Wheels… wooden

I write a section in one chapter where one of the prime characters meets a local wagon train.  When I wrote it, the thought occurred to me that there is no metal in my society on Refuge.  The wooden wheels of a wagon, without a rim, would be hammered to splinters in short order.  So what to do?

I started researching the information, of course, and you’d be surprised exactly how little there is on that type of thing on the internet.  I was surprised.  But I did find some pictures of an old Egyptian chariot, and they didn’t look like they had metal rims.  They rode those things into war at speed, so the wheels had to stand up to abuse.  But I couldn’t tell from the photographs exactly how.

I came up with three solutions, one of which is improbable due to the time consuming nature of it.

  1. Wrap the wheels in stone.  This would involve tedious hand shaping of small stone pieces to be attached to the wheels with pegs.  This seemed ludicrous.
  2. Wrap the wheels in bricks.  Easier to shape, but bricks can be brittle and would likely shatter often on rocks or cobble.
  3. Wrap the wheel in rawhide.  It absorbs impact, it could be quickly cut to fit and attached with wooden pegs.  The ends of the pegs would splay out, holding the hide in place.  Easy, quick, and cheap since animals are common.

I assumed #3 would be used.  Humans are very good at finding the quickest and easiest solutions for most things.  And innovative. For more protection for the wheel, I suppose a combination of #2 and #3 could be used.  The actual wooden wheel would have two protection layers, and the brick would be more durable if layers of thick rawhide were used. 

    Is this actually in my book?  No, but I wanted to be ready for that person who said, “You can’t have wheels on your moon, there isn’t any metal for the rim!”

    Oh, yes I can, Mr. Smartypants I haven’t met yet.  Oh yes I can.

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