Blog: Tooling

04 Jun 2013

Spokes in stock and on tap


My spoke inventory has been refreshed and most sizes are back in stock. I keep DT Swiss Competition and Revolution butted spokes on hand in both silver and black. I also keep a small stock of straight gauge spokes from DT, Sapim and Wheelsmith but these are mostly for repairs. As usual aero spokes and the gamut of colored spokes and nipples are available by special order.

Deciding what sizes to stock involves tough compromises for the precision-minded. It feels really expensive to keep 1mm increments on hand when that kind of error is tolerable (and industry standard). For that matter some spoke types are only produced in 2mm increments.

To mitigate this issue I’ve installed a Morizumi spoke cutting tool in my workshop. This is a precision machine, made in Japan, and a beauty to behold. It cuts and rolls spoke threads using the exact processes found in spoke manufacturing. It carries a substantial pricetag but seems worth it for the ability to deliver spoke lengths on demand.

05 Apr 2013

Wheelbuilding gone digital


It’s true that you don’t need a lot of equipment to work on wheels — you can eyeball alignment, feel tension with your hands, hear tension from plucking spokes, etc. I want to do better anyway.

I’ve incorporated three digital tools in my process. First, I use a Park Tool truing stand with Mitutoyo digital gauges. The roller tip on the lateral truing gauge is made of teflon to prevent scratches. Second, I use a Park dishing tool with a digital gauge attached so dish is known quantitatively. The next best alternative is using feeler gauges but digital is much faster. Last, and just recently, I’ve been using the Wheel Fanatyk digital tensiometer. The Wheel Fanatyk people are cool cats and I’ve updated my spoke tension utility to support their tool. Check it out!