Modern Blacksmithing Rational Horse Shoeing and Wagon Making

with rules, tables, recipes, etc., useful to manufactures, blacksmiths, machinists, well-drillers, engineers, liverymen, horse-shoers, farmers, wagon-makers, mechanics, amateurs and all others who have occasion to perform the work for which this book is primarily intended. by J.G. Homstrom 1901

Setting a Wagon Wheel

When vehicles were first used is hard to tell, but we know that they have been used for thousands of years before the Christian era. It is easy to imagine how they looked at that time, when we know how half civilized people now make wagons. The first vehicle was only a two-wheeled cart called chariot. Such chariots were used in war and that it was a case of "great cry and little wool" is certain. The blacksmith used to be the wagon and carriage maker. Now it is only a rare case when a blacksmith makes a carriage, and when it happens most of the parts are bought. In 1565 the first coach was made in England.

Now there are hundreds of factories making wagons and carriages and parts .of them for repair use by blacksmiths and wagon makers. It is no use for any blacksmith or wagon maker to compete with these factories. We have neither the means nor the facilities to do it, and have to be content with the repairs they need. The most important repairs are the setting of tire, welding and setting axle stubs.

Wagon wheels are often set so that more harm than good is done to the wheel. In setting tire the first thing to do is to mark the tire. Many blacksmiths set tires without marking the tire. This is poor work. In order to do a good job the tire should be set so that it is in the same place it had. There are generally some uneven places in the fellows and when the tire is set the first time, it is hot all around and will settle down in these low places. Now, if the tire is not marked and set back in its exact bed, it will soon work loose again, and it is liable to dish the wheel too much as it don't sink into its place, but is held up in some places. Another thing, when a tire is worn so that it becomes thin it will settle down on the outside, especially when the wheel is much dished. Now if you reverse the tire it will only touch the fellow on the inner edge of the wheel, and leave an open space between the fellow and the tire on the outside. When a wheel has bolts every smith knows that it will make trouble for him if he don't get the tire back where it was. In every case take a file or a chisel and cut a mark in the tire near to the fellow plates, cut also a light mark in the fellow. These marks are to be on the inside of the wheel: I, because it will not be seen on that side; 2, because in putting the tire on, the wheel should be placed with that side up. If there are nails in the tire cut them off with a thin chisel so that it will not mark the fellow, or drive them into the fellow with a punch. Next, measure the wheel with the gauge (the wheel is supposed to be right, not fellow bound nor any spokes loose in the tenon).