More of the Van Buren Reel

Here are some photos of the reel foot and bracket and this assembled to the front and back plates. I am fabricating the parts using only hand tools and leaving tooling marks as on the original. It’s interesting, the original has a very refined reel frame and spool but the foot and bracket are “rough”. This could be because a lathe was used on the plates and spool whereas the foot and bracket were obviously cut and filed by hand.

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3 Comments on “More of the Van Buren Reel”

  1. royce Says:

    Masterful! The handwork involved in manufacturing in the 1850’s is quite impressive.

  2. mljhackney Says:

    Interestingly, the techniques I developed for my book on reelsmithing came in very handy while building this reel. If I had chosen to use more modern methods, I would have spent a lot more time building jigs and tooling. Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to completely set-up my 19th century watchmaker’s treadle lathe. It would have been perfect for this reel, along with a good set of gravers. I had to kludge together a steady rest to use on my metal lathe so I could do the hand work. Working with a graver with a 4″ 3-jaw chuck spinning around 1/2″ away is not work for the faint-hearted!

  3. royce Says:

    now I’m off to find out what a set of gravers is, it sounds deadly. :)


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