Thursday, 26 November 2009

D.I.Y. Wheelwright

Our Marshall Threshing machine, similar to the one seen in the Tess of the D’Urbervilles film, had rotted wheels. It has been limping along for demonstration days on modified Land Rover wheels but Traditional wooded wheels were needed.
Armed with texts from the museum library, Albert and Peter set about building replacements using traditional materials and techniques. The Wheelwright shop at the museum provided original tools which we supplemented with a modern lathe, band-saw and planer.

Traditional Timbers were selected , Oak spokes, Ash felloes. The original hubs, cast iron (Artillery hubs) were retained .
Crucial to the success, was drawing the wheel, full size on a plywood base. We built the wheel on to this, checking angles and sizes as we worked.
When the wooden wheel was completed Steve measured it’s circumference calculated the size for the steel tyre to allow for contraction after heating to fit. He cut and welded the original tyre to fit each wheel.
The tyres are heated to bright red to cause expansion, quickly dropped over the wheel, then cooled to cause it to shrink and grip the whole structure together.

Illustrations of stages in making the wheel.

Turned spoke end joint to the fellies

Hooping Plate used when fitting the rim.

Peter Ives
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