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Wheelwright's Trade
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Ed Marchese    Posted 10-15-2002 at 18:55:15       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Am posting this as a new topic in response to Bob’s posting regarding Antique Farm Wagons, (

For anyone who might be gathering information for their home library regarding the “art” of the wheelwright’s trade I’m happy to share the resources that I’ve accumulated in my spare time from the research and Internet searching I've done. Haven’t built anything yet but hope to someday. Have to retire first in order to find the time. But I keep accumulating info anyway. I haven’t found one all “inclusive” text, resource, or book that explains it all. Thus I just keep gathering “stuff” as I find it. Sometimes it’s just photos on the internet of wheels and wagons for sale that provide useful knowledge. (a picture can be worth a thousand words)

Happy to share what resources I've accumulated.

Books, Resources and Info:

“Practical Carriage Building”, Richardson, Astragal Press, ISBN: 1-879335-50-6

“ The Wheelwright’s Shop”, Sturt, Cambridge Univ. Press, ISBN: 0521091950

“Wagons for the Sante Fe Trail”, Gardner, Univ. of New Mexico Press, ISBN: 0-8263-2198-8

“Working Wagon Wheels”, (excellent!) ISBN: 1-58404-003-3,

“Making Wheels Easy”, (excellent!) ISBN: 1-58404-009-9,

“John Deere Buggies and Wagons”, Hughes, Amer. Society of Agri. Engineers, ISBN: 0-929355-71-7

“Horse Drawn Vehicles”, Berkebile, Dover Publications, ISBN: 0-486-26020-8

“Wheelmaking: Wooden Wheel Design and Construction”, Peloubet, Carriage Museum of America ISBN: 1879335735

Some other books that I found searching
“Coach-Makers' Illustrated Hand-Book”, I.D. Ware (Editor)
“The Restoration of Carriages” George L. Isles
“American Carriages, Sleighs, Sulkies, and Carts”, Donald H. Berkebile “Carriages and Sleighs”
“Horse-Drawn Carriage Catalog”, Elkhart Manufacturing Company (neat site!) Books, tools, even classifieds of wagons for sale! Western Canadian Wheelwright’s Association (Their website says, “The WCWA is preparing a manual on Wheelwright. It is expected to be available in the spring of 2002. “ Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop Wagon Plans Carraige Building and Allied Trades (books)

Stutzman Wheel Shop, Noah M. Stutzman, 33656 C.R. 12, Baltic, OH 43804 (Amish builder of wagons, and wagon supplies, wheels, miniature wagaons, etc.) Horse Drawn Vehicle Books

Witmer Coach Shop, 1070 West Main St., New Holland, PA 17557 717-656-3411 Clemm Wheel & Wagon Works Werner Wagon Works Justin Carriage

Last, but not least, "The Budget", Sugarcreek Budget Publishers, Inc., PO Box 249 ,134 North Factory Street, Sugarcreek, OH 44681, 1-330-852-4634. Old fashioned amish newspaper that has numerous ads and classifieds for wagon supplies and suppliers.

Jan Bentley    Posted 10-28-2007 at 18:51:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I love this list, my husband is restoring an old small buckboard for me. I thought my horse was goinna die before he got to pull it! He's 22 so I don't know how long he has to work on it! Just trying to find some pictures to do the front end. There are no wagon wheels anymore, they had been replaced with motorcycle tires. Kinda neat I think. Again thanks for putting this list together and putting it out there!

Judith Balcombe    Posted 11-15-2005 at 11:09:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Try the following web site

John    Posted 07-19-2003 at 19:26:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Do any of you guys have the name of someone who could restore the wheels of a World War I cannon we have in our local park? It probably originally had oak wheels, but somewhere along the line someone replaced them with pine wheels. They're rotting away.
If you know someone, please contact me. Thnx.

Bob /Ont.    Posted 10-15-2002 at 19:43:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Ed, I wish some of the people that buy an old wagon or buggy to use for a lawn ornament would read one of those books. Then they would understand how much work they where destroying by parking it on the lawn they water all the time, letting the wheels sink into the mud and rot, instead of just putting a brick or block of wood under each wheel.

