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Consensus on freeing TOC hubs

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Kennewick Man

Look Ma, No Hands!
That is a very valuable set of wheels and tires. Please do not do anything to them except maybe the John Deere tire elixir and maybe a light cleaning and application of a light coat of furniture oil to the rims! @Drosentreter , the JD spray doesn't hurt the wood rims; it actually rejuvenates the finish binders a bit.

A tip, when applying the John Deere liquid, do not spray! You will end up wasting a heap of it. Just pour a bit in a small bowl or jar and apply with a small piece of sponge or a paint brush. One bottle will then go a long way.

If the intention is to make the bike a rider than please listen to @C M Gerlach Chris's post #13. The cost will be lower than the value you will lose by blowing those wheels apart! If you are budgeting, then find a pair of 28" English wheels to use until you can upgrade down the road or find an affordable wood rideable wheel set. Many of us have two sets of wheels for our bicycles; the cherished originals that are safely saved and the second rider wheels.

Good luck! Please post pictures of the tires and and bicycle for us to see. I am very curious as those hubs/wheels are sexy as Mr. McCauley would say!
Thanks for your expertise here and I hope to post photos as soon as it’s complete. Btw, the bike is an Overman Wheel Company Victor from around 1895-96.
 

Rusty McNickel

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I agree with most here and was going to reserve comment; it would be most unfortunate to disturb that wonderful wheel set.

Having said that, and if you insist on taking another route, I would be very interested in any spokes that were salvaged from either wheel. Good as gold.
 

Kennewick Man

Look Ma, No Hands!
I agree with most here and was going to reserve comment; it would be most unfortunate to disturb that wonderful wheel set.

Having said that, and if you insist on taking another route, I would be very interested in any spokes that were salvaged from either wheel. Good as gold.
I learned a lot from the responses I received from my initial question. A thing that I’ve had to realize over time that I should listen to people that are more knowledgeable than me and this is the perfect time to continue doing so. With that said, I’m planning to keep the wheel sets intact.
Thanks for expressing interest!
 

Rusty McNickel

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I learned a lot from the responses I received from my initial question. A thing that I’ve had to realize over time that I should listen to people that are more knowledgeable than me and this is the perfect time to continue doing so. With that said, I’m planning to keep the wheel sets intact.
Thanks for expressing interest!
You're welcome. In this realm, the vultures are always ready to pounce.
 

Legislator

Look Ma, No Hands!
I personally don't have a ton of experience with TOC hubs, but I have experience building thousands of bicycle wheels of many different types, and would also recommend not disassembling your current wheelset (relatively few professional wheelbuilders today tie and solder). In my experience, special tools are used in building straight pull wheels to resist spoke winding, since you do not have a bent elbow to rely on to resist twisting.

I am most curious about the way that those spokes sit in the hub flange, as the spoke appears to become almost square rather than round close to it's head. @Kennewick Man do you have a few more even closer pictures of the hub flanges? If those spokes are square at the flange, that would make building them far less annoying than a modern straight pull wheel once you source spokes.

Cool wheels either way!
 

Kennewick Man

Look Ma, No Hands!
I personally don't have a ton of experience with TOC hubs, but I have experience building thousands of bicycle wheels of many different types, and would also recommend not disassembling your current wheelset (relatively few professional wheelbuilders today tie and solder). In my experience, special tools are used in building straight pull wheels to resist spoke winding, since you do not have a bent elbow to rely on to resist twisting.

I am most curious about the way that those spokes sit in the hub flange, as the spoke appears to become almost square rather than round close to it's head. @Kennewick Man do you have a few more even closer pictures of the hub flanges? If those spokes are square at the flange, that would make building them far less annoying than a modern straight pull wheel once you source spokes.

Cool wheels either way!
If I’m to be honest here, I know absolutely nothing about wheel building. In fact, I ordered a book on the subject after beginning this project. It was obvious that this wheels were spoked in a unique fashion, I didn’t fully appreciate how difficult it is to replicate in modern times.

1750640


1750641


1750642


Take a look at these additional photos.
 

Legislator

Look Ma, No Hands!
Thanks for the additional pictures, there is definitely more to the head area of those spokes than just round drawn steel. I can think of a few different ways to replicate that shaping using currently available stainless steel spokes (Modifying a Sapim brand "Strong" or "Force" straight pull blank is the first thought that pops into my head).

