Reply To: Calimers wheel shop

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Hi- just as further information (and you can tell I spent some time in his shop); his father used to run the business, and as mentioned it is pretty much a one man shop now. In a good week, he turns out two sets of wheels (each set of 4 wheels). In this big world, 100 sets of wheels a year is pretty exclusive; most of the wheels he seems to make are the early brass cars it seems. He uses hickory if I remember correctly, it has to be cut a certain way with the grain to make the blanks. He has a machine into which he puts a good pattern (and can use one of the spokes off your car is one is good enough), and then it makes 6 or 8 spokes at a time from that pattern. He will choose better grain wood if you are going to stain and varnish wood wheels, but if to be painted grain appearance is not important. All wheel wood is put in a special room which reduces it to 1.5% moisture content. After dry (and it takes weeks to get to that low moisture content), he fits and assembles the wheels, and the moisture in the air rehydrates the wheel (I think normal wood is 30% moisture or more), swelling the wood to make a tight fit (remember the old trick of driving through a stream to tighten Model T wheels). Remember, a wood wheel is a compression wheel, with weight supported by bottom spokes of wheel at time of tire contact with road; wire wheels are suspension wheels, with weight of car supported by upper part of rim hanging from spokes. Then he has a machine which makes the hub hole true, and he finishes the wheel. It is all very low tech, but he turns out a true wheel which will last you another 100 years or more. All this trivia is rattling around in my head and am glad to let it out a little. Happy (Pierce or Franklin) Motoring! David Coco