Wheel Building Experiments: Food Grade Thread Prep Follow-up

The long awaited, much anticipated spoke thread prep experiment sequel. Everyone is dying to know if supplement grade flax oil can work as a spoke treatment. 

So I went for it. I used the flax oil jam on a wheelset I built for myself. Mostly it seems to have worked. I think it wasn’t as thick as I would have liked. I probably could have simmered it a bit longer. But I was impatient to lace my Velocity Blunt SS rims to my White Industries CLD hubs. Or to stick my shinies on my pretties to put it in more technical terms. 

In my haste, here’s what I noticed:

It didn’t stay in place as well as basically any other spoke thread treatment I’ve used including the chemically treated variety of boiled linseed oil (shoulda waited till it was jammier). It was probably closer to the consistency of honey than a jam or jelly. I ended up lacing the spokes through the hub and rim and then dabbing them with flax oil jam just before threading the nipples on. With an oily thread prep, this is probably the cleanest if not the fastest method.

I think I did notice a little thread binding, a bit more resistance than I would like on a few spokes as I was getting up to optimum tension. Again, I think this might be due to it not holding as well to the threads through the process of lacing and tensioning. I did use a Wheel Fanatyk Nipple Bath so the nipples were lubricated.

In the end I think it worked out. The wheels look good. But I haven’t had a chance to ride them to see how they hold up. It’s taking ages to put this bike together (a combination of COVID induced supply chain issues, and considerable bicycle bell-boy related personal burn-out has put a real hamper on things). At this point it’s all but rideable, but now a recent injury is keeping me out of the saddle. If you want the final word on food grade flax oil, you’ll just have to wait for the next exciting installment of Wheel Building Experiments!

I do have more of the flax oil jam reserved in my little glass jar. If these wheels stay together well, I’ll definitely use it again. And I imagine it will only get jammier as it sits which should make the process even better next time. If this does end up being a solid option (the proof is still in the durability of the wheel build), it’ll definitely be my go to. Avoiding petrochemicals where I can cheers my little bike-hippie-heart.