Saturday, February 21, 2015

lacing a wheel

We have weather awfulness predicted for later, so an evening dinner date with friends was moved to a lunch date. I don't want to get the house dirty, and I had some enforced idleness this morning, so I decided to lace up the rear wheel for the Crosscheck project.

The garage is 32ºF (0º in the civilized world), even with the new insulated door, and, although I oiled the hub and spokes correctly, and started the lacing OK, when it came time to twist the hub, I twisted the wrong way. This would have placed two spokes crossing just above the valve, making it difficult to get a pump head on. The way I lace a wheel (the Musson method) is by putting all the trailing spokes on first, then all the leading spokes on one side, then the other. I saw the error when I had half the leading spokes on, so I undid them, turned the whole business the correct way, and tied 'em up again, before putting the leading spokes on the other side.

I'm blaming the cold garage. I did the fix in the warm bedroom, while The Excellent Wife (TEW) wasn't looking.

Below, a picture of the partly-laced rear wheel.

That was just after I fixed the error, and before I put the last spokes on. It's laced now, and in the garage awaiting tightening and truing (that's one process; I tried tightening first, and then truing, on the first wheel I built. It was Bohr-ing.)

(That's an inside joke. Niels Bohr, a physicist, is quoted as having said something like, "An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field." I've made a lotta mistakes in my bike wrenching, so I must be approaching expertise.)

The picture is to silence the one critic who complained about my first wheel build that I didn't post pics of the project to prove I did it... but can you imagine anything less interesting than pictures of a wheel each with a few more spokes?

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, but wet. I hope to put the rustproofing into the frame, and maybe I'll lace up the front wheel.

Edit 5:37pm: Front wheel is laced, too. This one went more smoothly than the first, although I did set a few spokes in the wrong rim holes, and had to backtrack. But the lacing is about 20% of the job; the proof is in the truing.


  1. Ergh... I've never laced or trued a wheel, too daunting and it seems a job that would be best done with the comfort of a sheltered space. I suppose photos of a semi laced wheel would be boring, unles you took a heap of them and stitched them together as a GIF then it'd be like an awesome time lapse film of a wheel being born. Good luck with the rear wheel.

  2. David - I had the same thoughts, until I got an illegal copy of Musson's book (see the "Musson method" link in the post). It's TERRIBLY written, but it's simple and complete for learning how to build wheels. I've read both Jobst Brandt's book and Gerd Schraner's (do a search for 'em), and, while they were good for theory, I didn't learn how to build a wheel from them. Musson's book was god enough that, after getting the illegal copy, I bought it; it's an e-book and you get updates forever. But don't bring it to literature class.