Practical Carriage Building

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

Carriage and Wagon Wheel Making in Country Shops Part 4

All spokes being up to the shoulder and in line, take off the dish gauge and screw tight again. Then take the straight edge, on which is marked the inner and outer length of the spokes, and transfer these marks to the spokes. Saw off where necessary, and set the spoke pointer to the size of the tenon; put in the bit brace and point off every spoke, keeping the tool always in the same direction, till the shank grinds on the spoke.

Generally I take one-sixteenth of an inch less to give the spoke more point, and allow easier entrance to the hollow auger, which is set over the auger bit, to insure exact size, and fastened with a set-screw in the spindle of the drill. Bring one spoke in front of the hollow auger and force the screw over the spoke, after which turn the handle with the right and feed up with the left hand. Every tenon on the spoke will then be in line with others, and the shoulders will all be square and even, which cannot be done so accurately with the hollow auger used in bit-brace.

Now the felloes can be taken in hand, for which set one compass at twelve and three-eighths inches, distance of the center of the spokes at the shoulder, and one compass at a little more than half the distance, say six and one-quarter inches; lay one felloe on two spokes, inside of the felloe, touching the shoulder of the spokes; put the straight edge on one spoke, over the center line, touching the hub on one end and resting on the felloe; mark the direction of the center line of the spoke along the straight edge on the felČloe, and transfer this bevel to the felloe gauge. Bevel obtained in this way suits almost every other wheel, as I have found by practice. Mark one end of the felloe with the bevel, and square across inside; measure with small compass from the cross mark the next hole for the tenon, from which mark with the large compass the other hole for the tenon; mark square across and bevel on the face side ; also, with marking gauge, mark the exact center of the felloe.

Holes can be bored for tenons, the bevel on the face side giving direction for the auger bit. Saw off the loft end of the felloe; cross, and bevel mark to give direction for the saw, and drive on two spokes, touching the shoulders. Proceed to the next felloe, using the same bevel and compass measures, and so on. Before driving the next felloe, put it on the spokes, exactly above the tenons, and mark where the left end of felloe No. 2 touches the right end of No. 1; add a little, say one-eighth to the length of felloe No. 1, and saw off over bevel and cross mark. Go on in this way all around, and if the felloes don't come up to the shoulder, saw out the joints till no more pressure is exerted on the saw at any joint, always driving up felloes against the shoulders of the spokes. If there is now a good, tight fit all around and in the joints, insert a wedge in one joint and saw out the opposite joint till the wedge shall enter about three-quarters of an inch, according to the size of the wheel. Mark every felloe and spoke with numbers, drive out felloes, "mark and bore dowel holes, round off the felloes according to your taste, and drive them back, inserting dowel pins between the joints as you proceed.

Now the felloes are in place, doweled. Next prepare some wedges. Open a split in the spokes and wedge every spoke tight in the hole, after which saw off the surplus length of the spokes just outside and even with the felloes. The wheel is now ready for the tire. To put this on, place the wheel on a stout platform which has a hole in the center to admit the hub; heat the tire, but do not make it too hot, for burning the wood will result in the tire becoming loose. Quench evenly around with water, taking particular care to drive the tire flush with the face of the wheel. Then let it cool and dry off, after which bolts can be put on. Should it be necessary to drill new bolt holes, put the wheel- back-on the bench, punch the centers of the holes midway beČtween the two spokes and drill; then countersink and put in bolts.

Boxing wheels is a job very seldom necessary in country shops; therefore a boxing machine would be an expensive and almost superfluous tool. Under these circumstances it is best to do the boxing by hand with tools suited to the work, such as gauges, chisels, &c. If the tire is perfectly straight, and the spokes are all driven true to gauge, the wheel will be tolerably straight. The exact center of the hub being found, mark it with one compass circle for the box, on the large and small end, and with the other compass circle for the collar and cup; drive out the blocks and use the gauge for removing the wood inside the circles, first takČing the size of the first circle for the box proper, and then for the collar and cups. The size of the circle for the box ought to be one-sixteenth of an inch less than the size of the box, butt, and front. Near the spokes it should be a little larger than the box.

I have already alluded to the matter of boring dowel holes, and, to make this point still clearer, would call attention to Fig. 134 of the. two accompanying engravings, showing a fell home with a hammer of medium weight, inserting a smooth hard wood block between the box and hammer. Wheels boxed in this way need no wedging, and the box will be tight.