Making a copy of a Bogdan reel

Jimmcl

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Well, it was well into lockdown III, and I was getting very bored. In lockdown version I I’d made myself a new clock that I’d been promising myself for years, and over Christmas I’d re-read my copy of Topher Browne’s excellent book “Atlantic Salmon Magic”. I noticed that in a few places he referred to a “Bogdan” reel, as if it there were something mystical about them. I’d never seen one, so had a search with Google, and realised that what he was talking about was pretty revered, I found loads of pictures on the internet, and one very special site at http://kuniff.blog89.fc2.com/?all, where a Nice Japanese Man had stripped his reel and shown the whole process courtesy of 18 postings, albeit some years ago

Now, for those of you, like me who didn’t know anything about Bogdan reels, they were made by a chap called Stan Bogdan in Nashua, New Hampshire in the USA from about 1940 until 2011, when he died at the age of 92, having made 9,338 reels by hand. The big attraction for the salmon fisherman (/woman) was the multiplying feature of the larger reels, which were advertised as 2:1 retrieve ratio (it’s actually 1.917:1, but who’s counting). I thought “oh, I’ll buy one of those” and did a search on the internet for one, and when I found one on eBay it was $3,000! Way beyond what I was prepared to pay for a reel.

Well, Rennie might be tight, but my pockets are deeper and arms shorter than his, but I still wanted one, so decided to make one for myself….

To make one, I’d need drawings, so did the inevitable search on the internet – not a bean -nothing, diddly squat. However, the Nice Japanese Man’s website has some lovely pictures, and I reckoned that with a bit patience, I could get some dimensions to let me make a start at doing some drawings. I knew the NJM’s reel was a 3 ¾” version, the same as I wanted, so I started ploughing through all his pictures on one laptop, with another next to me with Excel open. What I did was start with a known measurement - in this case the 3 ¾” diameter – measured the size on the screen with a transparent rule - then scale the measurement of the picture to the part I wanted. For example on one picture the 3 ¾” diameter measured 159mm on the screen, and the O/d of the brake adjuster was 41mm, so the true size of the adjuster was 0.97”. This was great fun, painstaking, but totally engrossing, and I managed to scavenge pages of measurements simply by scaling the photographs, and then set to with a drawing program called DeltaCAD. It helped enormously to know that Stan Bogdan had worked in an era when imperial measurements reigned supreme (they still do in my workshop), and in the case above, the 0.97” would be treated as 1” for drawing purposes.

I also put out a “help” call on an American web site for owners who might be happy to measure up their reels, and received some help, but mainly urges to forget it. Anyway, in the end I finished with what I thought would be a good-ish set of working drawings, so decided to make a start cutting metal. I decided to make the front plate & back plates first, including the gearing on the front plate & brakes on the back plate, then the cage, and finally the spool.

For the faceplates, I started with a piece of 8mm Ally plate , which had been “liberated” from a well known aircraft landing gear manufacturer, having come a poor second in a fight with a plasma cutter. The circles for the 2 endplates were scribed onto one piece of plate, and by taking the measurements from the drawings, the holes for all the mounting & attachments were drilled by reference to the centre.
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End of Part 1
 

Jimmcl

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Part 2
Once these were complete, the plate was split in 2, and mounted on the 4 Jaw chuck in the lathe & centred:
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The outside diameters were turned to 3 1/2”, and the recesses machined and a bush made for the winding handle on the front plate.

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For the gearing, careful counting of the gears in the NJM’s pictures showed 36 teeth on the big wheel and 26 on the smaller one. With 2 of each, the ratio is given by (36/26)^2, which is 1.917:1, a number confirmed in the American Fly Fisher Journal. I have a 0.6mod gear cutter, so worked out the dimensions of the gears from that with the large gear 22.8mm diameter and the smaller 16.8mm, with the distance between centres 0.732”. Cutting gears for me is dead easy – being a clockmaker, so these were quickly made and fitted, together with the cover for the gears. The square section for the handle was formed on the spigot to the first large gear, and it was all test fitted. It ran like silk, which was very pleasing indeed!
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Having completed the front plate, I then set about the backplate. This has the brake adjuster, poachers knob, and oil hole on the outside, and on the inside all the brake assembly and ratchet gear for anti-reversing. It’s complex!
 

Jimmcl

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Part 3
Having completed the front plate, I then set about the backplate. This has the brake adjuster, poachers knob, and oil hole on the outside, and on the inside all the brake assembly and ratchet gear for anti-reversing. It’s complex!