I am guessing that the straight pull flange version of those TOC hubs is quite a bit less common than the version that takes a standard j-bend spoke. My wheelbuilding experience makes me think that given the 24h/32h combo and tied & soldered crossings, that those were a pretty hot rod wheel set when they were new.

Doing spoke length calculations for straight pull hubs is not as straight forward as more traditional wheel building math, but it's do-able. If you locate another set of those hubs and want it built into a more modern wheel set to use as a rider set and you have questions, feel free to message me. Most of my wheelbuilding work now is modern stuff, but I started on old Schwinns and the like and have done plenty of rebuilds on old stuff too.

Best of luck with your project. If you do decide to mess around with truing your old wheels, getting some 4 sided spoke wrenches of various sizes as well as a Dudly brand adjustable spoke wrench (a favorite of mine still for spoke replacement jobs on tubular rims, or rims set up tubeless when the nipple is still good) will help you out alot. Wheel Fanatyk sells some of the less common 4 sided spoke wrenches, and Ric who runs the outfit is top class.

Best wishes on your project,
-Gram
 

Kennewick Man

Look Ma, No Hands!
Thanks for the additional pictures, there is definitely more to the head area of those spokes than just round drawn steel. I can think of a few different ways to replicate that shaping using currently available stainless steel spokes (Modifying a Sapim brand "Strong" or "Force" straight pull blank is the first thought that pops into my head).

I am guessing that the straight pull flange version of those TOC hubs is quite a bit less common than the version that takes a standard j-bend spoke. My wheelbuilding experience makes me think that given the 24h/32h combo and tied & soldered crossings, that those were a pretty hot rod wheel set when they were new.

Doing spoke length calculations for straight pull hubs is not as straight forward as more traditional wheel building math, but it's do-able. If you locate another set of those hubs and want it built into a more modern wheel set to use as a rider set and you have questions, feel free to message me. Most of my wheelbuilding work now is modern stuff, but I started on old Schwinns and the like and have done plenty of rebuilds on old stuff too.

Best of luck with your project. If you do decide to mess around with truing your old wheels, getting some 4 sided spoke wrenches of various sizes as well as a Dudly brand adjustable spoke wrench (a favorite of mine still for spoke replacement jobs on tubular rims, or rims set up tubeless when the nipple is still good) will help you out alot. Wheel Fanatyk sells some of the less common 4 sided spoke wrenches, and Ric who runs the outfit is top class.

Best wishes on your project,
-Gram
Thanks, Gram, for the generous offer. I’m currently hunting for a duplicate set of hubs to build into something rideable but I presume it may be a while. When that day comes, I’ll be sure to reach out to you directly if the offer still stands.

-TaVaris
 

FreedomMachinist

Finally riding a big boys bike
Great discussion to leave this wonderful wheelset as it is - you are doing the right thing- those fancy hubs with the straight pull spokes with soldered crossings should (or better must) stay intact - your bicycle will stay original and complete and if you ever intent to sell it, the value will be higher with intact rims- and even better with OG tires ! Please stay away from trying to make this set rideable - just conserve and enjoy.

I also have the strong urge to ride my bikes and fabricating / buying a spare wheel set just is the very best thing to do - even if the hubs aren't period correct and you will certainly have tires clinchers instead of tube tires: but all this doesn't matter, since you still have the original set for display at home.

If you need help on sourcing new, but old-looking steel rims, I can assist.
Also, there is a great book about wheel-building online:
 

Kennewick Man

Look Ma, No Hands!
Great discussion to leave this wonderful wheelset as it is - you are doing the right thing- those fancy hubs with the straight pull spokes with soldered crossings should (or better must) stay intact - your bicycle will stay original and complete and if you ever intent to sell it, the value will be higher with intact rims- and even better with OG tires ! Please stay away from trying to make this set rideable - just conserve and enjoy.

I also have the strong urge to ride my bikes and fabricating / buying a spare wheel set just is the very best thing to do - even if the hubs aren't period correct and you will certainly have tires clinchers instead of tube tires: but all this doesn't matter, since you still have the original set for display at home.

If you need help on sourcing new, but old-looking steel rims, I can assist.
Also, there is a great book about wheel-building online:
Thanks for the advice. Funnily enough, I bought that exact book after encountering this conundrum. I wasn’t aware that there was a free digital version!

When thinking about building a rideable wheel set, what should I look for in a hub? Clearly the dimensions matter but it also has to be compatible with the chain ring. Does that mean that I’m stuck having to locate the exact same hub in order to render it ridable?
 
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