Friday, February 5, 2016

Tailor Made By V. Huttley - The Lucky 7 Oberon Fly Reels - Part 1

If you've been reading for awhile then it's likely you remember previous posts which highlighted the fly reel crafting of Vince Huttley of Tailor Made By V. Huttley.  He built a fly reel last year incorporated a Pabst Blue Ribbon can which was highlighted HERE and HERE.   Can't get enough, more of Vince's work can be seen HERE as well.  The dude's got skills, no doubt.

While I might not be so keen on PBR, my go to summer brew is Bell's Brewery Oberon and since it has such distinctive can art, along with a cult following, I figured that if I could smuggle a few cans to Vince's shop in Australia that something cool could possibly happen. 

Well, fast forward a few months and something very cool is happening right now with the creation of what Vince is calling the Lucky 7 Oberon fly reels.  This limited edition run of fly reels, of which I've already called one, will be offered for purchase when complete.

Fortunately Vince is giving everyone a view in the shop as these fly reels are created step by step with a bit of narrative to explain how he works.

Vince wrote...  "I'll try to keep it short and sharp as my drive with these, and all my reels, is I build them for people who appreciate the unique.  Each one built has it's own signature sound and feel and I put huge effort into keeping my work original. 

Living in the tropics of northern Australia it's pretty easy to be isolated to the rest of the cold water dry fly world so the reels have their own style and with a tip of the hat to the builders of yesteryear.  I don't really use drawings when building a reel and just keep a mental note one each step or if it get really tricky I'll jump on Solidworks and sketch the area needed in detail.  Each fly reel series are always changing as I progress.

The workshop started out all manual but as time has progressed I have converting my machines over to computer control.  I feel a bit of a cheat but it just helps stave time on the repetitive things like cutting gears and porting the bodies.  For the moment majority of the works on these reels is manual, in the coming months things will change here though."

"First up, blanks are cut roughly to length plus a millimetre or two, then placed in the lathe to remove excess material in the bore and outside diameter.  After roughing, they are re-chuck and fully finish the side of the body.  It's pretty important to maintain an even finish and accuracy here, as when I move onto the outside of the body, I have no way of holding it again without leaving marks."

"Next step, flip the setup of the chuck to now hold the inside of the bores and finish to do and blend the corners.  To help blend in the radius edges I borrowed a few tricks from the watchmakers and tailored a set of tool steel scrapers, placing a rest in the tool post helps steady the scrapers and it leaves a clean finish."

"Final step for the bodies is to undercut the rear face for the Oberon can insert.  The bodies are fully completed on the lathe after this step and set aside for milling." 

"For a note, I make or modify most of my tooling as it's pretty difficult to find or even buy the gear needed, so I spend a few hours every so often and whip up the right tools.  It does get frustrating at times having to make everything but seeing the final result of a completed reel knocks the painful edge off building the tooling pretty quick.  Next up, the spools..."

There will be more updates on the Lucky 7 Oberon Fly Reels as this project continues but if you're interested in getting on the list for one of the remaining six fly reels, please send Vince an email.  Each fly reel will be priced at around $500 USD and will include a wooden presentation box along with a few other extras which we'll be showing off soon.

Besides the website, please follow Tailor Made By V. Huttley through Facebook, and Instagram too.

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