Firstly, I set about the Brake adjuster – it’s pretty and complicated machining because the adjustment disc has 2 reducing diameter grooves within the 1” diameter of the outside. Lots of maths involved in this, which I’ll spare you, but this it came out well. The principal is that as the adjuster on the outside is turned, the brake actuators are dragged tighter towards the centre, thereby tightening the brake shoes on the brake disc. The next job was the outside adjuster, which has 11 very small holes for the click in the adjusting handle to locate in. Here it is being machined:
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And when completed and attached to the outside with the grooved disk on the inside it looks like this:
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Jimmcl

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Part 4
Turning now to the inside of the backplate, there are 2 discs revolving inside each other, one connected to the spool for winding with an anti-reverse ratchet, and the second being the brake drum which has an optional ratchet to make a noise when the reel is being pulled by an enormous salmon. The top ratchet has a pair of prongs on to interface with the spool, and 12 anti-reverse teeth. Interesting machining, because ratchet gears can’t be cut with my gear cutting equipment, so I had to improvise on the lathe and make a cutter that would slide back & forth, cutting about ½ a thou on each cut. Painfully slow, and the set-up is shown here:
1613601161744.jpeg


Once compete the ratchet was put on the milling machine to make the spigots. It will be case-hardened once I’m happy with how everything fits.

The brake drum is made from stainless steel – quite the hardest stuff I’ve dealt with, God only knows it’s provenance. The outside diameters of the ratchet & drum were turned, then the centres relieved to leave a small plate in the middle, with 10 holes around the perimeter.
1613601203959.jpeg

The stem is 10thou longer than the bottom edge for clearance, and the whole lot fitted to a brass spindle that had been fitted to the centre, with an oil hole through for lubrication.

The next job is the brake arms. Again from stainless, this came from a square which was mounted on the 4 jaw chuck and drilled and bored to the inside diameter of the shoes. Once done it was moved to the mill where it was drilled using a digital read out for the mounting & connecting holes for its pivot point, connecting point to the brake actuator, and connections to the brake discs.
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Finally it was back to the lathe for the outside diameter, whence it was split into 2, and attached to the backplate, The finished assembly is shown here.
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Next comes the brake mountings & brake discs, which will follow when I complete them.
 

Chester

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Being a Miller and turner in my youth, I really enjoyed reading that. Results are impressive and I’m sure we are all waiting to see the finished reel.
 

sewinfly

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Absolutely fantastic.
I have always wanted the ability to be a dab hand at maths and a machinist like yourself it's that the correct word.
Sadly I'm not,did not like lathes in school bloody frightened me.

Turning various metals into a reel must be a great feeling.
Can't wait to see the end results.

Spencer. ...............
 

Sawyer

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Fantastic thread, my Uncle was an Horologist & I spent a lot of time in his workshop as a kid, my only regret is that I did not take up his offer of am "apprenticeship"! Cant wait for the next installment.
 

SJF

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I thought I was doing well stripping down to parts my ABU 7000C's and putting them back together clean and working.
Not wasting your lockdown time are you! Very impressive.
 

Clydebuilt

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I absolutely love this type of thread.
Proper skills, hand built engineering and craftsmanship.
Look forward to seeing how it progresses
Thanks for sharing👍🎣
 

Cyclops

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Talented man, brilliant thread. Look forwards to next install

DCH
 

budge

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Superb job, looking forward to the next installment. I'm an engineer by trade but a project like this would be beyond my capabilities.

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Chicharito

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Absolutely fantastic.
I have always wanted the ability to be a dab hand at maths and a machinist like yourself it's that the correct word.
Sadly I'm not,did not like lathes in school bloody frightened me.

Turning various metals into a reel must be a great feeling.
Can't wait to see the end results.

Spencer. ...............
Fantastic!!
 

Rrrr

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Thats impressive. Theres something about "shed engineering" that i really enjoy seeing.


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rodbender

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I used to work for a company that made bearings for "formula one racing teams" and one of the toolmakers made a copy of a Hardy perfect with a stainless steel cage and brass spool! it was a thing of beauty! wish I had got some photo`s of it.
 

budge

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My foreman when I was an apprentice made model steam engines. He would make wooden patterns and have castings made then machine them himself. His ongoing project was a scale model loco engine which he was building from an old set of drawings. He was building it for 5 years before we were made redundant and he retired, I assume he finished it in his shed. I just haven't that kind of patience.

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AlanT

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Great stuff Jim 👍

Sadly I don't have access to any machines these days, I never got round to making a reel.

The last think I built was a working steam engine which is a nice keepsake.

Any pictures of your clocks?
 

bassfly

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Brings back memories of my early days as a machine tool engineer working for the Churchill Machine Tool Co Ltd in Broadheath. My apprenticeship covered a range machine tools and this post is a journey into the past for me. A lot of Engineering in the UK was lost and I changed my engineering background to go into the world of refrigeration. My engineering background stood me in good stead. I had a lathe for a good number of years but had no room for it my present home and so sold it to another enthusiast. Love these posts.
PS. The post above mentions steam engines. My near neighbour has a workshop in his garden shed and has been making steam engines and spares since his retirement. When I lost the handle off my Lamson reel he kindly made me a new handle and locking screw and I fitted it using a drop of Locktight so I didn't lose it again.
 
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Mickfish

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What a talent, as I know first hand as Jim cured one of my reels of its side play.

Mick
 
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