Maker Unknown

I met Chris of Shenandoah Rods at the recent Grayrock gathering. After he saw pictures of the 1 weight reel that I recently made, he sent me these photos of a small reel in his possession.

Unfortunately, we don’t know who made it.

It has several interesting feaures, so I wanted to make a record of the design.

I would call this a “frameless” reel, having only a back plate and a line guard for a frame.

Some notes:
Aluminum has not been anodized.
Copper and ferrous alloys in direct contact with bare aluminum.
I try to avoid both these conditions, but here we see that they have not affected function.

Incidently, Chris gave a talk on rod ferrules that I found to be highly instructive. You can find his slides here.
You should read this even if you do not plan to fit ferrules any time soon. It is an education in making close fitting parts.
1. Make female round and uniform using a homemade brass mandrel and abrasive powder.
2. Make the male round and uniform with an external hone (Sunen).
3. Trim the male O.D. using pillar files (Grobet).

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5 Responses to Maker Unknown

  1. Lee Slikkers says:

    I really like this old style of reel Dave…would be great in the 1wt-3wt category.

  2. Keenan says:

    Do you think that it is possible that this is a shop/home made reel? Maybe some machinist could have come up with the design and made it as a one-off in his off-hours or at home. It looks very 40’s to me and there was a much larger number of highly skilled machinists in that era. This is purely speculation, though.

    It also looks like the pawl can be slid up and down in the slot it resides so it could be disengaged. The design looks so elegantly simple.

    • dave49 says:

      I am not sure that this was made in a home shop, but the lack of any identifying marks makes me think that it was.
      However, both the spring and the little clip that secures it look like they were made by forming, which means tooling dollars and likely commercial manufacture.
      The sliding pawl mount indeed disengages the click. This is a common feature on older fly reels, and is nearly universal on casting reels.

  3. Keenan says:

    I think it may be possible that someone might have had access to a commercial shop and borrowed some time on the equipment. The use of shop time may have been for only the parts that weren’t as easy to make at home. The lack of any kind of makers’ marks coupled with the overall style and finish push me into the “homebrew reel” camp. I think that something commercially made would have had a much nicer surface finish. I could be mistaken, but wasn’t it also typical to use enamel coatings on aluminum instead of bare metal during the time this was thought to be made? All of that is just speculation and half-educated guesses, though.

    Either way, the fact that it’s still a functional reel is a tribute to whomever made it. Not sure how well it would scale up for larger sizes without a little tweaking to the one-sided method for holding it, but it sure is an elegantly simple design. I could easily imagine having multiple spools for different requirements and being able to quickly swap between them as needed with little fuss, too.

  4. Jerry Miller says:

    I have one of these reels and have seen a parts breakdown, just can’t find it anymore so more were made. Jut have to keep looking.

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