Penelope Clay    Posted 11-12-2008 at 15:05:52       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Ed Marchese    Posted 10-15-2002 at 20:49:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
It IS interesting (sad actually) to see an old wagon or wheel sitting on someone's front lawn rotting away. The first thing that ALWAYS goes through my mind IS the amount of time and effort that went into building the item and if the builder could see what is happening to their work now. (&^%$#@!!!) Years ago I mentioned to a friend of mine who had 2 wagon wheels on his front lawn that he was slowing turning them into compost and they were rotting away. His response was, "Yeah.... and....???" Any further reply or commentary on my part was useless.

The two books from the folks are my favorite. A really novel approach to making REAL working wagon wheels. I spoke to the guy once who wrote those books and he said his "method" of making spoked wooden wagon wheels had become somewhat of a "standard" amongst "amateur" wheelwrights. Probably because he shows you how to fabricate the hubs without relying on mortise and tenon work. And he said his wheel making design is just a rugged as the "real" wheels and you can't "see" the difference really.

The catalogs from the suppliers like Stutzman, Hansen and Witmer are really great reading all by themselves. You pick up alot of terminology from them.

Earlier this year I took a trip to Williamsburg and really enjoyed talking to the guys at the wheelwright's shop down there. They said they're always looking for folks to join their wheel and wagon making team.

In the meantime I have too many projects on my "spare time" plate to pursue any serious wheelmaking activities. Maybe someday. Will pass along any new resources I run across. That Canadian Wheelwright's association group looks interesting.

Keep them wagons rolling!

Madonna Young    Posted 11-12-2008 at 23:36:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Dan G/Soganofla    Posted 10-15-2002 at 20:25:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
Bob, I couldn't agree more. I have a wonderful old wagon in my shed, that has one wheel rotted out from this very treatment. If I ever find another wheel to match the other 3, I'm gonna put it on the road again. Maybe Ed will make me one.

Joyce Shaw    Posted 09-08-2007 at 19:28:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Daughter just gave me an early Christmas gift. It is a very old buckboard wagon. It needs some repairs. Where is the best place to find a picture of how it should look. The seat needs a new back and 2 wheels are missing a spoke. Husband willing to restore but need to know what it looked like to start with. It has an adjustable wood board so you can lengthen for hauling larger items.

Bob /Ont.    Posted 10-15-2002 at 20:41:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Dan, why don't you give it a shot yourself. If you read up on it I bet you could do it. I think the good wheels must have been made from oak, it's not too water resistant but is tough. If you got a good piece of straight grained wood and heated it with steam it should be able to bend to the right arch. then splice it in and dowell it.I think that would be strong enough for a show wagon. The rim or tire as it is called should be smaller than the wheel. you would need to make a ring of cement blocks to set the wheel on and keep it up off the hub, then heat the tire up and pound it on when you are finished.
Later Bob

DeadCarp    Posted 10-15-2002 at 19:24:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
Boy, you really get into it don't you Ed? I'm surprised you haven't gathered an old ragetty wheel and started pulling a spokeshave to restore it. :)

There's an Amish fella down the road who fixes wheels from all over - his beard is greyer than mine, stays busy all the time and claims he never yet advertized.

Dan G/Soganofla    Posted 10-15-2002 at 19:18:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks for posting that, Ed. That's quite a bit of documentation on the art of wheel making!
I wish you the best of luck in your aspiration to become a wheelwright. I doubt if anyone could make a living at it, nowadays, but it would be a wonderful craft to know and share with others. Most folks, these days, have no clue about the skill it takes to produce a good wheel, the old-fashioned way.
I wish I had the patience to learn it.

Valeria Puckett    Posted 11-12-2008 at 23:11:55       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Pitch    Posted 10-16-2002 at 06:00:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
All the Amish round here have fiberglass wheels on their buggies carts and buckboards and steel on their heavey equipment

Kathie Nunez    Posted 11-12-2008 at 21:41:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Burrhead    Posted 10-15-2002 at 19:10:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks Ed.

Hilda Berg    Posted 11-12-2008 at 21:10:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Hm..??    Posted 10-15-2002 at 19:04:10       [Reply]  [No Email]

Terrence Berger    Posted 11-13-2008 at 02:57:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]

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