The Phil Wood folks took a look at the rear hub, and a piece of the pawl had chipped off and become lodged in the freehub mechanism (thereby disabling it). Once they'd removed the chip, everything worked just fine. They followed through with their agreement and have sent the wheel to Peter White (who hasn't yet received it). I appreciate the special service that Brent @ Phil Wood has given me, and I'm sorry I won't be riding a Phil Wood (except that it failed on me). Soon, soon I should have my rear wheel back.
But, in the meantime, I've begun the transformation of my Raleigh M500 to a single speed. The bike is 6 or 7 years old, and I like how it fits, so I hope it'll work well as a single speed. The first night I worked on it I got most of the components stripped off, the recycled cassettes were torn apart. I removed my old cassette, put on the spacers and one of the old 16 tooth rings. One set of the spacers didn't quite mesh with themselves, so I filed down some of the stubs - now they're a little off in a different spot. But, the rear cog is fairly secure. The bar-ends came off, which allowed me to see that I'd bent the end of my handlebar (it'll work just fine, the bend just made it hard to remove the shifters).
I ran to the bike shop to get some new grips, some new brake cables (old ones were original) and housing, and some shorter chainring bolts. Everything worked well, except the chainring bolts were the wrong size. Today they traded me for the properly sized bolts and I'll get the crank put back on tonight (with the 32 tooth chainring). Because of the mixup, the shop guy gave me the two replacement chain rivets for my Shimano chain (of course you cannot reuse the rivet on a Shimano chain... but everyone other chain allows it). All I have left to do tonight is actually shorten the chain, finish putting the chainring back on the crank, the crank back on the bottom bracket, and make sure everything is aligned properly. Woo-hoo! A new bike.