Contained within Reels & Making Them is a complete second book entitled Aerials, presenting John's innovative approach to hand-crafting the beautiful and highly functional Aerial reels originated by Henry Coxon in the late 19th century. John's minimalist approach to reel building is based on hand-working tools and techniques and does not require machine tools. The information on laying out complex parts and fabricating them with simple tools and the sections on making screws (including details on John's novel screw slotting jig) are practical and enlightening.
In addition to a wealth of reelmaking information, Reels & Making Them also chronicles John's life as a fly tyer, angler and reelsmith. For instance, John recalls meeting famed reelmaker Ari Hart at an angling show in San Francisco, leading to a life-long friendship. Tales of John's childhood raising ducks and stories of fish and fishing will appeal to all anglers.
Reels & Making Them originally was published electronically in sections over a period of ten months. Each handwritten and illustrated page was individually and carefully scanned to capture the authenticity, charm and artistry of John's work. It's all here - the erasure marks, corrections, pasted-in photos and illustrations, and blue-lined notebook paper - as close to the original as we could make it.