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Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:24 pm 
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Er....well....Jupiter, Florida...but that's not important right now. ORCAn Ed Pritchard picked this (presumably) one-off reel at a flea market several years back. He recently decided he had cherished it enough and ORCAn Jay White chose to add it to his fine collection. I was given the job of seeing if it could be brought back to former glory and so had a fun time exploring the somewhat novel mechanisms the maker incorporated into it.

First of all, this is a big reel, especially for a level wind, with an appr. 5 1/2" diameter and 4 1/2" body width, not counting three inches of three speed transmission and a rather interesting "drag wheel" on the back plate. on arrival, it was obvious that it spent time around saltwater and had been rode hard and put away wet:




The star drag, which really doesn't create all that much drag, turns clockwise when the reel is cranked, which means that one has to take care not to knock it and loosen the spool during cranking. Once removed, the back side housing covering the levelwind gears can be esposed. the levelwind gear then can be removed, back plate unbolted, and spool remove. The spool rides on a spindle, which has a platen on the face plate side that acts in concert with the star wheel to tighten the spool on the spindle and allow it to turn when reel is cranked. There was no cork or leather washer in the reel, but I'm thinking that would have been a good add:



The transmission is really interesting and is almost brilliant...almost in that it works by pulling the handle out three different distances so as to engage 2:1 (handle all the way out), 1:1 (handle mid-way) and 4:1(handle all the way in), but only the 2:1 ratio works consistently; the 1:1 in the middle is hard to find and the 4:1 gears are off just enough that it wants to bind up after a couple turns. 4:1 is a bit too fast for the rest of the reel anyway:


Amazingly, the mostly brass and hard rubber reel cleaned up pretty good and doesn't look to bad. The level wind was frozen up and required some TLC plus addition of a small plate to allow application of pressure on the pawl to get it to make the turns at the ends...but it works fine!



So, it's still a mystery as to what role this reel played in fishing. The huge brass foot certainly wouldn't work on any normal reel seat. It seems more likely to me that it was mounted on the back rail of the boat and was either used for dancing a teaser, running a kite for kite fishing or maybe to catch lunch....one could only hope that a big blue fin didn't come along and latch on...spool city!


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 am 
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trick reel, and what a great project


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:32 am 
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Top notch restoration of a unique reel. Thanks for posting photos and the thorough explanation of the inner workings. Great job of preserving a one of a kind reel.


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:18 am 
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You are a talented guy, John. Incredible restoration.


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:50 am 
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Thanks, guys! If anyone has thoughts about what it was used for, would love to hear!


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:32 am 
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Well done, John! A lot of interesting improvised features on that reel. I especially get a kick out of the star drag adjustment wheel idea and design. :D


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:53 am 
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Yeah, Tommy, the quality is all over the place. It's like a collaboration between an excellent machinist and his idiot son-in-law. On the one hand, you have well cut gears that, for the most part, work as they should; you have an excellent level wind setup with a properly cut guide to keep the pawl on track, even at the turns. But then you have that star wheel, which is too big and in the way plus the hole where it threads onto the spindle is off-center! The screws are a hodgepodge that in a couple places, have no purchase on the housing... and catch that nail used to hold the level wind main gear in place! The nut holding the idler gear is just stuck on and was sufficiently loose to keep if from running true, so I cut a bigger sleeve to fit over the shaft to keep in aligned when the cover was on.

Re the big drag star, perhaps it's set up that way to make it easy to disengage the spool, rather than a problem as I suggested earlier. When you loosen that wheel, you disengage both the spool and the level wind. So, if you had reason to want to let out the line without that LW tooling back and forth at break-neck speed, a flick of that wheel would free it all up. Instant free spool!


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:43 pm 
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Just an amazing restoration, John! And you actually know what all them parts DO! I am in awe! Best---- JoeW


Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:45 pm 
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Well done, John, and an interesting design. I find the transmission interesting, I've not seen one like it, and the final product looks great! I'm sure the owner is/will be pleased.


Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:48 am 
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John
Great job cleaning up an odd reel !! Those gears look like something that came out of a clock or some light duty kitchen implement not a reel ! And your choice of words is perfect ( excellent machinist and his idiot son-in-law ) how do you come up with that stuff ?? I will bet you took plenty of pictures to help with reassembly of that one. I saw it on Ebay and was tempted but I am glad it went to an ORCA member and ended up in your hands as it would have if I had bought it !! Great job John. John Taylor ps you can't beat ELDERCARE !


Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:06 am 
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Thanks, JT (and all!). I know what you are saying about the gears and maybe they were salvaged from some other thing. However, I'm not sure where he would have found that spiral cut guide and levelwind mechanism. Does anyone know of another tool that has such a guide or a levelwind reel that big?


Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:28 am 
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I'm wondering if, instead of thinking that these parts came from another piece of machinery, it might just be that the maker was a clockmaker (surely wouldn't be the first time), and that's how he made gears.... and that might put the place of manufacture in Connecticut (or at least the NE, where it seems a lot of clock makers came from). Just a guess. Unless another similar one shows up we may never know....


Last edited by sdlehr on Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:36 am 
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Great job restoring the reel John, all that old reel needed was a little "Elder Care" to get it back up and running. My hat is off to you for doing such a great job!

When I first acquired the reel the foot really had me puzzled too. My initial thought was that it was a kite reel, but heck, why would anyone need with a three speed kite reel? It was most likely fastened down to a flat surface and used to troll for dinner as you suggested.

Anyway, it is always fun to find reels like that and then watched them come back to life after an expert restoration. There sure were a lot of talented guys out there with some pretty creative ideas and I feel very lucky that some of their inventions have passed my way over the years. I'm also glad that we have a forum like this so that others can share in the experience. Thanks for posting your fine restoration work on this unique old reel John!


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