Part 5 of the Van Buren Reel

Now I’ve completed the internal mechanisms – the stop latch and the multiplier gearing. Here is a detail of the stop latch:

The latch lever was a tricky little part to make! It shows the ingenuity of 19th century craftsmen. The ball on the end is oval and not round. It was not turned on a lathe (or at least it did not appear to have been). It was filed and polished by hand. At the other end is a ramp filed in to the lever arm. This ramp engages the brass “spring” that has a small metal peg (you can see that right at the angle where the foot part of the spring extends upwards. It is peened in place. Its purpose is to engage a hole in the spool to keep it from spinning when the latch is engaged. When the latch ball is pushed upward, the ramp lifts the brass spring and pin and disengages it from the spool. Simple but effective. Here it is in the disengaged position.

Now I’ll show the multiplier mechanism. First, there is a small axle for the main gear. It is turned from steel and fastened from the back with a 2-56 screw. I don’t know how the original was held on since I can’t disassemble the reel! But a small screw seems logical. I suppose it could be riveted with an integral rivet too.

Here is the gear and pinion installed temporarily. The original was also brass for the 20 tooth gear and steel for the 8 tooth pinion. Interestingly, a modern 20 tooth 32 pitch gear has a slightly small diameter. But it works fine. You can see the square end on the gear to accept the handle crank. It was filed by hand.

Next, the crank and grip assembly are installed. The original grip appeared to be ivory. I made mine from Tagua nut – vegetable ivory. Once it is yellowed, it should look pretty authentic.

And here is a top view of the entire mechanism with the cover removed so you can see everything.

Now that all the parts are fabricated, I will fit the reel foot to the rod that John sent me. A little rework is going to be required on the foot or rod or both. Once that is done, I will do the final assembly of the reel. This is a one way street since the pillar ends and pinion are peened in place.

My intent is to lightly “age” the reel. I’ve been testing various formulations for darkening the brass and steel. I will also add accumulated oil/dirt residue to the areas that an angler would have difficulty wiping away. Stay tuned!

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4 Comments on “Part 5 of the Van Buren Reel”

  1. Richard Says:

    The stop latch reel is really coming along, Michael. Nice work! The James Haywood reels I have that look like what you’re making hold the front plate on with steel or iron screws, although I’ve seen quite a few brass reels like this with peened pillars. I look forward to seeing the finished product before Van Buren takes it fishing!

  2. mljhackney Says:

    Richard, I would love to see your Haywood reels some time! The reel that Steve Vernon lent me that is attributed to Conway (early) had little wire pins to hold the pillars on the front plate. That was interesting! Screws were an expensive item back then. The screws on the reel I am reproducing were all hand made. The reel is finished now, I am just “aging” it so it looks like it has been used for a few years.

  3. John e Says:

    Wow, Michael, you just get better and better! I’m guessing a few Old Reel Collectors are sweating bullets out there….just too good! Maybe you ought to make a couple more and sell them to Vernon :-]

  4. mljhackney Says:

    Thanks John. I’ve thought about doing a small number of these for collectors or re-enactors. I do stamp them with my name and date them on the inside so they are not confused with the “reel” thing.

    I didn’t mention this before, but most of the parts are interchangeable with the original reel. The screws are not though. I didn’t measure them but them seem to be an odd size (#3 maybe 48 TPI). Although I cut my screws by hand, I did not have the proper taps and die for this size. You can’t tell from the outside anyway!


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