Creating great wheels depends on a variety of skills, from component selection to spoke tension. Build speed does not improve wheels, but boy, what a difference if you want to make a living at it. For racing, speed is an obvious goal and I would submit it is no less important for wheel building. No matter how much you love building there is little hope you will do it often if you can’t build quickly.
Repetition builds speed. A relaxed attitude reduces errors. A thorough approach helps get in the “zone.” Focus keeps you there. Most fast builders are not sure what makes them quick. It often takes years, and the “how” doesn’t need analysis. They may be interested in helping but not much use.
The biggest contributor to building speed is your system: a set of procedures that link seamlessly so a build flows, as if downhill. Describing your system may be difficult for veterans because some habits are not really part of the system. Music choice, facing east, a favored beverage… personal preferences, not speed boosters.
Wheel Fanatyk is assembling a system for hand building over a several year period. Some elements are technique, some are tools, none necessary, you can pick and choose. Everything we carry is dedicated to making the build faster (and more enjoyable). We can’t teach perfectionism and customer commitment. You bring that.
Hundreds have one of our Shufflers and the pin vise that picks up a nipple to start on the threads. Next, once laced, spokes need setting into their path and you must then tighten each nipple to the same approximate distance on its spoke. Something like a Holy Driver is needed, spun by drill or by hand. Starting last week, we send each Holy Driver with a section of 15g wire, required as the tool’s probe but sometimes not at hand. Tip: to use this tool for building 15g nipples the probe must be smaller than 15g. Try the butted center of a spoke like DT Revolution or Sapim Laser.
Uh oh, an important step, prior to shuffling and lacing, has been ignored: oiling nipples at once. The fastest builders already do and our latest product makes it quick and easy for anyone: soaking nipples in oil and letting them drain before lacing puts lubricant in the threads and between the nipple and rim without going back to each spoke with a drip bottle.
Behold the Wheel Fanatyk Nipple Bath, a perfect sized jar in eco-friendly PP to fill partway with oil. Which oil? Your choice. Pedro’s, Triflow, Boeshield, Dumonde, there are many candidates. How about something organic and good smelling? By the way, pre-oiling nipples does not interfere with popular thread preparations or post-assembly wicking compounds. To be certain of your combination, test on a bare spoke and nipple. Easy.
Our stainless steel strainer holds up to several hundred nipples. The handle is a double threaded, 14g spoke attached with 4 stainless locknuts.
Dip a batch of nipples, let them soak, and then hang the strainer on the jar edge for draining.
Next, dump the drained batch into your handy Shuffler (or equivalent). For the inevitable few remaining drops, we announce the Wheel Fanatyk Drip Tray. Well-oiled hardwood is impervious to lubes and can be emptied into the Bath jar. It perfectly fits our shufflers.
These tools will improve your build speed and enjoyment. Of course you can always fashion a DIY bath: an empty 6oz yogurt container punched with holes and a larger, perhaps cottage cheese, basin. Important thing is DO IT. Don’t wait.
The Nipple Bath is $22USD and the tray, $20USD. Trays are made from remnant hardwood, same as our Shufflers. To keep it simple, they’re not sold by species, just assorted luxurious woods and grains. For example, today’s inventory includes mahogany, myrtle, ash, oak, cherry, and maple.
Combine art and speed in your craft. It’s part of getting to the next level!