Wheel building is an art if it is done properly. Many wheel come into our work shop from all over the UK for rebuilding and refurbishing. For example a pair of wheels were bought to us that not only needed respoking but needed new rims as they must have sat out in the rain for years as some of the spokes were dangerously loose with the nipples still attached to them. A look at the hub showed a couple of hair line cracks near the spoke holes. After taking the break plate off it was noticed that the wafer thin brake lining had become detached due to the brass rivets decaying and the drum desperately needed reskimming.
This was a complete wheel restoration. The customer was happy to purchase the rims and the spokes from one of the big suppliers as long as I wrote down all the dimensions and rim type that was required. Having gleaned all the information, I passed it onto him. I asked why he came to me for his wheel building. He said I was recommended by someone in his motorcycle club because I could do a set of wheels in a couple of days if required. This was not strictly true. If someone sends me the spokes and the rims to build there wheels I can do them for the next day. This is approximately 5 to 7 weeks faster then Hagons and Central Wheels. While I was waiting for the rims, spokes and nipples to be posted to me I got on with the task of refurbishing the hub. The first thing to do is to blast all of the paint and rust remnants off, so as to give a good clean bare metal finish.
The hub was then sprayed to give its original black colour. New bearings had to be fitted and a set of felt seals and dust covers were made in our work shop as well as a new wheel spindle. This had to be done to both front and back wheel. The small cracks in the rear cast iron hub around the spoke holes were cast iron welded prior to painting. The break plate was aqua blasted and new bronze bushes were pressed in and then finished reamed to size for the brake shoe actuator. The break shoes where of pressed steel and then aqua blasted and the ends of the shoe that the brake actuator bares on were built up with weld and remachined to spec.
The pads where ancient asbestos ones, there’s a lot of replacement ones out there that are made of modern materials. We stock all break lining materials for all models and eras. Some people like to see riveted brake linings as per the original ones that were fitted. Most relining companies although very thin on the ground now like to resin bond the lining on, skipping out the riveting process.
We will do whatever the customer wants. By the time we had finished all the refurbishment which came to 9 ½ hours we waited for the rim’s etc to arrive. 4 days later they were delivered, within 3 hours I was able to phone the customer up and tell the customer that they were ready to be picked up.
The final part of the wheel building process was to set the complete wheel up on the big lathe so we could machine the brake drum to just clean up.
The break plate with shoes and linings fitted were set up in the lathe on a dummy spindle and the linings were machined in the lathe to the exact bore dimensions of the hub. “Hey presto” all done.