Step 11: Tiring the Wheel

Picture of Tiring the Wheel

Pneumatic tires had not been invented during the era of the Penny-Farthing
and I think they are still not available in this size!
So, to add authenticity, you use a solid rubber hose for the tire instead.
The tire measures 1" OD (outside diameter) and has a 3/16" hole down the middle.
You want to cut your tire about 4" longer than the circumference of your rim.
You then measure and cut 1/8" (14 gauge) galvanized solid steel wire to 4 feet longer than the circumference of your rim.  Apply a lubricant on the inside of the tire and
insert the wire through. Try to keep the wire straight and roundover the end of the wire to make inserting easier.  You may have to use pliers to help it along as the resistance becomes greater as you insert it. 15 ft. of wire is plenty as you need some extra grab the wire by the ends while  tensioning it.  
With the wire tight and the ends of the tire 3" apart, you want to sand off the galvanized
layer and braze opposite ends of the wire with silver solder. 
The tire should then close up to form a seam.
There are several ways you can apply tension on the wire.  The easiest I have found is by use of a homemade tensioner.

The homemade tensioner as you will see is the key to making the job easy.
It has 2 bottom bolts which when tightened, will sandwich the wire and hold
it's tension. The top big bolt, when turned clockwise will raise and pull the wire, thus applying tension. Use clamps to hold the wire ends.
It measures 3 inches across and has a window opening for brazing.
You can get the rollers from Home Depot or Lowes and are the rollers found in sliding glass patio doors.

This completes the wheel. Congratulations.

Jagster19982 years ago
Where did you get the rubber tube? I'm sure many would like to know. A website would be helpful. Anyways, thanks for these plans.
Where did you get the rubber for this? And do you know specifically what type of rubber? (Everything i find that has a 1" OD has a massive ID, so it would warp and all that jazz and the steel wire would swim in it...)
Mcschphail4 years ago
How does one acquire a 1"OD 3/16"ID rubber tube? Unfortunately, I do not have one just laying around...
kevo634 years ago
Excellent build! Thanks for this great Instructable. I'm in the process of building a Penny now, but I'm having trouble finding rubber to tire my wheel with. Where did you get yours? Or where should I look?
Thanks man!, I'm watching it now
packratpat4 years ago
Hi, I'm a bit confused on the process of adding the tire. So you have a solid rubber hose 4in longer than circumference, and a galvanized steel cable 4ft longer than circumference...then one end on a vice and one on a wicnh...do you tighten it that way off the rim?

"With the wire tight and the ends of the tire 5" apart, you want to sand off the galvanized layer and braze opposite ends of the wire with silver solder. The tire should then close up to form a seam"
Ends of tire 5" apart, but they form a seam? How? And what happened to the extra 4" of hose and 4' of wire?

Sorry if these are bad questions, but I'm just not quite getting it here...if you could explain this better or include pictures/diagrams that would be awesome. Thanks.