Practical Carriage Building
Compiled by M.T. Richardson, Vol.1. 1891
Making a Wagon Wheel Bench
My way of making a wheel bench is as follows: I get a hollow log about twenty inches in diameter, with two and a half or three inches of solid wood inside of the bark, or, better still, inside of the sap. I cut the log so as to make it eighteen inches long, driving a board across each end to use in setting my compass, and then strike the outside and inside circle on each end. I then dress the log as true as possible, bore a hole in the boards in the end of the hub, put a five-eighths rod through the holes, lay each end on the trestles, and place a block under each end to keep the rod from rolling off the trestle. I then turn the hub, place a pencil on the rest and mark each end true, marking also mortises. These should be one inch by two and a half inches, and four inches from the top. I make fourteen mortises.
I next make the spokes one and half by two and half and leave them square, tenoning them in the usual way. I drive them as I would to make a good solid wheel, and give at least one inch dish.
The rim is made of oak, two and half inches deep and two inches on the tread. I put on an iron tire, two by five-eights, and then make fourteen grips of oak, the size of being one a half by four inches. They should be made long enough to reach from one inch of the hub to the outer edge of the tire, as shown in Fig. 104 of the accompanying illustrations. These pieces are bolted on as shown in the engraving. I then plate their tops on top of the spokes, the size of iron used being one and half by one-eighth. I make them reach from the outer end toward the hub, as shown in Fig. 104.
I then make a cross piece and fit it inside of the hub, fastened in its center, and long enough to reach through the longest hub I may have to set tire on. I make a tail tap for the upper end, as shown in Fig. 103.
When this wheel bench is finished, I give it three or four coats of paint, the paint being ground in oil. If the bench is much exposed to the weather, it should be kept well painted; then it will last a lifetime.
This bench is as true as a wheel and very strong. You can hammer tire on it with a sledge without breaking it. Make it as large as the largest tire you have to set. It is a good idea to turn the bench on edge in a water trough.
If any one in the trade can describe a simpler rig, I would like to hear from him. Fig. 102 of the illustrations is a top view of the bench, Fig. 103 is a sectional view, Fig. 104 shows the spokes, grips, and straps, and Fig. 105 represents the hub, which is eighteen inches long and sixteen inches in diameter inside. – By W. O. ROBINSON