I agree with just about everything you have said. I suggested using the original wheels and putting a fill in the groove and widening by using some sort of fill and then a flange with a slight crown.
So, I think we are on the same page and I think it will be easier. As far as making the wheel wider Kevin, my friend has taken that into account and has said that he has space for up to a 30 mm belt ( approx ( just under 1 1/4 inches)
Kevin can be quite head strong at times, at least now our friendship is at a stage where we can discuss things. He is a perfectionist, he is also a good woodworking mentor for me. I tend to be gung ho, he is more methodical.
Fortunately their are a few things I can do better then him and I have a wider group of contacts than him because I have been in this area for over forty years I have a fetish for sharpening and making and rehabbing old tools. He hates sharpening and while he can turn and make chisel handles and smal stuff he could not be bothered.
So , I generally grab his chisels and old beater chisels and rehab them for him.
To give you and example of his singlemindeness, a few years ago he came over to my place and we went into my 30 x20 shed. He saw I had few power points and my lighting was poor.
The next Monday he was over and said we will get the electrics right. It took a full week. Five hours a day, no stopping for jokes, lets get it done. I would have been happy for him to just plug away and we enjoy our time inthere even if I only got a tenth done I would have been happy.
But not Kevin. Not only did we get a lot done, and a professional job too that an Electrician would have been proud of, no cutting corners, everything was done to the Code. I purchased everything from an Electrical supply company and he also had a heap of Electrical equipment hanhging around his shed which he provided to me.
Each Christmas Santa arrives for him with some special presents, but not to be outdone he gets Santa to give me something as well. I told him that is not how it was meant to work but nowing kevin that is the way it will work.
That is the reason I like to ask for different ideas to try to reduce his work load. he generally has something of mine on his bench that he is tinkering with. Any machinery or things that have broken down I let him look at them and he tells me if they can be fixed or junked.
Previously I just junked them. Last year my Scroll saw gave in. he had it on his bench for a year, I kept telling him to junk it. Just before Christmas he bought it over all up and running.
My Compressor died and he replaced the diaphragm, he said he just happened to have that same diaphragm which he got off an old junked Compressor he bought for parts for his. He has replaced my Jointer blades. The list goes on.
For all this, we do not live in each other's pocket, we just respect each other's individual circumstances.
Fortunately, their has been some things I have access to that he has not so I can return some of the favours, but really it is a full time job to try to make sure that this friendship is not a one way street.