Please feel free to explore the following links for more information.
The wheel on the left is from a Stanley steamer and is an example of a 29" wood felloe wheel that could be found on a 20 hp. vehicle from around 1908.
Calimer's Wheel Shop will begin it's 43rd.. year of operation in 2023 producing high quality wheels for antique automobiles. I strive to make them durable and true running as the originals were. Every attempt is made to make them duplicates of the originals, where feasible. This requires much hand work and the knowledge that comes from experience. My goal is to supply the best quality wooden wheels available for the antique automobile.
I make almost all types of wood wheels for automobiles. I do not specialize in one make or model. I have made many wheels for everybody's favorite the Model T Ford. I also have reproduced early Mercedes wheels. I have several hundred spoke patterns in my pattern collection that came from many makes and models of automobiles.
The wheel on the right is from a 1921 Overland.
Calimer's Wheel Shop began in January 1980 when I returned home to take over my father's wheel and carriage shop because of his health problems. I had been working at the Hershey Medical Center, after my graduation from Penn State University, in the microbiology department, where I had been a technician doing work on rat liver cancer cells.
I have been around wooden wheels all my life, since my father and grandfather were blacksmiths and wheel wrights working in their trades. People began bringing automobile wheels to my father to repair and rebuild over the years. I became interested in them while working in his shop in the early 1970's.
Automobile wheels are different than carriage wheels because of the precision required to make them uniform, unlike carriage wheels that can differ some in their construction from wheel to wheel. This need for precision and the challenge of producing a unique product intrigued me.
When I returned in 1980, I decided that if Calimer's Wheel Shop were to be a success I would need to be able to build an automobile wheel that was accurate and strong and would last a long time. This has been my goal.
The wood of choice for auto wheels in America is hickory. Hickory is the primary wood used for wheels because it is strong and flexible. Some other woods are stronger or harder, but the combination of strength, toughness, yet flexibility has not been found in any other hardwood. Wheels require such a wood to last. Oak is not used in auto wheels because it can shatter across the grain.
The wood I use is bought locally from mills. I stack it to air dry and then make the necessary wood parts. The parts, spokes and felloes (the wood rim), are then dried in a kiln. The wheel is built using these dry parts. This is an effort to ensure that the wheel you receive will last a long time. It should remain tight for many years.
All the wood I use in the automobile wheels is FAS hickory (FAS -First and Second grade lumber is premium lumber with few or no defects). The spokes are kiln dried. Felloes are air dried, steamed and bent, and then kiln dried.
It is requested that the customer provide some or all of the following to my shop when new wheels are to be built: (if possible)
If you do not have a spoke to
make a pattern, I may have it. If need
can modify a pattern that I have to make what you need, or I can hand
pattern for your wheel, if I have some specifications.
Sample spoke patterns.
All shipping cost is the owners responsibility. It is not included in the price.
The best way to send wheels to me is by UPS, or FedEx with one wheel in a cardboard box. UPS and FedEx will handle up to 150 pounds. Most wheels weigh from 30 to 70 pounds each, depending on the automobile.
You can get rates from www.ups.com or www.fedex.com
Shipments from overseas are best handled on a case by case basis because of the many different carriers available.
Making SpokesBending Felloes
I do not supply any metal rims. However, listed below, there are several sources of people who are making new rims.
Coker Tire Co. Do a search for "rims"
Universal Tire Co.
Amercan Vintage Rims Supplies clincher and split rims for Model T Fords
McLaren Manufacturing Makes wire wheels for Model T Fords
Veteran Car Rims
101 Harman St., Addington Christchurch 8024 , New Zealand Phone +64 3 338 4307
Roll rims like clincher and straight sides type rims and perhaps some others.
Hopefully one of these suppliers can be of help to you.