Original Farlows of Pall Mall Fishing Reel Case circa 1920-1930's
Traditional Fishing is practiced by a large number of passionate enthusiasts with great attention to detail, both in the way they fish and the equipment they use. Hours and hours of searching lead them to acquire tackle from bygone days which was all painstakingly made by hand to exacting specifications determined by the customers and their designated quarry be they game fish such as Salmon,Trout and Grayling (the Lady of the Stream) or Course fish such as Chub, Perch, Roach, Barbel, Pike and many more.
Reproduction a beautifully made fishing reel case.
One such devotee of this art, a customer who has bought leather belts and leather wallets from me over the years, approached me recently to see if I could reproduce a beautifully made reel case originally from the famous Farlows of Pall Mall, purveyors of fine fishing tackle for over 170 years. I would guess at it being at least 80 years old and in fine condition with hand stitching throughout, fine baize lining, covered buckle (also hand sewn at 16 per inch) and an overall patina that only years of use could give.
Provenance made by the dedicated craftsmen of yesteryear
My customer is an avid collector of Allcock Aerial reels which in their day back in the early nineteen hundreds, were the ‘state of the art’ reel but were over engineered and crafted which limited their marketability until eventually production ceased altogether in the 1950’s. My client was keen for me to make a case based on the antique version specifically for one of his 4 ½” sized reels and to be as true to the original case as possible. Although I try to stick to the mantra ‘Make what you can Sell, do not Sell what you can Make’, I am prone to wandering off this track, especially when presented with something with such provenance made by the dedicated craftsmen of yesteryear. Hey ho here we go, I thought and agreed to have a go.
Some months passed whilst I picked it up, looked it over and put it back down again, before finally getting to grips with the challenge of sizing, pattern cutting, guessing allowances and finally cutting the materials. Not only is the choice of materials critical; correct substance and leather type, reinforcements of the right stiffness and thickness to give the case it’s rigidity, suitable adhesives and linings, but also the demands of case/box stitching by hand are considerable and are not seen often these days as most cases of this type are almost always sewn with a corner stitching machine.
I use this method for several items I make including the drinks case and done correctly with matched right and left pricking irons and precise use of the awl when making the holes for stitching with double hand twin needle stitch, it gives a beautiful looking stitch with great strength. Beware, just one slip with the awl point going too deep or in the wrong place and it can all end in tears and a ruined piece of work. However, luck was on my side and the case came to fruition and doing great justice to the original (pleased though I was, I always get a fellow craftsman to pass such judgement). The proof however would be down to the customer’s opinion and also if the reel, not yet in my possession, would slide snugly into the case.
Original & New Fishing Reel Case Side by Side Comparrison
The customers return was, as always, a welcome and interesting experience and having shown me lots of additions to his valuable collection it was judgement time – thank you God, customer over the moon, reel fitting perfectly and an order for several more in the bag – bingo – sometimes you have to lead with your heart!! My grateful thanks to him for his passion for the subject, his patience and advice, and for giving me an insight into the world of Traditional Fishing which will not only provide me with more business, but has already inspired some fledgling ideas for new products.