the open ends for speed, then shift to box types as the wheel reaches final tension.

Then there's personal preference, pick whatever style or brand fits and feels best to your fingers.
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Old 03-25-13, 07:38 PM
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i have some wrench force ones that grab 3 corners. i prefer this style of wrench
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Old 03-25-13, 08:21 PM
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The SW-40 looks a lot like what I used many years ago. I see it on Bike Tool Etc. and it is .127 whereas the Wheelsmith nipples are .123. That may seem trivial, but you can feel the slop and I remember having a closer tolerance years ago. Perhaps that is the best I can find these days. I measured about 6 of the Wheelsmith nipples and they are all about .123 in. Having the 4 corners though will probably make the difference. Looking around, I see Wheelsmith and DT Swiss spokes dominate what is available on the web. We use to think Robergel was the best. You would think that if Wheelsmith and DT are practically ubiquitous now, the tool makers would manufacturer a wrench that fits the thing with better tolerance!
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Old 03-25-13, 09:00 PM
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https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9SIA1FX0F13743

My favorite wrench is one purchased in 1980 that is similar in size and shape to the one at Newegg. If I need to pull more than 280 lbs of tension, then I start out with hex brass nipples and use a 5.5 mm hex driver to apply the spoke tension.

After all these years, the gap has grown from 0.133" to 0.134".

Last edited by furballi; 03-25-13 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 03-25-13, 09:10 PM
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Ultra has a round one that bought when he was like 14 y/o... never a problem and never knew where in the world the tool was made at, hardened steel and chromed finish, bought a crappy park ones and those after a few months were toasted. Still using faithfull after like 30 years. For the record I dont built wheels the whole day but after 30 years the tool should be ready for the trash can but amazingly is still working pretty good.
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Old 03-25-13, 09:18 PM
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I use Spokey wrenches, they've had the 4-corner design longer than Park. Recommended by Sheldon Brown (RIP).

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...l_8x363326dd_b
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Old 03-26-13, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
they catch all 4 corners of the nipple making it much less likely to round off the corners.
^ there, right there is the advice you're after.

I use Pedros, simply because they're what I was trained with. I'm sure the Park equivalent is much the same quality. Or Spokey. Or IceToolz. Whatever, just as long as it does the 3 corners, 4 sides thing.

https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4072/...071511a0_b.jpg

Last edited by jolly_ross; 03-26-13 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 03-26-13, 03:00 AM
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P&K Lie Spoke Wrench
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Old 03-26-13, 07:19 AM
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Park "Four-sided" is the best I've found, and least likely to round off aluminum nipples. There are similar by other mfgrs that are probably good too, I just haven't tried them myself.

Better yet. I recently built a wheel with nipples that had 5.5 mm hex heads on the inside of the rim. Much much easier to deal with, no marring of the nipples, no chance of rounding off, etc...
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Old 03-26-13, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by pursuance View Post
Is it worth twice the price of this style, which I've used for decades?



Serious inquiry, I build a lot of wheels but haven't tried that particular wrench.
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Old 03-26-13, 08:40 AM
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The venerable and awesome Cyclo, Made in England. It is shown here on its silk velvet Royal Presentation sachet.

When I was young and built wheels for a living, this tool built calluses in my left thumb & forefinger that remain to this day.
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Old 03-26-13, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Park "Four-sided" is the best I've found, and least likely to round off aluminum nipples. There are similar by other mfgrs that are probably good too, I just haven't tried them myself.

Better yet. I recently built a wheel with nipples that had 5.5 mm hex heads on the inside of the rim. Much much easier to deal with, no marring of the nipples, no chance of rounding off, etc...
And the hex head will remain in this condition 20 years from now. I can raise spoke tension to 400 lbs if needed without fear of rounding off the nipple.
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Old 03-26-13, 11:29 AM
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This is the one that I use to deal with iffy condition spoke nipples on perhaps seized threads..
https://www.parktool.com/product/adju...e-wrench-sw-10

a copy of the old Rollfast one I own.
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Old 03-26-13, 04:45 PM
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I've used both the Park and the DT Swiss wrench and I much prefer the DT Swiss. It's much wider than the Park so I get more leverage and can fine tune a spoke easier. My fingers are turning a solid disc rather than a bent metal rod, so they don't slip off. It also engages the nipple by a full 1mm more than the Park tool.
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Old 03-26-13, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pursuance View Post
+1 on this tool, looks cool
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Old 03-26-13, 05:48 PM
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P&K Lie

Originally Posted by orfitinho View Post
Yep!


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Old 03-26-13, 05:53 PM
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Best spoke wrench: needle nose pliers.
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Old 03-26-13, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by vins0010 View Post
Best spoke wrench: needle nose pliers.
Luddite!
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Old 03-26-13, 07:51 PM
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Nice thing about the SW-40 is you can store them right on the truing stand:

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Old 03-28-13, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by aixaix View Post

The venerable and awesome Cyclo, Made in England. It is shown here on its silk velvet Royal Presentation sachet.

When I was young and built wheels for a living, this tool built calluses in my left thumb & forefinger that remain to this day.
i have one! bad news is, it doesn't fit my current nipples. i keep it in case can i use it on
someone else's bike. have some other non-fitting tools, too, that i keep ready.
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