Lamson LP Owners Question... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Lamson LP Owners Question...

09-14-2002, 06:29 PM
I feel the Lamson LP is a kickass reel but with a couple of glitches that havn't been resolved by the manufacturers over the years.

I had only one clutch problem but they sent me a few extras and never had another one go bad, so that's not the problem - instead I would like the drag system to have a greatly increased surface pad area on the rotor so that it does not get affected by dunkings and gives me that sense of being up to the job.

More specifically I want to work on a new drag plate design that would fit in the existing mounting holes yet apply a much larger delrin, teflon, or other material evenly onto the copious surface area available on the rotor.

Has anyone done this? Anyone mechanical engineers interested in brainstorming on this?

I really love the simple meat-and-potatoes frame of the old machined LP and with I'd rather keep using them with a super-charged drag than some of the other reels available on the market today.

Should be a fairly simple project. We could document it completely and maybe offer it to members to upgrade their LP's as a fund-raiser or something, who knows.

In any case, I am very interested in super-charging my 5 LP drags.

09-14-2002, 11:10 PM
I've never considered this option but I sure like the idea of modifiying my LP5. Despite the capacity limitations of this reel (a windcutter pretty much fills it if you like backing), I've always liked the weight of the reel and how it balances out my 914-3.

Though mine has yet to give me any repair problems in the years I had it , I have noticed this same design flaw you mentioned. You soak it, and you're palming or praying until she dries out. If you come across any good options elsewhere, please be sure to post them. Thanks, JB

09-15-2002, 12:20 AM

My good buddy and I have been discussing making a high quality machined fly reel - he is a master tool and die maker. He loves to make stuff - the more complicated the better. While this is not a whole reel - it might be the place to start.

Give me more information and I'll run it by him.

09-15-2002, 11:09 AM
I would also like to look into the LP problems.
I have had clutches fail on some big stripers.
Also experienced bruised knuckle syndrome from wet
drags.:mad: As long as I have access to a machine shop and several other flyfishing ME's Might as well try. Could also ask Lamson if they have any recommendations.

09-15-2002, 11:52 AM
I have 8 Lamson LP reels and would be very interested in any upgrade drag kit for retrofit.

The old LP7 series is a fine low cost reel for large capacity requirements however, it has the identical drag to the small trout reels.

Fred Krow

09-17-2002, 10:54 AM
OK - that's enough interest for me, let's open the discussion with a few high-level concepts:

The current drag is a triangular plate affixed with two screws to mounting posts close to the outer edge. In the middle there is a cam that pushes the plate up or down to change the pressure of the delrin pad on the disc.

The simplest change I could imagine is to just change the shape of the plate from something that gets skinnier to something that flares out to accomodate a large brake pad-like material, just like an automobile brake pad.

We could use the same mounting holes and cam acutator to control the pressure on the disc.

I think fabricating the plate would be trivial, but finding a drag material would be challenging, maybe not. Maybe they sell sheets of teflon that can be cut to shape with an xacto knife in 15 seconds, who knows.

Also, we'd want the pad to be fully tangent to the disc instead of skew, so the plate might need to be bent slightly -or- the attachment of the pad to the plate might need to accomodate some pivot, like the feet on a cafeteria chair.

I've thought of a few much more complicated ways to apply an entire circular drag surface, but I think this might already make a huge difference.


John Desjardins
09-17-2002, 11:09 AM
Juro, I missed this post the first time around. Is there any chance of a picture or schematic of the reel. While I don't have a lamson I've done enough design & procurment of unusual, low volume mechanical assemblies that I may be able to help.

09-17-2002, 11:19 AM
I'm a Mech. E. I do 3D CAD all day long. I've wanted to make a reel, but never really had the motivation. This sounds interesting.

Teflon..How much do you need? How thick? We get it in rods, sheets, squares whatever.

Try This. (

I have never seen the inside of a Lamson, but I know what a Tioga Looks like ;).


09-17-2002, 03:14 PM
Awesome! This project is now oficially underway... here's a flashback from my old technical drawing days...

09-17-2002, 03:56 PM
Quick drawing Juro, but is kinda what you're looking at?


09-17-2002, 10:14 PM
YES! That's definitely the concept. WHat CAD system do you use?


I didn't include the cam in the first sketch, but it forces the plate up or down based upon how you turn the knob on the outside of the reel. I haven't taken it apart yet but I assume it's just pulling or pushing the plate and pad on and off the disc.

Studying the way that adjustment works will lead to whether the plate can be flat stock or whether we'll need to calculate a slight bend angle to ensure the large replacement pad contacts the disc fully.

I should probably measure dimensions of the existing plate and post those too...

09-18-2002, 07:18 AM
SDRC By I-Deas is the CAD we use. It is really pretty smooth.

