Back in May, I showed you some rims and spokes with a difference. A 111 year old bicycle being restored by an antiquarian in NYC was in need of some special attention with its wheels.
I was convinced new spokes had to be fabricated to fit wood, but modern clincher style, rims. After fretting over the various strategies to forge spherical spoke ends that would fit the unique hubs, months went by. My eventual strategy was to salvage the spherical ends by splicing them onto new shafts. That required super tiny tubing, known as hypodermic (duh), into which I could braze the ends. 68 times!
As Stephen patiently waited, I kept second-guessing myself. But the happy outcome was simpler than I suspected. By slightly counterboring the rim and shortening the spoke lengths, the original spokes could be used. Enough of their chrome (and charm) was still intact and only one spoke was missing. That one had to be fabricated.
You’ll laugh at the solution for the one missing spoke. An XL14 spoke with 1.5mm center was trimmed, then threaded to M1.6 and a matching nut soldered on. We’re talking tiny. When the nut was machined round, it was able to slip into the hub recess. The spoke length needed is so long, this hybrid spoke end had to be spliced to another with the hypodermic tubing I thought would be needed for every spoke. Whew, sure glad it was only one. Look closely to spot the spliced spoke among the rest:
Look how terrific the front hub and spokes look. Everything blends beautifully.
The wheels are now finally back in NYC. When the bike is complete, I hope to give you another glimpse.