Tonight I cut some spokes in one of my test wheels. I was most interested to see if the wheel gets floppy if you take away most of the material in the centre to replace it with plastic. It doesn’t.
But I tell you what: fretting out the spokes is hard work! On this small wheel, it’s nearly impossible to get anything into the holes other than a jewellers’ saw. Only the tip of my files will make it in there, making removal of material very difficult if the saw wasn’t on target.
Over on that excellent resource on wheel-making from the Manchester Model Railway Society, Dave Booth declares,
Six 4mm wheels in brass can be cut quite easily in one evening, without breaking a saw.
Well, I broke a saw making one reject of a wheel, and it took me all evening! I can only conclude that Dave Booth, Sid Stubbs and probably everyone else in Manchester are fretsaw freaks, or perhaps they are possessed by some higher sawing power.
Hopefully things get faster and better with practice.