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Giving Wheelbuilding a shot(5 posts)

Giving Wheelbuilding a shotMarlon
Sep 28, 2001 10:55 PM
So far so good, just been practicing on a bunch of old beater rims, but I think I'm getting there...

Question for those more experienced than me - is there a better way of tensioning spokes than just squeezing pairs of spokes? A friend suggested jamming a rod or a length of a screwdriver up against the junction where two spokes cross in order to seat the spokes and nipples, and to get that extra bit of tension in there. Any thoughts?


I don't do that.nee Spoke Wrench
Sep 29, 2001 5:06 PM
I've also heard of guys beating the outside spokes with a hammer against the hub. I don't do that either. Actually, I'm not in favor of anything that I think might bend the spoke.

I am a strong believer in using a spoke tensiometer. Even spoke tension throughout the wheel is good. I know from checking my own wheel builds how easily I can be fooled if I don't measure spoke tension.
re: Giving Wheelbuilding a shotcyclequip
Oct 1, 2001 6:52 AM
If you speak of tensioning spokes, are you referring to stress-relieving the spokes (de-tensioning spokes)? If so then the best way (takes some practice) is to sit with the wheel on your lap. Lean forward and brace the wheel between your forearms and thighs. Where your hands meet, grasp the rim and bend the rim up, being careful not to apply too much force or you'll bend the rim. You'll hear the spokes spin. Move the rim in 3-spoke increments and repeat. Flip the rim and repeat. Avoid the bars etc. Squeezing parallel and opposing pairs is a poor second choice.
Stress relievingKerry Irons
Oct 1, 2001 5:46 PM
So what's wrong with the "squeeze pairs of spokes" technique. Despite the claim by another poster, it is a very effective, simple, and direct technique for setting the spokes and relieving spoke windup and stresses building up in the wheel as you tension it. This approach is used by many experienced wheel builders, and accomplishes its purpose quite well.
Second thatJofa
Oct 3, 2001 7:37 AM
(to the original poster) remember that stress-relieving isn't done to 'bed-in' the components- the tension itself will do this- but for a more esoteric reason: it equalises irregular stress-raisers which were introduced into the spoke elbow when it was formed. This prevents cracks propogating through the spoke from fatigue. If spokes aren't stress-relieved, then at least one or two will almost certainly fail eventually.

The 'squeezing spokes' technique is the only method I know of which permits decent control of the load. All this 'rim-bending, standing on, walking over, levering in drawers' stuff which so many old school wrench's swear by just introduces undesirable randomness to the equation.