Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wooden Spoke Wheels To Come Apart - 1928 Chevrolet


It came to our attention on the weekend, well actually I had noticed it a few weeks back and that there was a slight "ticking" noise coming from the from right front wheel when I hung the ears out into the wind and had a good listen, but being the green novice that I am I thought it was a brake issue, but it was not to be.

When I pointed this out to Ray as we returned to the resto shed he grabbed the rubber mallet off the workbench and proceeded to lightly tap each of the wooden spokes on the right front wheel and sure enough one was quite loose, then the next wheel and the next were tested and sure enough there were about 2 or 3 on each wheel that had come slightly loose over the last 12 months and 1800 miles and if not fixed asap then they will only get worse with more miles driven on them.

So what needs to be done to repair this is that I will remove and fix one wheel at a time up on the workbench, unbolt and remove the brake drum and then push out the centre wheel hub to have only the wooden spokes remaining and still sitting and intact with the outer wheel rim and tyre.
Shimming material (very thin metal) is needed and you can buy it in sheet form, A4 size or thereabouts which comes in packs, but I am having trouble locating some at the moment but that has never stopped me before, and once I get my hand on it then it is cut into strips to match the width of the hub.
All that it takes then is a couple of loops around the hub with the shim to build out the width of the hub slightly and then the wooden spokes are carefully and slowly tapped back down tight and into place with a rubber mallet and while I am at it I will check and re-grease the bearings then install the wheel and move onto wheels 2,3,and 4. 

I will keep you posted and put up some photos when I start the repair

Cheers Grant

Saturday 4th May

Today I started to pull apart the right side front wooden spoke wheel and to my surprise when I removed the rim from the car I was greeted with this shattered bearing, not what I wanted see really.

The brake drum and hardware is next removed 

Next the wheel studs are punched out carefully

The wheel is then turned over and placed on the concrete floor for a firm surface to work on,
then with a block of timber and hammer carefully tap down each spoke and slowly make your way around the hub many times and slowly the hub will come up out of the timber while leaving them in place - to easy..

This one took me only 5 minutes to complete once I had the wheel off the car.

Now waiting on some shimming material to arrive, will post more info and pix soon - Cheers

My front wheels have now been shimmed, new bolts installed and everything is back together and yes when given the "hit" test with the hammer the wooden spokes now sound tight and now I will start on the rear wheels this coming weekend while I am waiting for a new front bearing to show up.

24 new galvanised bolts painted matt black and waiting for installation.

On the weekend just past 25/5/2013 it was a cloudy, very cool, typical autumn Gippsland day and with the kids both organised and doing their thing, I made my way out to the resto shed and removed both rear wheels from Monty, knocked out the hubs and re-shimmed them up nice and tight, now all four wooden spokes are completed but unfortunately I could not have a test drive out the highway or even around the block for that matter as I am still waiting on the new tapered bearing kit for the front end to arrive from the USA... Shouldn't be long now!


  1. hi grant,
    i use from time to time a b/b tin opened up and tapped flat, it can then be used for all sorts of shimming jobs, same applies to any other shimming job, Most tin cans can be flattened out and uses for anything...


  2. Very clever Grant, where did you learn how to do that?



  3. Ray you can also use the old blokes trick of backing it into the dam for a day.. the timber swells up and buys you a bit more time.

    I am just going to respoke my 1924 chev in the next few months.