Practical Carriage Building

Compiled by M.T. Richardson, Vol.1. 1891

Points on Wagon and Carriage Wheel Making

I am very young in the art of wagon and carriage making. I have had but very little experience—only six years in the service. Three years of that time I was an apprentice, and during the other three I have been carrying on business for myself. But I have been thinking over the many things in wagon building that are worthy of notice, and have selected that most important part, the wheel, as the subject of my few remarks.

What I wish to call attention to most particularly is the preparation of the hub for heavy work. I boil all heavy hubs previous to driving. I select them and number them 1, 2, 3, and 4. Then I take No. 1 and mortise it out ready for driving. By this time I manage to have the water as near a boil as possible. A wash boiler makes a very suitable vessel for the purpose. I then put No. 1 into the water, and proceed with No. 2 in the same way, and so on until I have them all in the boil. A wash boiler will easily hold four hubs. Then I am ready for driving and need not wait a minute. I take out No. 1 and place it in the wheel pit, ready for driving, and when it has been driven I proceed in the same manner with No. 2, and so on until the entire set of wheels is finished. You will find by this mode of preparing the hub that you will be able to drive a much larger tenon in the same mortise and without bruising or crushing the wood. You will be able to do a better and more satisfactory job and with half the labor. I suggest that all who have not tried this plan should try it with at least one set of heavy wheels.

There is still one other thing in wheel building I wish to call attention to. It is rimming a wheel. This, I think, is a very important point to consider in making a good sub-stantial wheel. For my part I prefer a sawed rim; I think it is much better than a bent rim. First, because it holds the tire much better on account of the pressure being against the grain of the wood; and, second, it is not so liable as a bent rim to crush beneath its load and leave the wheel rim bound.

I have still another point I wish to speak about. I wedge up every spoke until the rim fits tightly down on the shoulder and make the spoke come out flush with the outside of the rim. By this means the support of the tire comes directly on the spoke and rim, thus preventing the rim from being crushed down over the shoulder of the spoke until the end of the tenon strikes the tire, a thing which causes the wheel to become rim-bound in a very short time.—By D. A. R.