Make A Cheap DIY Wheel Dishing Tool For Under $5!

Make A Cheap DIY Wheel Dishing Tool For Under $5!

Hey viewers you may have seen me use this tool in some of my videos it’s a Park Tool professional wheel alignment gauge model wag 4 also known as a dishing tool and what it’s used for is Aligning the wheel so that the rim is centered between the dropouts well it’s kind of an expensive tool This one cost about 50 to 60 bucks but I’m going to show you how to make a cheap and easy homemade version of this To make my dishing tool I’m going to use a piece of 2×4 lumber here and I want to measure out I want to cut this to about 26 inches you can make yours a little bit longer I wouldn’t really go much shorter than that so I’m gonna market right here at 26 inches now what it kind of cross at a 90-degree angle I’m gonna be using my miter saw you don’t have a miter saw you could use this a handsaw it just takes longer Like that now I want to mark the center here since it’s 26 inches long the center would be right at 13 inches so I’m gonna make a little bit of a mark right there 13 inches and I also want to make a mark down about 3/4 of an inch down right here so right like that, so just make a little mark there right there and then a 3/4 of an inch down like that Now I want to trace a curve along here so I have an old 27 inch rim here I’m gonna put a little space or under here and kind of lift that up a little bit and then I’m gonna use this rim I’m gonna line the edge of the rim up here with that 3/4 inch mark down so what I like about 3/4 wood above the rim there and then I’m going to get the rim approximately centered it doesn’t need to be super exact right that but the closer you get to the center the better and then I’m going to trace a curved line around here Like that now I placed some Boards under each end to kind of lift this up off the the table here and I’m going to be using a jig saw? here to cut this curved line Now if you don’t have jigsaw again you can use a handsaw on there it’s just going to take a while but I have the jigsaw that’s what I’m going to use Now on my dishing tool it’s got this indicator gauge that slides up and down and that can lock into place and then that measures the rim to hub alignment on each side of the wheel. I need something like that on mine so what I’m going to do is I’m gonna drill a hole down Through there and I put a bolt and I can screw this bolt in or out and that will be my indicator gauge so I have my piece of wood here with the curve cut out and I’m gonna flip it over onto this edge and I want to mark in the middle so again it was 26 inches long so I’m gonna mark it right at 13 inches just right in the middle just like that Now the bolts I’m using is a quarter inch by two and a half inches if you live in a country that uses metric feel free to use metric equivalents of all this stuff nothing is super exact but you know the stuff in inches is much more easily available to me so Since. I’m using a quarter inch bolt I want to use a drill that is slightly smaller than a quarter inch so the next size down is 15/64″ so that’s the drill that I’m gonna use Now I will drill right down through the middle here and I try to do it as straight as possible I’m using an electric drill if you don’t have an electric drill use a hand drill you have drill press use that if you don’t have any of these tools Improvise figure something out so I have these tools so I’m using them so anyway. I’ll try to do as straight as possible Just like that now I take my bolt and start screwing it down in through this hole it’ll be a bit tight that’s okay I might have to use a wrench to kind of get it all the way in but with use it will probably loosen it up a little bit you don’t want it to be too loose And so now it’s coming down through the bottom here like this and So now I have the dishing tool done so let me show you how to use it You take your wheel and for this particular tool you don’t want to have the tire off the rim These parts here the flat parts are going to rest on the rim and what you’re going to do is you’re going to adjust the bolt Here, so it comes down it just touches the flat part of the lock nut here not the axle but the flat part of the lock nut the rests against the inside of the drop out of the frame So do this on one side You wanna make sure these are still resting flat against the the out rim Then you can flip the wheel over and it should be the exact same on this side So with these parts resting against the rim the bolt should come down and just barely touch the lock nut in this case there’s like about a 1 millimeter gap, so that’s Nothing really to be concerned about but if you had a big gap on one side like 5 millimeters or something or if it came down and was resting against the lock nut and then there was a big gap on the Rim. To where these things we’re not resting it flat against the rim then that’s an indicator that the dish is off And so the dish will be adjusted by loosening the spokes on one side and tightening on the other to bring the hub over relative to the rim that goes beyond the scope of this video but anyway so that’s how to make one of these dishing tools I Hope you found that interesting if you did please give my video a thumbs up if you’re not subscribe my channel click subscribe button be Sure to click the little bell to get notified when more videos come out anyway thank you very much for watching

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Awesome video it's so simple it would be silly not to make one, great to see you guys still using imperial sizes reminds me of my youth, damn metric system sucks! thanks for your time RJ..

