Spool Tension Tech

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Paul Roberts
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Spool Tension Tech

Post by Paul Roberts »

So... it appears that spool tension (knobs at each end) is controlled by pressure exerted on the spool shaft tips. What are the materials used inside the nut to provide that pressure? I seem to see mostly what look like flat copper "bearings" that the spool shaft rides against. What else is there? Do they wear out? I have a couple reels that the tension knobs must be tightened all the way to work. Are there alternative materials that could be fitted into the nut that might work? Any one had to do this? Suggestions for materials that worked/might work?
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Ron Mc
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Re: Spool Tension Tech

Post by Ron Mc »

Hi Paul,
I'll answer here as a metallurgist - phosphor bronze is the hardest copper-based alloy, 240 BHN, a little lead for lube, and that's the metal bearings in the spool caps. Also used for springs.
Agate was a very common spindle bearing material - Meek and Talbot took that far enough to use ruby and sapphire in their highest-grade reels.
Glass was used very often in lower grade reels, such as this blue-eyed Shakespeare Leader
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Re: Spool Tension Tech

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Thanks, Ron.
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Ron Mc
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Re: Spool Tension Tech

Post by Ron Mc »

of course you're welcome friend.
Would love to see others throw up some examples.

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Re: Spool Tension Tech

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Ron Mc wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:26 pm
Would love to see others throw up some examples.
I can take a hint...

The first photo shows the jeweled end cap from a pre-war Shakespeare 1740. The cap holds a flat ground agate (technically a capstone, not a jewel). There is a small dimple scored in this agate from years of shaft abrasion. The eight ears around the bearing prevent the cap from unthreading once set in position. This particular bearing has a bronze insert inside the brass bearing body.

The second photo shows the end cap of a post-war Langley Lurecast. There are two bronze discs and a felt ring inside the cap. My discs measure 0.010" thick, 0.280" in diameter, with four 0.061" holes. The felt ring touches the spool shaft to supply oil (this one is falling apart!). The magnified insert photo shows the dented and scored bronze disc that supports the shaft. This end cap is designed to be installed tightly - adding or subtracting discs centers the spool in the reel frame. The handle side cap (also equipped with bronze discs) is used to adjust the casting tension.

The third photo shows the end cap of an inexpensive Pflueger that I bought in the early 70s. The spool shaft is supported by a plastic cup. No agates here. The brass strips around the bearing are intended to hold the end cap in place, but they aren't as reliable as the Shakespeare design.


Tom


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Ron Mc
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Re: Spool Tension Tech

Post by Ron Mc »

jgestar wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:24 am
... This particular bearing has a bronze insert inside the brass bearing body...
Great job Tom, thanks for the photos. Bronze insert = sleeve bushing in the frame-plate.

You've heard me brag before on Shakespeare prewar bronze bushings - from that lowly Leader to top-line Perfect, never found spool wobble in these reels, and rarely find a Pflueger trade reel of the same age without spool wobble -
-not to offend Bad Bob. :mrgreen:
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Re: Spool Tension Tech

Post by Paul Roberts »

jgestar wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:24 am
Ron Mc wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:26 pm
Would love to see others throw up some examples.
I can take a hint...
...
The second photo shows the end cap of a post-war Langley Lurecast. There are two bronze discs and a felt ring inside the cap. My discs measure 0.010" thick, 0.280" in diameter, with four 0.061" holes. The felt ring touches the spool shaft to supply oil (this one is falling apart!). The magnified insert photo shows the dented and scored bronze disc that supports the shaft. This end cap is designed to be installed tightly - adding or subtracting discs centers the spool in the reel frame. The handle side cap (also equipped with bronze discs) is used to adjust the casting tension.
...
Tom

Thanks so much, Tom. Very helpful. So my Lurecast, on the tail side, has a single bronze plate bearing (4-holed) and had the felt ring but it was totally disintegrated. I actually thought it was dirt until I dug it out. It was just greasy felt dust. The face side knob is empty! No bearings at all.

Bill Sonnett is sending me replacement bearings, four I believe he said. Should I make a felt piece for the tail side? Maybe that's there to hold oil?

Thanks,
Paul
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