Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spoke Grabbin'

First, apologies to all. I have been busy and not able to get any writing in this past week.

So as penance, here is a Tool Time project:

The spoke grabber. This gadget comes in handy when you are working on a wheel that has straight pull(no J-hook) spokes or aero blades spokes(They lack the torsional strength of a round spoke and can really twist up) I also find them handy for holding the spoke with the occasional sticky nipple or when the spokes are really slim like Dt Revolutions.

First you need a fourth hand tool, the Hozan C-356. This is not a cheap tool so try and find a used one. The one pictured is one we retired after about 15 years of shop use. It was to worn to pull on cables but fit spokes great.

First thing you want to do is unhook the spring and then you can set the handles at a comfortable distance for your grip. (The upper handle moves freely)
Once you decide the grip. Take a punch and mark where you will drill thru the upper arm and the main body of the tool. You will need to tap this hole later so pick a drill for the size screw you plan on using. I used a 6x1mm screw which was a little big but what was handy when I decided to do this. I would use a 4mm screw if I did it again. Drill thru both pieces(with the grip in how you want it) using a bit to match your tap. Then go back and oversize the hole in the upper arm so that you are only tapping the hole in the main body. That way the screw you install will clamp the two pieces together. I did this with a drill press but you can free hand it with a hand drill. You want to be careful and clamp the tool to a table or block of wood if you do not use a press.

Tap the hole.

Now loop the free end of the spring on the screw and screw it down tight. Cut off the extra part of the upper arm. I used a chop saw for this but you can do it with a hacksaw.

I also put a hook in the lower arm to give a little extra something to keep it from slipping out of my hand. I removed the grip and cold bent the arm in a vice.

Done. I cannot claim credit for coming up with this mod. I got the idea from United Bicycle Tool, they sold these but I have not seen them in their catalog for many years. The one I got from them is about twelve years old. The one pictured took me about 45 minutes to make and works perfect.

It will work an any thing from a Dt Revolution(1.6mm) up to the large alloy spokes on a Mavic CrossMax

Have fun and don't put your eye out.