Posted 09 March 2010 - 02:40 AM
Sure thing! You are shrinking a smaller tire than what I work with. mine were 3-1/2" wide and 1/2" thick. Shouldn't matter much though.
When you have your spokes and felloes put together they need to be as tight as possible to get the best results. The looser your fittings are, the looser your tire will be. You may have to re shrink several times to get the tire tight so we'll just assume your spokes and felloes are pretty close.
Get yourself a measuring wheel or flexible tape measure. Measure the outside circumference of the felloes. You want a pretty accurate reading here.
Next, cut your steel tire in half where the original weld was. (This way you get rid of one extra weld) Next, measure your tire and cut it off (or add if your tire is too small) so your measurement is about 9/16" SMALLER than the outside measurement of the wooden felloes. Weld the tire together. Take your tire and set it on the wooden wheel with it laying on it's side on the ground. It shouldn't slip over the wooden wheel.
Build yourself a fire the shape of your tire. I use tree branches and kerosene. I then lay the wooden wheel on it's side close to the tire in the fire. I lay bricks under the felloes right under where the tire will slip on. I shim them up so when the tire slips on, it won't slip on too far and go over the felloes. You will want a friend of two to help you with this.
Let the fire get hot. I can't tell you how many degrees this is but your tire should stay black and don't let it even come close to turning red or even a dark red. This is too damned hot and will burn your felloes, possibly ruining them. What I have had to do before is let the fire burn for about 10 minutes and using vice grips, grab it out of the fire and try to slip it over the wooden wheel. If it doesn't slip on I put it back in the fire for a few more minutes. 2 guys doing this together makes it really easy. The 3rd member should be standing by with a garden hose to quickly quench the tire. When you have the tire exactly centered over the felloes, start the quenching. You will hear popping from the spokes being driven into the felloes. That's a good sign. Wdhen you start quenching the tire, it will shrink FAST! So be sure you have it where you want it before spraying the water.