Having used a cable tidy for the past two years, I decided it was time to sort myself out with something a little better for storage of my anchor rope.
I have found myself short sometimes with the 50m of 8mm rope that I normally use, so replacement storage needed to hold more rope, using 8mm would need something large to hold 150m or more. I needed to change my requirements on the size of rope for anchoring. Fishing a lot of rocky ground means a fast anchor needs a comfortable grip on a thicker rope, to pull it free. Deeper water often has cleaner ground so thin rope would be ok, as a lot of yak anglers I know use paracord, I opted for the same. With my thinking cap on I began my calculations for making a reel and how big it would need to be, after some scribbling and use of a calculator I had achieved a size and design.
Next a list of materials, what I had already and what I needed to source. I had everything I needed but required something for the sides, a quick trip to Tesco`s and I had a good sized 8mm thick nylon chopping board for a minimal price of Â£3.
A friend of mine has a very big old lathe, I had a word and got a couple of hours time in his workshop.
I marked out the chopping board with 2 circles at 165mm diameter, then marked one of these with all the drilling centres I needed for fixing the hub, the shaft, the turning knob, a shackle and ventilation holes. First hole to be drilled was in the centre, this allowed me to bolt both pieces together for machining everything else, and end up with two matching sides. I drilled a pilot hole in every point marked, then began with a 5mm bit drilling all the hub fixing holes and the points where the knob and shackle were to be fixed. The ventilation holes were drilled with a 20mm and a 25mm Fostner bit as these are neater than holesaws. The next job was to mount the whole thing in the jaws of the lathe chuck, the bolt holding the 2 pieces together was of sufficient length to do this. The job of turning was very easy because of the soft nature of the nylon board and they were soon down to size with a nice smooth finish.
The hub was next, a spare piece of 50mm nylon bar was put in the lathe and both ends machined flat reaching a length of 100mm. While in the chuck I took the opertunity to drill the centre for the shaft, a 6.5mm drill to allow a clearence hole for the 6mm stainless shaft.
While the lathe was still warm, I decided to get everything done that involved machining so some 20mm nylon rod was put in the chuck. I turned a knob on the end of it and drilled the centre, this was cut off and I machined the inside face. I put the rod back in the chuck and proceeded to make the handle for the shaft, length was 125mm. One end of the handle and one end of the knob then received further attention and were recessed to hide the ends of screw threads and nyloc nuts.
Back to the hub, this needed to be drilled and threaded to fix the sides to it. A piece of 6mm screwed rod was cut to size and the reel side plates were bolted in place using the centre holes. The whole thing was then held on the pillar drill and every other fixing hole was drilled. I had intended using 6 fixings on each side but thought better of it and 3 would do. Once drilled, the screwed rod was taken out and the fixing holes were tapped to 5mm.
The final piece to make was the shaft, this was made from a piece of 6mm stainless rod cut to size and threaded on the ends, the finished length was 240mm.
The side plate on the knob side of the reel then had the centre hole drilled out to 14mm, this was to recess the nut on the end of the shaft but also allow the use of a socket to tighten it up.
An oversight soon became apparent, the only place to fix a cord to the reel was the ventilation holes. A quick thought on the matter soon had a drill in my hand and I was drilling into the hub through one of the unused side plate fixing holes, this came out just inside the edge of the hub.
It was finished, my new anchor reel. A small D shackle was put in the hole opposite the knob, this will be used for a snap link to lock the anchor reel off and fix it to the anchor buoy.
I just needed to put on the paracord. I had purchased a spool of 100m off Ebay, price Â£7. I threaded the end through the hole I had drilled in the hub and tied a knot, then began to wind, it didn`t take too long before I reached the other end of the spool leaving plenty of room on the anchor reel for at least another 50m, maybe another 100m once the cord has been wet and re-wound back on tight.
I am pleased with the end result and look forward to using my new anchor reel. I must admit, making it was a great pleasure which will always be in my mind when I have it in my hand.
Total cost for this project including cord was around Â£13.