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'The Making of "SARVEN’S" TYPE WHEEL to Scale' - by "Radish"

This is best read in conjunction with the earlier article on wheels in the ‘Tips and Ideas’ page.

I believe the “Sarven” Patent Wheel, (which is a specially designed hub reinforced with iron flanges which give the hub greater strength than the conventional wooden hub) was introduced and patented by a Mr. Samuel F. Smith of Indianapolis who had a large factory for the manufacture of wagon and carriage material. This type of wheel became very popular with the carriage makers after about 1850 onwards and the Americans used it extensively.

PICTURE 1. This drawing of the “Sarven” type hub is cut and pasted from the wheel drawing (one of seven drawings of the Cream Waggon). Notice the hub is in 3 parts, the inner flange (1), the washer (2), which should be a little less than the width if the spokes, and the outer flange (3). The drawings each side show a face on view of each flange and the 8 holes drilled in each to take a dressmakers pin.

You may come across this type of wheel fitted to many HDV. It is very fine in design and they were generally fitted to the fancier type of vehicles; i.e. --- The Landau, Brougham, Victoria, Phaeton and Canopy Top Surrey type vehicles to name but a few. These types of wheels can be made by the scale model maker, but they are a little bit more difficult to make, you will require a few jigs to be able to hold all the bits together whilst you are working on them.

Draw them to scale, adding every detail that you need to make for them. Double check the drawing that ALL is correct and then you can start. A lathe and a milling machine are/is required for making these wheels. I use a Unimat 3 for all the smaller pieces that I require. Start with making the AXLES,as descr ibed in the other article on wheels.

Here is the finished model of the 1/12th scale Cream Waggon made by Radish, showing the “Sarven” type hubs painted black.
PICTURE 2. Here you can see “Sarven” type hubs turned from brass, for the wheels of the 1/12th scale Cream Waggon. Notice that the wheel rims have a number of separate felloes, in this example 8 felloes on both the front and rear wheels. The wheels of the actual full size waggon were modified when one of the rear wheels got broken. The front wheels were put on the rear axel and the rear wheels (including the broken one) were reduced in diameter to fit the front axel! An original way of getting it back into service quickly. Notice also the axel with one end in the hub. Two of the axel nuts – with square ends – are also shown.

Key Steel is very practical/affordable for this application. Use a four jaw chuck for working on the axles. I make the naves/hubs (the “ Sarven” Patent hubs) from aluminium, a 3 part system made to the dimensions of the drawing, turned and then drilled for the locking pins, see the attached drawing. (PICTURE 1) This is then fitted to a mandrel to hold everything in place whilst you fit the spokes to the nave/hub. The spokes are then made, as per the description in the previous article, but this time there is a double cut made to the sides of the square ends of the spokes, this is to enable ALL the spokes to be glued together in the hub/nave, study (PICTURE 2) carefully and you will see how the spokes ALL join together within the hub/nave.

Once you have test fitted all the spokes, it’s time to glue them into place within the hub/nave. You will need a separate piece of board for each wheel as you go, to enable all the spokes to be aligned correctly and in a precise order. If you do not space the spokes correctly, it WILL be noticeable. I draw a series of lines onto each board and line the spokes up to these marks; (PICTURE 3) this allows me to line all the spokes up correctly. Make sure that you have something supporting the ends of the spokes or they will just droop down and the end result will look awful. If you can, drill a hole in the centre of each board to enable the hub/nave to sit within this hole, that way all the spokes are now resting on a flat surface. This type of wheel has not got much or any dish in it at all, and relies wholly on the tension/spring that is with-in the spokes, to be able to absorb any road shock as they travel on a rough road. You can build a very small amount of dish into the wheel if want, but it is very slight, the axle ends are normally angled/bent to look like the wheels have dish in them.