  2. I just use two cups on a flat surface and rest the wheel on them. Then I stack some items up to the axle (inner surface). Then by turning the wheel upside down you can see how big the gap is and try make it equal. 👍 If I were building wheels frequently then this tool would save some time.

  3. Worth mentioning to use kiln dried lumber! Use wet pressure treated and when you re-use the tool in a year it will be twisted and hard to get it aligned straight.

  4. ….. and with a little addition, you can also mount it on the truing tool (i dont know the english word for it). Thanks RJ. Btw, have you review the old shimano automatic gear? i just heard it a couple days ago.

  5. if you use a power screw driver to screw the bolt up and down a lot, the friction will create a heat polishing effect in the wood that will give you good threading and good tension.

    this isnt a thing i "know" though. its a tip i got from elsewhere.

  6. Good idea, but you should use a wider piece of wood. It won´t be stable for a longer time if you leave only such a little bit compared with the length of the tool.
    If it was 1 inch wider it should be fine, you had to use a longer bolt, that was no problem. The best solution would be to use hardwood or plywood.

  7. Another useful video although I think the screw needs a wing nut or something to make it easy to turn by hand. If you have folding bikes with 20" or even 16" wheels I guess you would use those wheels for the template. Not a lot of folding bike content on your channel by the way unless I've missed it.

  8. I have a 60s stuck on headbadge covered with one pass of black spray paint, can I remove the thin coat without damaging the badge. I'm thinking about thinner but I'm not sure. Great vid.

  9. Have you ever shown your face in any of your videos? I've seen the lower half in a couple of them. Reminds me of Wilson from home improvement lol.

  10. woodworking with RJ… interesting as ever… im gonna try that one…since i`ve learnd on my rear wheel how to actually true a wheel… it might be off to one side.. i can see it on the vbrakes…when engaged they not symetric to each other…i hope its fixable…

  11. That $5.00 DIY dishing tool is great than the $60 cheapest tool you can get. I am going to make one tonight as I still have some 2 x 4's kicking around.

  12. When i built Cycle wheels i used another trick, it was always a nuisance to keep taking the wheel out of the stand to check the dish, so i measured the distance over the lock nuts, divided by half and wrapped some tape round the hub so one edge of the tape was at half distance, then i could look through the valve hole at a spoke nipple opposite checking the edge of the tape was on the same alignment.

  13. hello my friend,
    just a quick question please. In order to center the rear wheel, where should I put the screw ? at the edge of the hub, the axle, or the freewheel ?
    I hope you answer me as quickly as possible


  14. RJ you're the best! $60 for a tool(that I seldom need) at my LBS, $30 for a service I could perform myself, $5 to make a tool to enable a DIY job! Priceless!

  15. I would say to anyone who doesn't have the basic tools we saw…. jig saw, cordless drill, miter saw, etc to start acquiring them. One can't be a DIY guy or gal without tools.

  16. I made the dishing tool, but was not happy with screwing the 1/4" bolt direct to wood. I lined the outside and inside with a couple of bits of scrap metal. Bits cut from a baked bean can were used – glued on. You could use thick brass, which would reinforce the tool at its weakest point.

    I then drilled a 1/4" hole through , and used two washers either side of the hole, and with a nut either side.

    I used my grinder to grind the end of the bolt to a point, so it is easier to see the gap.

    Didn't even spend 5$. The wood was scrap, the metal came from a can, and I used an old bolt.

    Works perfectly

  17. Awesome diy tool,
    and probably better quality than any of cheap alternatives.
    One thing to improve only: I would ask someone with table saw to straighten the long edges so they are 100% straight and parallel.

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