Wheelbuilding, believe it or not, isn’t a dark art. It’s as much a matter of physics as any aspect of engineering. It takes dedication, the correct parts, and a bit of practice, and there’s little more satisfying than riding around on a pair of wheels you’ve built yourself.
If you’re inclined, there’s an array of tools available to make the job easy and enjoyable. Centring the wheel on its axle is called dishing, and to assist you with this, Washington’s Fred Lomax of Bicyclestarz gives you his handmade Wheel Dishing Tool.
Fred is a master craftsman and inventor who comes from a motorcycling background and developed the Wheel Dishing Tool after needing to build a set of wheels for his bicycle. He modified his motorcycle wheel balancing stand to become a bicycle wheel truing stand and, after sourcing the correct spokes, hubs and rims, learned how to build himself a pair of wheels.
“Then I realised the desire for a wheel dishing tool,” Fred tells us, “so I built one and this aligned with an idea I had to create a repeatable product I could make in my wood/metal shop. So shortly thereafter I had my first prototype Wheel Dishing Tool. The current WDT I am now producing is made from a beautifully engineered bamboo laminated panel.”
The WDT also consists of machined aluminium feet, magnets and aluminium riser blocks. The centre indicator rod is stainless steel, topped with a stainless hex-style thumb nut. The indicator release lever is bamboo, and securely holds the indicator rod in place, or easily drops the indicator foot to contact a hub surface with a push of the thumb.
The riser blocks are adjustable to dish 20″ to 29″ wheels with the tire mounted. The riser blocks are easily detachable and are stored in two holes where another magnet keeps them securely in place.
It’s a brilliantly designed and crafted bit of kit for any professional or enthusiast wheelbuilder. The Wheel Dishing Tool by Bicyclestarz is available through the website for US$225.