Sorting spokes is a task that is guaranteed to come up during the processes of de-spoking and wheel building, and occasionally at other times. It is a very simple thing to do.
Measuring spokes is a process made easy by a ruler designed for the purpose. They are anodized blue and have special holes on them for hooking and measuring spokes.
- Hook the spoke into the hole.
- Pull the spoke straight, do not to angle it to one side or the other.
- Check the length further down the ruler.
NOTE: The drawers in the spoke motel are 2mm apart; if the spoke is in between two sizes, file it with the shorter size.
When to scrap
- Drawer is full: If the drawer is full and some of the spokes are in better shape than yours, you should scrap them.
- Spokes are rusty: If the spokes are fairly rusty, even if the drawer isn't full, they should be scrapped. Spokes are galvanized, so they rust white instead of brown.
WARNING: Do not rely on someone else's sorting abilities -- measure EVERY spoke you plan on using.
If you are measuring spokes to build a wheel, or measuring a spoke to replace a broken spoke in your wheel, there is one additional important instruction: always measure. If you need 280mm spokes, and you find a bundle of spokes in the 280 drawer with a tag on them that has 280 written on it, you must measure each spoke to make sure it's right. This will probably end up saving either work or confusion by the time you're done.
If you are trying to find nipples for spokes, there are two widths:
To check which size your spokes are, try to thread one into a 1.8mm nipple. If it doesn't go, it's a 2.0mm.
NOTE: These sizes have nothing to do with spoke wrench sizes.
WARNING: If you use 1.8mm spokes and 2.0mm nipples, the threads will strip out of the nipples once you tension the spoke.
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