RKB rkbyers at verizon.net
Mon Oct 17 13:11:09 EDT 2005

The writer asks: "any secret to keeping wire wheels tight?"

The response is that I'm not entirely sure it is a secret as much as it is just an almost lost art.  Wires, of course, were designed to be lighter than a solid wheel.  With knock-offs, splined hubs and the ubiquitous leather hammer, it was an easy thing to change the wheel quickly.  However, spinners became hazardous, I suppose, when someone thought about the demise of Isadora Duncan one too many times. Thank God they didn't outlaw Bugattis..or maybe they did!
In any case, the purpose of  the wires is to stabilize the rim in at least two ways: it keeps the rim equidistant from the hub and it keeps the edge of the rim in line with the direction of the rotating wheel.  What I believe is happening to your friend is that the wheels are probably being balanced before they have been straightened.  If the wheels are not straight, they are more than likely out of alignment in both these directions and, because certain spokes are more stressed than others, which is to say some are doing the work that other spokes are not, the spokes will loosen even more often.
Truing a wire wheel is no job for an amateur, although I should just send you to the book or archives: (Sorry! Couldn't resist!)  Although I could reproduce the procedure here, I fear that would be counterproductive for this forum.  Please contact me offline and I will try to brush away the cobwebs in my old brain and help you out.

Ron Byers,
Largo, FL

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