First and foremost I have no knowledge or experience in building/maintaining wheels. So I have to try it!

I was reading Roger Musson book and decided to build a truing stand out of scrap I have. I'd also read that some incorporate a dishing mechanism. Now I couldn't find any pics so I decided to do my thing for if you reference all from a fixed point you can dish true and tension at the same time without having to remove the wheel checking dish.

I simply added a steel rule, a slide with a magnet to hold it in place, Calculated what the dish position of the edge of the rim should be, placed the wheel, placed the slide with the guide at the measured position and the test scrap wheel is actually dished correctly. Flipped the wheel over and same position.

To me this saves the hassle of having to pull the wheel on and off to check the dishing, it also saves having to measure using feeler guages or guestimating the out of dish distance. Ie: 5mm = 2.5mm out of dish using a dishing tool. If my setup works as it should then 1mm out of dish is 1mm, it's a direct measurement as you are doing it whilst you are setting up and truing the wheel.

Working all adjustments to the set guide gives you Dish/Truing and Tension if you have a tensionometer or such.

In building a prototype, I stopped (See Pic) for it seems too simplistic. Am I missing something?

enter image description here

Thanks for the responses, I use an outside caliper to measure both the hub and rim widths. The inside of the left support where the locknut meets is square to the ruler and both permanently in position the guide slide is then placed at the resulting measurement.

The objective when set is to bring all wheel adjustments to the guide, this way even if truing your always bringing/maintaining the rim to the dish position instead of accidently going the other way.

Won't take much to scrap up a dishing tool even if it's for checking to see how accurate/inaccurate my set is.

  • 3
    I'm confused as to what exactly the question is.
    – Batman
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 4:14
  • I do go on sometimes:) The question is: is it that simple, that's all I need to Dish and true a wheel (Less radial guage) doing it that way.
    – Joe444
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 4:39

2 Answers 2


Yes, this is a reasonably accurate way of doing it. Along similar lines, with the axle supports square with the base and everything reasonably well aligned, you can just use a vernier caliper to measure the distance between the support itself and the rim sidewall.

Dish sticks have the upside that they produce a very accurate, fast reading with a simple tool, and because of their nature, the precise dimensions/alignment of the tool itself isn't what makes them accurate. Getting the exact number isn't really what's important; getting a reading that you can trust is reflective of reality is, and dish sticks are good at that. I've found that when doing the same thing the "math" way, either with a ruler or a caliper, it winds up taking longer and being more fidgety. But it's totally fine for home/occasional use.

Dedicated dishing tools also have the nice feature that, when they're flipped to the "gappy" side of the wheel being dished and you touch one end of the tool against the rim, the other side is showing you a picture of how much more you have to bring it over magnified about 4x (2x because you're touching the tool to one side of the rim, and 2x because to correct a dishing error of the rim surface being Y distance away from where it's supposed to be, you need to bring the rim Y/2 over to one side.) I think that probably makes it a little easier to get it dead perfect. In other words, they make it easy to see what are actually very small errors in dish, which can be a little hard to pick up on with a ruler or caliper. How much errors this small matter is a separate question of course.


I think if you work out the geometry and then make sure that the parts of your tool supposed to be square, parallel, equidistant or perpendicular are actually those things, then yes, it is that simple.

It can be a little disorienting to find yourself doing a thing that you've looked up toward for some time as a lofty goal, like gazing up at a distant mountain peak you might some day climb. I've always considered truing a wheel to be a life goal, some mysterious process that would magically result in a round and strong wheel. But then I found myself with the time, the bike, and the YouTube videos, and what do you know, I'm truing a wheel.

Arrival is like stepping off the end of a fast escalator, but you have arrived. You're there now. Welcome. :)

(I still want Jobst Brandt's book.)

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