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From: (Jobst Brandt)
Subject: Re: home made spoke wind-up prevention tool?
Date: 15 Aug 2001 17:50:51 GMT

anonymous writes:

> I'm getting ready to build up my new front wheel, but my wife
> absolutely veto'd my request for a Twist Resist spoke gripper
> (something about already blowing over $200 on the parts for a front
> wheel, youngest kid needs diapers and milk and the oldest needs
> braces, yadda yadda).. Anyway, what do you think about maybe getting
> some needle-nose vice-grip pliers and sticking some protective leather
> pads to the jaw's. Think that would be a viable substitute for the
> $50.00 specialty tool?

Spokes cannot be restrained from twisting by using pliers unless you
damage the spoke, so forget it.  Enough people have tried and the
amount of creep that escaped them made the process useless.  Don't use
spokes too thin to resist twisting off.  Flat spokes are a special
problem but they offer a means of holding that works marginally.  That
is, the spoke is easily damaged at the wrench to spoke interface.

For spokes without a large difference between shaft and thread
diameter, twist can be taken out by backing off after adjusting spoke
nipples.  Unfortunately some 1.5mm diameter spokes also have an
enlarged thread diameter to 2.0mm that makes friction torque so great
it will twist off a spoke when attempting to bring it to proper
tension.  1.5mm diameter spokes were a rave in the 1950's and they
broke in the wheel building process so often that they were
discontinued.  Now they are back because means for unloading spokes at
the moment of adjustment have been introduced.

If you want to make a contribution to manual wheel building, make a
fixture with a lever that presses on the outside of the rim at the
spoke to be adjusted so that it can be done with light or no load.
Some wheel building machines have this feature.  I have not seen their
implementation but I can imagine how it works.  I don't build wheels
with flat or extra thin spokes so it is not a problem for me.  Wheels
with less than 24 spokes have this problem anyway because they must be
tightened (for 16 spokes) to more than twice the tension of a 36 spoke

Jobst Brandt    <>

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