Practical Carriage Building

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

Wagon Wheels Part 2

The first part fig 112

I put the tire on this wheel, allowing for drawing, in order to close up all joints one-quarter of an inch; that is, the distance around the inside of the tire is one-quarter of an inch less than the distance around the outside of the wheel. For lighter wagons I allow less for drawing. The ends of the spoke tenons down in the felloes are cut off about one-sixteenth of an inch, so that the felloes will press down on the shoulders of the spokes and the tire will not press on the ends of the spokes.

The bottom of the wagon axle fig 113

Next comes the axle. Set the wheels up plumb; that is, as wide apart at the top as at the bottom; and the distance apart that you want them to be when on the tread is, say five feet from outside to outside of the tire on the ground. Then take a straight-edge and measure the distance from box to box; that is, the length of the axle between the shoulders. Next cut as much off below as above the point of the axle, and your wheel will be plumb, and you will also have a plumb spoke; that is, the outside of the spoke will be plumb, as the tire will not draw dish if put on the wheel as it ought to be. For the gather, cut about one-sixteenth of an inch more off each spindle behind than before. When the wheels are set on the axle, they should not be more than half an inch closer in front than they are behind. In making such a wagon as I am now describing, I would rather have a quarter inch gather than a half inch.

Side view of the wagon axle fig 114

Make the hounds and coupling pole or roach, lay them on the axle where they are to be fastened, and measure carefully from the point of the spindle to the hole in the coupling pole or reach. The point of each spindle must be exactly the same distance from the center of the hole, to make the wagon run well. If either spindle is too far back, one wheel will press on the nut, and the other on the shoulder. The same care must be taken in measuring the tongue, for if it is too far to the right, the wheels will run to the left; and if too far to the left, the wheels will run in the opposite direction.

The wagon wheel bench fig 115

A wagon made in accordance with the foregoing description will run in the mud or out of it, and will carry as heavy a load as one of its size should carry. The wheels will be round and true to the center of the box, and will run straight forward without pressing on either nut or shoulder. The tire will run flat on the ground, and not on one edge as most tires do, wearing away one side faster than the other.

The blocks used in the wagon hubs Fig 116

Of course it is always understood that a good wagon canČnot be made without good, well-seasoned timber. Fig. 106 (page 102) shows how to sot up the wheels to get the proper length for the axle between the shoulders. The distance from a A to B is the length between the boxes; the distance from C to D is the width of the tread on the ground; the distance from 0 to 0 should be the same. If the wheels have dish, the distance from 0 to 0 will be greater than from G to D.