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Thread: Best way to repair these spokes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    Best way to repair these spokes?

    These are spokes for a 200+ year old spinning wheel that I am repairing for the museum where I volunteer. It is a quite primitive walking or great wheel. Several of the spokes for the wheel have been broken off and crudely repaired over the centuries, I'm trying to do a proper job, conserving as much old material as possible (making new spokes would be trivial, but not in the spirit of the thing).

    The tenons are broken off where the spokes are set into the hub. You can see they are about 6-8 mm in diameter at that end and some have cracks running into the spoke.

    My first thought is to attempt to drill into the end of the spoke to make a socket, into which I can set a dowel made from matching wood and recreate the tenon that fits into the hub. My second thought is to cut the spoke at an angle and scarf a new piece of wood on that I can form the tenon on.

    With the first method I have the seemingly difficult task of drilling a relatively large diameter hole straight into the end grain of a narrow diameter spoke, complicated by the fact that not all the spokes are as straight as the ones in the picture; they will be challenging to mount in a lathe. The second approach will be a more obvious repair and will cause me to lose some of the visible old wood.

    Any suggestions for a third thought? Any advice on the best way to drill into the narrow end of the spoke? I thought I might hand drill a small pilot hole (or rig up a drill press jig that will hold at least that end of the spoke parallel with the drill) and then follow it with progressively larger bits.

    This won't be used on a regular basis, but we do have someone who would like to demonstrate it, so it needs to be more than just held together cosmetically, if not as strong as new.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    IMG_1786.jpg IMG_1854.jpeg IMG_1853.jpeg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    sykesville, maryland
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    I would attempt to repair the cracks first using CA or epoxy. And insert dowels. It too short for doweling,then perhaps a splice would be OK, but I would mortise and tenon the splice with a long tenon. A drill press should drill straight enough to splice/dowel. You could oversize the new piece in a splice and turn it down straight if the drill is off too much.

  3. #3
    I would carve a tenon of a standard diameter on the spoke itself to avoid drilling into the spoke. Then, you can turn a piece to near diameter and drill a corresponding hole on the lathe to accept the formed tenon on the spoke.

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  4. #4
    I would use a scarf joint. Probably about 2 inches long. You can do most of the shaping after the gluing.

  5. #5
    Scarf joints are often used in finish carpentry (trim), but they are essentially end grain to end grain and are a weak joint. In trim work, the moldings are nailed on either side of the scarf joint. One could do a modified scarf, but there is limited material to work with.

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  6. #6
    Butt,Your Honor, I submit that a scarf joint 2 inches long...or a little longer does not constitute a butt joint. My clients
    love them and have often praised my skill.

  7. #7
    Mel, I am glad they work for you and especially glad your clients approve. Itís just that I have seen many of them fail over the years and it isnít the way I would make this repair.

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  8. #8
    Well, no offense taken....at least I don't have to pay a fine! for doing fine work!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Carterville, Illinois
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    374
    I think you could make a drilling jig to fit over the end of the spoke, with a hole centered along the axis of the jig. This would allow drilling a centered hole in the spoke to insert a dowel. If there is already a dowel in the spoke (I can't tell from the photos), drill a small hole in the dowel, and use a 1/8" chisel to work out the rest of the dowel. I have used both methods to fix similar situations, and they work pretty well.
    Tom
    The hurrier I goes, the behinder I gets.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
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    1,685
    There was not a dowel in the spokes, just a tenon turned on the end.

    I like the idea of a cap that would fit over the end of the spoke, going to have to give that one some thought.

    Were I to do the scarf I'd use hot hide glue to put it together. From my experience it would be plenty strong and easily refreshed when it fails in 50 or 100 years. I'm leaning away from that choice though as it will be quite obviously visible.

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Valparaiso In
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    156
    https://www.finehomebuilding.com/198...-loaded-dowelsI would drill the spindle and use a spring loaded dowel.

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