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Wooden Spoke Repairs

My D40 Rugby has developed a small clicking noise in the right hand front wheel, once per revolution, while going slowly around a right hand corner. It appears to be happening due to a little bit of looseness in a couple of spokes where they protrude through the fellow. The timber has either shrunk or slightly deteriorates. My thought is to drill a hole in the spoke the exact size of the hole in the fellow and to epoxy a short hardwood dowel into the end of the spoke. Has anybody used this method? Any thoughts?


Where Are You From? Australia

Do You own a car built by Durant? Rugby D40

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

Hi Keith;
I don't think if it were me I'd glue a dowel to the end of the spoke. The spokes hold the weight of the car on them at times and the amount of pressure going around a corner can be great. I'd either build the part up with a good epoxy maybe like we have over here JB weld, or have a new spoke made. There is a company in Pennsylvania over here that will make you one for about $45.00 U.S. per spoke the last I heard. I just took my wheels all apart and thank goodness my spokes all looked real good. I hope none of them shrunk. Another thing that I found out on the AACA forum is that many of the old timers used to fun their cars through a creek or stream to let the moisture get back into the spokes. Don't know if that is an option or not, but many of them have said they have done just that to get the moisture back into the wood. Just some thoughts.

Where Are You From? Oviedo, Florida

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1928 Durant Model 65 4 door

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

Hi Keith,

I had the same problem on my model 60 with both front wheels as they were original. When I had the spokes replaced, the wood wheel guy that I used in Vancouver, WA said that soaking the wheels in water wood tighten the area around the hub but typically didn't do much for the ends of the spokes as they were worn down from rotating in the fellow holes. He also showed me some old spokes that had been drilled into the ends and a dowel added. This worked all right going down the road in a straight line but when turning it would load up the spoked so they split out the sides.
There are some "c" clip shims out there that I have seen that were used to take up the clearances but again that only worked for the short term.


Where Are You From? portland, OR

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1929 Model 60

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

I tightened the wood spokes on my '18 Overland with a product called Kwik Poly, http://kwikpolyllc.com/ My wood spoke wheels had wood fellows rather then steel but it may be something that would work for your application...Anyway, this Kwik Poly is a two part poly resin that is as thin as water and will soak into the wood and joints and sets up in minutes, you keep coating it as long as it will drink it, it will add strength to the wood and tighten the joints...As an added thought, I am wondering if you could remove the hub bolts, seporate the hub then drive wood wedges between the end of the spoke and hub quill then use the resin...If you sand your spokes first the Kwik poly will leave a nice finish.

Where Are You From? Yuma, AZ / Leavenworth, WA

Do You own a car built by Durant? A-22 Touring / model 40 Coupe / 25 Flint

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

Let me share my experience.
Almost seven years ago had a lot of noise when driving. Possible origins: 1)loose clinchers, 2)spokes ends (hub side)displacement 3)spokes ends (rim side)displacement.
Solved 1) just fitting clinchers to rim edge and with good tightening
Solved 2) dismantling spokes from wheel and re-assembling according the procedure explained in Partner (central threaded rod) and stainless steel thin shims between spokes, embeded in a special resin (used for antique wood furniture repair, low viscosity that filters in moth caves and embed wood fibers. This required a certain try and error until got the adequate shim thickness
Solved 3) threading in the spoke end towards the hub two to three long (2") and very thin screws leaving heads protruding as much as original spokes did. After that made a bound with mastique arround each end of spoke leaving the heads inside the bound. Also sealed the inside rim arround the spoke and poured one by one the end of the spoke with the epoxi resin mentioned before. Had to fill one a time in order to fill the bund reproducing the end of the spoke to the top.
Some time ago after the elimination of noise and loosenes disassembled the wheel to replace tires and they where as I had left them some years and thousand miles ago.

Best regards and good luck.


Where Are You From? Argentina

Do You own a car built by Durant? M2 Rugby Touring 1928

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

Yes Mike that is true. Old timers used to drive cars into stream / creek's to swell the wood, to tighten them up. Or give a good hosing down as well for same purpose. Another was pulling hub plate, putting shims between hub end of spoke and hub to force spokes to the rim, then putting plate back on. I did the shim thing on my 1930 614 sedan in the 60's and owner after me mid 70's still had same wheels / shims when he drove it for years.

Can't imagine constant soaking before break down of the wood and finding new wheels to replace them. Maybe switch to wire or disk instead. Mind you back then there were lots of wood spoke wheels everywhere. One off a different car would probably work. In 1916 Ford T and 490 Chevy used same non demountable wheels and ball bearings. 1917 490 became part of GM amd made their own wheels. I was told who made the 1916 wheels for both Ford and Chev but I can't recall that company's name now. Could have made them for other co's as well, I imagine.

My bro made a trailer for moving bedding plants when he owned a nursery. I found him a 1929 Chevy front axle and springs, with wood spoke wheels in an abandoned gravel pit. Wood wasn't the best, so I then got 29 Ford A front hubs, bearings, and wire wheels. They fit perfectly on the Chevy spindles. He hauled that for years no problem.

Where Are You From? Ottawa Ont

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1932 614 sedan

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

Ricardo has the right idea. A friend of mine has a period correct wheel spoke repair kit. It is a jack which fits between the spokes at both the hub and the fellow. You jack out the fellow and insert some small shims between the spoke and the fellow. Do this to all the spokes and the wheel is now tight. My 22 has the original wheels and spokes. This tool was used on it 25 years ago with great results.

Where Are You From? maryland

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

Thanks for all the replies. I now have the fellow and find that when I restored the car about 35 years ago I removed and painted the spokes. I thought the ends may be rotted but that is not the case. They are still nicely painted and solid. It looks like I will need to find some 2 pack epoxy that I can pour and fill/ wick up the small gaps between the spokes and the fellow.

Where Are You From? Australia

Do You own a car built by Durant? Rugby D40

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

I eventually found something to wick down past the end of the spokes. Not all spokes were loose and these would not accept the liquid. I used POR15 rust preventative paint. It is as thin as water and "sets hard as" rocks! I used the end of a scribe to drop the paint into the gap. Best done in low humidity as POR dries quickly when the weather is damp. To stop it running right through and down the spoke I placed some "Bluetac" around the base of the spoke where it meets the fellow. I did one spoke at a time with the wheel in a vice and spoke held vertically until the paint was dry. the best I could do was one spoke a day. All spokes are now tight and clicking has disappeared.

Do You own a car built by Durant? Rugby D40

Re: Wooden Spoke Repairs

I too have just found a loose wheel.

Keiths idea of using blue tac around the spokes works well, the only difference is I used a product call Quik fix.
It consists of 2 parts, one is a fine graphite like talc powder, and the other a water like curer.

I sealed around the spoke with bluetac and the forcing the spoke to one side I slowly poured the powder aound the spoke and fellow. Being fine it fell into the gaps, once no more could go in, I then used the curing agent, this sets the powder rock hard. I completed all 12 spokes in an hour and put the wheel back on.

A friend then borrowed the rugby for a gangster night party that evening, and the wheel is holding fine. I will be looking at getting all spokes redone as they are painted and my wife wants wooden spokes to be varnished.

Where Are You From? Portland Australia

Do You own a car built by Durant? 29 D40 Tourer


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