Sunday, May 20, 2007
How Wood Rims are Made
Every few years, the Cermenati's travel to a favored grove of old beech trees in Slovenia. One is felled, milled, and the planks are taken back to Italy for aging.
When the time is right, the lumber is planed into smaller strips.
Traditionally, the long strips were soaked prior to shaping. Today, however, the laminations are thinner (just a few millimeters) and they can be bent without wetting.
The thin strips are coated with modern, 2-part epoxy and bent into a spiral wound, hoop shape. Between each strip is a layer of cotton cloth. Thinner strips, more numerous laminations, 2-part epoxy, and cotton layers are recent enhancements to the historical manufacturing process which create substantially stronger and more stable rims. Visually, none of this can be readily detected and the rims are still entirely hand made. Ghisallo rims: traditional yet modern.
The spiral hoops are securely glued.
The basic rim shape is glued.
The glued hoop is fly cut on a horizontal routing machine.
After several cuts, the hoop assumes its final shape.
The rim is then precisely drilled for nipples in this dedicated machine. Once drilled, each rim is carefully sanded and finished with many coats of marine epoxy. The process is basic but many years of experience is necessary to produce rims with legendary performance. It's not a cheap process, but these rims are a match for the very best that have ever been made.