What kind of lathe do I need to make wagon wheels?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by LSUFAN posted 08-28-2012 11:33 PM 2128 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LSUFAN's profile


3 posts in 2096 days

08-28-2012 11:33 PM

I am interested in getting into making wheels. I’m thinking the spokes will be 20-24 inches long. What kind of lathe would you guys recommend I get just to start out that wouldn’t break the bank? Any other advice about wheel-making is also welcome! Thanks!

-- Geaux Tigers!

5 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 08-29-2012 02:04 AM

A big one that turns really slow. You want it almost perfectly round before you even try turning. Maybe with a router on a trammel.

Generally, you would cut the fellows and then just turn them true after assembly on the hub. What are you going to do for tires?

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2690 days

#2 posted 08-29-2012 07:51 AM

Here’s some light reading on the subject of carriage and wheel building –

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2855 days

#3 posted 08-29-2012 08:09 AM

Check out the Woodwrights Shop

There is a two parter on a wheelbarrow

You dont need a lathe to make a wheel

I’ve made ships wheels, no lathe


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#4 posted 08-29-2012 04:24 PM

Plenty of tip, trick, & techniques at this site just click on photo’s.

Guess depends upon style of spokes & hubs going to make. Already mentioned do not need a lathe. Would think a saw and jigs for cutting wheel segments, and bandsaw & circle cutting jig plus assorted hand tools just as important.

Here is an inexpensive spindle lathe that will get you started. You can read user reviews here, HF web site and other message boards. Only need a roughing gouge, skew chisel, parting tool to get started.

An option might find useful for that lathe, or lathe without indexing feature is PSI’s universal indexing attachment. Will fit lathe spindle with 1” x 8 TPI, and swing of 10, 12, 14, 16 inches. While not really necessary comes in handy drawing layout lines on spokes & hubs while work still on lathe.

Good luck with your wheels.

-- Bill

View LSUFAN's profile


3 posts in 2096 days

#5 posted 08-30-2012 01:09 AM

Thanks for all the responses I have gotten about wagon wheels. I want to build the old style wagon wheel. Starting with the hubs and spokes, the felloes and tires. I have a lot to learn and more tools to buy. But this is project in progress, although I haven’t got started yet. I’ve bought a dvd on wagon wheels that was made by a wheelwright in Montana. And it showed me I have a lot to do before I make my first wheel. But I am ready to get started. Thanks again.

-- Geaux Tigers!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics