run the sprocket/clam shell against the naked spokes - that's some of the worst advice I've heard! At the very least it'll kink the spokes, no matter what yer lookin' at damage that way. The spokes are at a slight angle to the sprocket so all the pressure would be concentrated at the pinch point... bad news anyway ya look at it.
Skip the BS altogether - the rag joint is a POS, get a sprocket adapter from MANIC Mechanic
, even IF ya manage to get the rag joint on there - it's still a nightmare, they never align right no matter how hard ya try