Bicycling Magazine (contrary to its nature) ran an excellent series of articles in the early '80s about building and truing wheels. That series, along with Brandt's book and a maybe a video are all you need to learn. As with most skills, the basics are easy. It's the craftsmanship that takes a while to develop.
Believe me, if I can learn to build wheels, anyone can.
Rick Chasteen, in beautiful Kansas City, where the fixed gear is beckoning.
> >Jon Cowden
> >Ithaca, New York, wrote:
> >ps Had an interesting interaction with a lbs yesterday. I brought in a
> >pair of high-flange Superbe Pro hubs, intending to have them built into
> >some tubulars. The guy took one look at them and said to me that "I
> >suppose that I could build a completely out of date wheel with those
> This is one of those really BOB-ish things, I think.
> I got really pitying looks last year from an area shop when I had them build
> up a set of wheels for my PX-10E. They essentially acted like they were
> doing me a favor, and the build quality was not all that good - despite the
> fact that the shop has been around forever, and the wheel builder (a former
> racer) is roughly a contemporary of mine.
> This spring, I decided it was time to learn to build wheels. I borrowed a
> copy of Jobst Brandt's book, and the in-town LBS worked out what length
> spokes I needed. I kept the book open in front of me as I laced them up -
> amazing what happens when one can read, isn't it? I will freely confess I
> took the built wheels to the LBS for final truing and tensioning ... but
> they turned out great, at least by my standards.
> I built a second set of wheels this summer for a friend's bike. This time,
> the LBS manager let me use the truing stand to adjust, tension and final
> true the wheels. They've held up beautifully so far, and I've got the bug.
> I won't deny that the numerous wheelbuilders on this list can no doubt do a
> better job than I can, in probably a quarter of the time. But there is
> something distinctly satisfying about building one's own wheels. For those
> of us who will probably never build a frame, it's something of a milestone.
> I rank building one's own wheels up there with assembling one's own bike
> from the bare frame out as one of life's little delights - but then, I do it
> for fun.
> Russ Fitzgerald
> Greenwood SC