Furling Machine

For more than 10 years, I have made and fished furled leaders, using the method of Claude Freaner. I have now made a fixture/machine to assist in the process.

The machine is hand cranked, so I no longer need to drag out a drill, extension cord, and stop watch. It has a mechanical counter to keep track of turns. Also, it has two parallel spindles, so I do not have to unfold the thread layout for the first twist, then re-fold for the furling.

I have a set of 36 DP gear cutters for making reel ratchets, so the Delrin gears here are 36 DP. Speed-up ratio is 84/17.

The head end of the machine might be considered a “Walton Engine”.

Here is the back side of the head, showing the crank that operates the counter.

During twisting and furling, the leader is tensioned by a hanging weight.

The knob on top of the slider block locks it in place while the thread loops are made.

To date, I have only fished leaders made of fly tying thread. I find these completely satisfactory and durable. Once I tried using 2 pound test monofilament, but would get kinks during unfolding and refolding. With this improved tensioning system, I am now able to work with monofilament. Haven’t fished it yet.

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10 Responses to Furling Machine

  1. joeguide3 says:

    I have been using the drill method, but I like your idea better. The one advantage with the drill is that you have a sense of tension such that you can use 2 pound test without the worrying so much about refolding.

    Are you planning to sell the head and tail?

    • dave49 says:

      I used the drill method for several years, and certainly the tension can be felt. On this fixture, tension is set by a hanging weight (see last two photos). I have been using 4 ounces, and that seems to be OK for either thread or 2 pound mono. With the drill method, I was unable to use mono; an instant of slack would produce kinks. The weight is always there.
      No plans to produce this, I would have to find sources for the time consuming parts like the big gear.

  2. Bryan says:

    Fuel for thought…I am in the process of using a electric hand beater…the one with the twin beaters for whipping eggs etc one head spins CW the other CCW…cut off the beater heads and silver solder on some small hooks…you’ll need to make a bracket and fit some thrust bearings to prevent the shafts pulling out of the motor head…and there you have it…a multi speed line furler.
    ps I used my wife’s machine…but I had to buy her a new one.

    • dave49 says:

      I am concerned that the opposite hand twist of the two strands may be a problem. At the second twist (i.e., the two strands together) you will be tightening one bundle while relaxing the other. Could cause your leader to kink.

  3. Pingback: The K’Nex Furling Machine | North Branch Reels

  4. Jim says:

    I’m putting an “engine” on my old furling jig and was wondering if you would share the dimensions of the sliding rails as well as any advice to produce one.

    • dave49 says:

      The two rails that the block slides on are .25 diameter aluminum dowel, spaced .75 inch apart. They allow the block to travel as much as 9 inches. There is a thumbscrew in the block to lock it in position, which you need to do while stringing up the frame.

  5. Carl says:

    Issue you have a counter. How many turns do you have to make to finish a leader?

    • dave49 says:

      On my standard leader of about 7 foot length (w/o tippet), the first twist of the two bundles simultaneously is 1200 turns. Then when I do the reverse twist of two bundles around each other, it is 800 turns.

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