PICTURE 3. This drawing is taken from John Thompsons sheet 3 of the 'Cannopy Top Surrey. You can see here how each spoke morticed into the hub is tapered each side and is right next to the taper on the spoke each side of it.Notice how each rivet is inserted between every other spoke.
PICTURE 4. A very efective way of getting the correct angle on each spoke is shown here with this setup on the Unimat 3 lathe. An angled metal plate fixed to a scrap piece of acrilic (it could be scrap wood), is used as a guide when taken up the the grinding wheel or disk sander. Make sure you have a 'stop' to prevent the spoke being pushed to far forward.
PICTURE 5. Shown here is one of the wheels of the Spindle Sulky, with an acrylic rim and wooden spokes made from Tasmanian Myrtle, (an excellent timber for model making, giving a first-rate paint finish).


The felloes on this type of wheel are a bit different to the felloes as previously described.

PICTURE 6. Here you can see a pair of wheels with acrylic rims as described in the main text. These same wheels have wooden naves/hubs with staggered spokes. To the bottom right can be seen a wheel whose rim has 8 felloes and a “Sarven” type hub. Note also how ALL the spokes join together within the nave/hub. It is perhaps worth mentioning that wheels with a Sarven” type hub could either have felloes (one to each two spokes), or they could have a wooden rim made in two parts from steam bent timber. Likewise, wheels with a wooden hub could be segmented by felloes or be in two parts. For example – The Cowboy “Chuck Waggon” and the American Curtain Rockaway, both John Thompson Plans, have steam bent rims and wooden hubs, whilst The Fringed Top Surrey has steam bent rims with Sarven” type hubs.

Normally the felloes fitted to the Sarven type wheel were steam bent, in a two piece per wheel arrangement, joined with small plates bolted together at the joints of each felloe, two plates per two steam bent felloe wheel. Or they could have had the normal arrangement. One felloe per two spokes, which is a lot of felloes and very thin weaker felloes when a wheel has 18 spokes fitted.

The felloes can be made as previously described, as a cake slice arrangement and all glued together, remember that they are going to be very thin and if you are not proficient with a lathe, I would suggest another alternative to using timber for the felloes.

If you require the bent felloes to be about 4mm x 4mm, this is thin for timber, why not use a piece of acrylic sheet of the appropriate thickness. (It will probably end up being a painted model, so only you will know the wheel rim is not timber!) Cut it oversize in a rough circle on a bandsaw, then fit in the lathe with a live centre pushing on another piece of any hard flat object, this applies a lot of pressure to the piece of acrylic and holds it in place firmly pressed to the chuck, whilst you can now turn the O/D to the correct size, trim the sides to the correct size as well, turn the I/D to whatever size you require as well. Finish it to size the first time in the lathe. Once this is done, you can now fit the turned, one piece ring/section of felloes to a dividing head which is to be stood upright under the milling head, now drill a series of 0.5mm holes into the centre of the acrylic, 18 spokes, 18 holes or 16 spokes, 16 holes. These holes are for small brass dressmakers pins to be inserted and driven into the ends of each spoke to hold the spokes to the acrylic rim.

PICTURE 7. The 1/12th scale model of the Spindle Sulky shown here, has “Sarven” type hubs on a wheel with 18 spokes and a delicate rim made from acrylic sheet as mentioned in the main text. If you place the mouse pointer over this picture you will get a closer view of the hub. Notice how each spoke is butted up to the one either side of it. You can also see the outer flange with the dressmakers’ pins through. On the full size vehicle these would have usually been steel rivets.

The spiders can now be trimmed, as described earlier, then fitted to each individual acrylic rim, using a brass dressmakers pin as a peg or dowel fitted into the hole and into the spoke end, using it as a nail to hold everything tight.

You can use some thinned out carpenters wood glue again to fill in any gaps between the spoke ends and the acrylic rim. Paint the wheel and then proceed to make the tyre as described in the earlier article on wheels. This is a very successful way of doing it, the wheel is very tight and firm when the tyre is fitted later and it looks right as well. When you have painted the wheel, fit the tyre using the previous described methods.

I have successfully made Sarven type wheels in 1/12th scale, using both the wooden felloes method and the acrylic felloes method. Both types of wheels have the right look about them.

If anybody has any queries or wants to direct any form of criticism toward what is written here please feel free to direct ALL to the SMHDV site, where I am sure each and every one of you will receive a reply. ~Radish.~




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