Practical Carriage Building

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

Wheelwright Tools

The rim clamp and the slide plate fig 80

Once, while putting on a two and a half inch sprung oak rim, I was called upon by a man who, although a stranger to me, appeared to take more than a passing notice of the work I was doing, and expressed surprise at the ease with which I was able to handle the stubborn piece of oak, which I had almost in place. He informed me that he had followed wheelwrighting for thirty years and had never seen a certain tool I had in use and called a rim clamp. This admission from one many years my senior led me to think that mechanics in general say too little among themselves about the home-made hop appliances, without which they would succeed but poorly in their work, and I am led to believe that a description of this tool will be of service to the profession.

I had a set of eight by fourteen inch locust hubs that had seen forty years' service and were yet sound and as good as ever brought me to be re-spoked and rimmed. In consequence of the width of the mortises, I had to use two and a half inch spokes with rims to correspond.

The clamp for driving out spokes fig 81

For a wheel horse I used a bench made of ash plank twelve inches wide, four inches thick, and five feet long, secured to the floor by a three-quarter inch rod, having a hook at the lower end to fit into an eye bolt screwed into the floor, the rod coming through the bench far enough to take a fourteen inch hub and leave room for a hand nut which turned down on the thread cut on the upper end of the rod and clamped the hub securely to the bench.

The old spokes were removed by driving against a clamp consisting of two plates (Fig. 80) of tire iron two and a half by three-eighths inch, six inches long, held together at the bottom by two and three-eighths inch carriage bolts, at the top by a nine-sixteenths inch bolt, having a hand nut to get the pressure from, as shown by Fig. 80.

By placing a bit of hard wood against this clamp and driving with a three-pound hand hammer, the most obdurate spoke will come. The new spokes were then fitted and driven with a three- pound hand hammer. Here was more trouble. These hubs were hand-mortised, and well mortised too, but not so that a truly shouldered spoke would fit. One side would come up while the other was off from one-sixteenth to one-eighth inch, necessitating scribing up. Here the driving clamp again came in play to remove the spoke. The spokes driven were marked, cut off, and tenoned by the use of a common lathe drill, mounted on the bench with a hollow auger fitted thereto, and fed to the work by the hand-wheel, which saves much muscle and does a good job.

The rim marked, gauged, bored, and chamfered, is now put on, which is a faint term to express that operation, as one must know who has handled a two and a half by two and a quarter inch seasoned oak rim.