Author Topic: Wheel hubs: plated or not?  (Read 3077 times)

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Offline ste

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Wheel hubs: plated or not?
« on: 23 May 2014 at 20:51 »
Can someone confirm whether the wheel hubs should be plated or painted black on my 1924 TS bike please?
I have an original Douglas rear which has a plated hub, but the front one is so rusty I can't tell. I've looked at countless photos on the net and on this site, but there seems to be examples of both.
Same with the spokes, although the majority seem painted.
Any thoughts please?
Stephen

Offline cardan

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Re: Wheel hubs: plated or not?
« Reply #1 on: 23 May 2014 at 23:19 »

Hi Stephen,

I've seen both plated and painted hubs, but I don't know if there was a change over date from nickel to paint, or indeed if the finished varied from batch to batch. I guess someone would know from study of catalogues if there was variation from model to model in a particular year.

A while back I posted a photo of 340 Douglases arriving for Williams Bros in Sydney in the 1920s. If Williams told Douglas that Australian customers preferred nickel to paint (or vice versa) on their hubs, it could easily be that export bikes were finished slightly differently to home market bikes. Equally if Douglas had a batch of painted hubs in a year when they were usually plated, I'm sure they'd be put on the export bikes!

I guess that Douglas bought-in their hubs - if not from Chater Lea then from someone who made them under CL license. Does anyone know for sure?

One nice original Douglas wheel I saw recently had nickel hub, black spokes, nickel nipples and black rim. FN used the same combination on its pre-WW1 bikes and it looks very nice.

If anyone is doing a budget restoration (understandable these days), all black wheels look just fine too.

Cheers

Leon

Offline ste

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Re: Wheel hubs: plated or not?
« Reply #2 on: 24 May 2014 at 03:51 »
Thanks, I was thinking nickle hubs, black spokes and rims, but I do like your ideas too.

Offline Chris

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Re: Wheel hubs: plated or not?
« Reply #3 on: 24 May 2014 at 06:26 »
Hi
In my early restorations i have invariably adopted the scheme described by Leon using nickel plated hubs, black painted spokes, nickelplated brass nipples and black painted rims which I believe to be a very attractive scheme. Indeed, I included this in an article I published some years ago in the New Conrod  magazine on building of wheels for 2.3/4hp models. I have restored a number of hubs and invariably whether or not painted there have been signs of some original nickel even when quite rusted. There have been rumours that during war years nickel plating had been abandoned even to the extent of black painted handlebars etc. However, I have never seen all bright work omitted and from fuzzy black and white photos it is difficult to be positive about the originality of such claims. Chris.

Offline cardan

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Re: Wheel hubs: plated or not?
« Reply #4 on: 24 May 2014 at 09:01 »

Painting spokes is fiddly, but these days you can buy black spokes in some sizes: e.g. 13g www.ebay.com.au/itm/171337921885 (suit front wheel of a veteran or maybe early vintage Douglas). I think I've also seen 12g from the same source. They make them to the length you specify if you don't have thread-rolling gear.

Leon

Offline ste

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Re: Wheel hubs: plated or not?
« Reply #5 on: 24 May 2014 at 09:47 »
Thanks to both, Chris and Leon. all good ideas.

 

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