In these days of standardization and the extensive use of metal wheels you might think there is little call for the centuries old craft of wheelwrighting, but the many demands on the skills of Gus Kitson in Suffolk, England, show this to be very far from the truth. Despite many years experience of renovating all types of wagons and wheels even Gus can still be surprised by the types of items for which new or restored wooden wheels are required.
The process of building a wheel begins with shaping the tennons on the end of a spoke that inserts into the hub. They are fit into the hub as it sits on a wheel table and must be tight and true and at the correct angle. A flange is then put into place to hold them all secure. According to the desired diameter of the wheel, all the spokes are cut to the same length and those ends are pointed, again creating tennons, using a tool that resembles a big pencil sharpener.