A Wooden Bicycle Wheel


Its time for a new project, Christmas is long gone, the weather is getting marginally warmer, or at least warm enough to allow glue to cure properly and I have some time to play in between real work. So its time to have a go at something I have been thinking about for some time.

I have started to make a wooden bicycle wheel. If you go looking you discover that wooden bicycle’s and wooden bicycle wheels whilst not exactly mainstream have a steady and loyal following, with some superb examples of craftsmanship out there. The benefit of wooden wheels and wooden frames is that its a more flexible material than steel and helps to cushion the rider against the bumps and holes in the road, giving a more comfortable ride.

Unfortunately whilst there are lots of pictures and websites showing off the finished article there is very little to show you how to make one, so I have had to make it up as I go along, but that’s fairly normal for me. If I was making a carriage wheel, something I have done a number of times, I would make the rim in sections cut from a solid plank and joint it together, however a bicycle rim is really too thin to enable me to do this. Vintage bicycles that have wooden wheels use that method but then have a steel rim shrunk on, which this wont have, just a pneumatic tyre. I did consider steaming the wood, in the USA its quite a common method for carriage wheels, but in this instance I have decided to laminate the rim from strips of Beech wood.

I started off by cutting out a circle in 25mm ply to act as the former in which I can mould the wheel. I then cut some 5mm strips of wood, with one thick side planed the other side left sawn for maximum glue adhesion. The picture above shows the now 5 ply laminated rim, glued up and drying, so tomorrow we find out if my plan will work or will it be time for plan B.


This entry was posted in craft, Diy, sport, work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Wooden Bicycle Wheel

  1. Sirio says:

    as you can see on my site, I love woodworking. Presently I am planning to make a wooden bicycle. I already have in mind haw to make frame and other components, but I am still in trouble with wooden rims.
    I sow that you worked on this issue, so I would like to ask you il you have some information or advises for me?
    thank Sirio

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