Spoke length has its own page – Spoke Length
It is desirable that spoke tension be adjusted to minimize wheel hop and wobble, as well as be adequately and evenly tensioned. A truing stand would be convenient, but the job can be done on the bike with a guide for hop, and a brake pad for wobble.
On a road bike the tension should average 100 Kilograms of force if the rim permits it. Putting that amount of tension on the spokes while holding hop and wobble to almost nothing requires patience and a quality rim. The picture at the very top shows a smooth wheel – hop about 1/100 inch. To the right is a picture of the rig that enabled that, with a 6″ ruler taped to an aluminum angle clamped to the drop-out by the quick release skewer.
A similar tolerance is shown for wobble in the picture below, using one of the bike’s brake pads as a guide. A final consideration is dish – the rim has to be centered. Here again, no special equipment is required if the wheel is turned around in the drop outs. The brake pad will clearly indicate if it’s not the same both ways.
Getting a wheel almost perfect is an interesting accomplishment which has a pay off in the ride sensation – feels very sure. Also, the wheel itself isn’t easily distinguished from a crap wheel, in case not luring thieves with gaudy equipment is an issue. Finally, it will last for a very long time and be able to resist accidents – durable, robust.
The convenience of a truing stand, if doing more than a couple of wheels, is irresistible. In the no-dough spirit you may be able to make one – I did. Buy Musson’s book to see his design but improve it. Your D.I.Y. stand is sure to look shabbier than the P&K Lie and it will be slower, but it will also be effective in scrape scrape scraping your way to an extremely precise wheel. If you are not a devotee – an amateur – don’t build, buy.