Reel Seat Building

While it's great to have a lathe for turning wood reel seats, I have designed methods for making the reel seats with a jig for roughing out and a jig for making a DIY lathe using a hand held speed drill. My preferred method of course is to turn on my lathe but most of my students do not have a lathe.

I also do not use a router to cut the mortise for the reel. I have found cutting by hand is an accurate and safe way to make the cut. Using a file and sandpaper works very well. I have found its not a matter of taking to much time to remove material by hand but rather removing material to fast so as to over cut. It takes a few reel seats to get the hang of it but then it comes naturally. I have included a photo below of a stacked bamboo reel seat I made by hand and will present much more examples and details in future posts.

Laminated two piece blanks
Perhaps the most difficult thing students have is getting the center hole drilled straight through the blank. I use a blank that starts out larger than most about (1-1/8") To make the blank I select the wood I want to use and then saw a thin groove in the middle of the blank. This groove provides a guide for the drill bit to keep on tract. After laminating the two pieces I then am able to drill a 5/16-3/8 hole through the blank with accuracy.( Illustration and photos below)

Another way that works well is to use a hole saw and cut out pieces and then glue and clamp. This is how I started and made the bamboo reel seat shown in the photographs. The bamboo I used was salvaged from a bamboo chopping block. The main consideration using this method is to go slow on the cutting so as to not over heat and burn the wood.

Please note, The information provided on this page is only a basic representation of the subject. My plan for this blog is to expand on each topic by presenting new rods being built, trial and error expeirments with bamboo, composite materials, tools and techniques.

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