We'll have to meet up again before the season's over so I can get a good look at the inside of it.

I do have access to a machine shop at work, and would be more than happy to see what we can gin up. I'm sure I can get some teflon free as a sample from some vendors as well. I'll have to see how thick we're thinking.

Designing fishing reels is WAY more fun than "reel" work :hehe:!

09-21-2002, 11:29 PM

Having played around a 'little' with reels over the past 5 years, I have spent a considerable amount of time experimenting with drag designs and materials.

The 'triangle' you are talking about on the LP's is actually a spring plate. The earlier models used a small cork pad glued to the frame to form that half of the drag. The spring plate has a small pad, machined rulon (probably "J"), to complete the sandwich of the stainless disc. This model was absolutely terrible with the hydroplaning once wet. The newer models replaced the back-side cork with two rulon pads, making a rulon-stainless-rulon brake. Not quite as bad as the originals with hydroplaning, but leaves quite a bit to be desired.

As a side note, the largest LP's use a different spring plate configuration- two pads replace the single.

If memory serves me correctly, Sci Anglers upgraded their drag pads to teflon- about 7 or 8 years ago on their caliper type drag models. This helped tremendously with the hydroplaning.

What you are asking to do with this design is going to be an uphill battle. You can try using machined teflon pads on both sides of the disc- might help, but probably not by much. If you increase the drag surface area (as proposed in one of the drawings) using plastic drag materials, you will also need to substantially increase your spring pressure, otherwise your reel will have little drag.

One idea to try would be to get your drag pad surface area as large as possible and use high quality cork (along the lines of Abel, etc, etc) for both sides of the sandwich and keep it lubed with pure neetsfoot oil or suberlube grease. This might work because the cork takes less pressure to clamp down on the disc and the lube dramatically increases wet drag.

Just a thought,


09-22-2002, 07:24 AM
WOW - great reply! Thanks Inland.

Because I use these reels in the sand-churning new england ocean brine very often, teflon is attractive for reduced care and concerns. Your input on SA's approach gives me confidence that it will be a good option.

Your comment raises another possibility - maybe it just needs a Teflon wiper to clean up the moisture ahead of the existing rulon pad. When dry it's super smooth and a good drag as is as many will agree. Cork in this case would introduce lubricants which would affect the rulon's performance even when not dunked.

On the "beef-up" proposal, designing a stiffer more assertive spring plate should be achievable with a bona fide mechanical engineer on the team. If I am not mistaken, the pressure is applied as in a lever by the drag adjust knob, which in turn pushes the pad harder against the disc. I am confident that this can be converted into more pressure than is currently generated and over a larger surface area using teflon. Could be wrong, worth a try anyway.

Nick - I worked for Computervision and Paramteric Technology for over a decade (SDRC's biggest competitor at the time!). I don't have the software on my PC anymore, unfortunately. I did design work for a while, but 20 years ago! All I have to show for it is confidence though :rolleyes:

Here are some proposals (conjecture) for defeating this challenge of increasing pressure:

1) Keep things one-sided but expand the foot print to accept a bigger pressure plate by adding stainless posts to the inside and using machine screws coming in from the outside. Replace the pad behind the disc with a large teflon surface, then replace the existing pressure plate with the turbo version. Simpler approach.

2) Sticking with rulon but converting the one-sided adjustment of the sandwich to a 2-sided compression, in other words both sides squeeze the disc. A bit complicated but would make a huge difference. Certainly not the most complicated thing I've ever worked on. The lever action that pushes the existing plate down to the disc would also put pressure on a complementary pressure plate from the other side, forming a two-sided pressure sandwich. We'd definitely have to model this electronically for kinetics and if you have finite element models, why not? I would imagine that the rulon is forgiving, and we could make the compression independently adjustable.

All this makes me wonder what is behind that disc... off to tear one apart...

09-22-2002, 03:51 PM

Since the LP disc is floating, using your #1 idea is more than adequate. No need to get too complicated with trying to alter this reels drag. You are going to have to work within the tolerances given.

If you can get your hands on some, Vespel is the ultimate drag material. It is a graphite impregnated plastic/ceramic. VERY PRICEY!!! It is almost as strong as brass when used in bearing applications. Much better than rulon or teflon, but costs about 10 to 15 times as much.

If you are going to run with synthetics, I would use your 'wiper' idea, but don't use plastic. The water will just slide under it. Hunt down some rubber oil seals. Cut and modify them as need to make enough contact,not too much or it will cause too high of start up inertia, with the disc's surface to act as a windshield wiper and push the water to outside with centrifigal force. This should dry off the disc rather quickly and allow normal drag operation.

Just a few thoughts,


09-22-2002, 10:17 PM
I would suggest caution on modifications for too much increase in drag force. The weak link in the Lamson LP design is the clutch. I know of several SW users who trash the clutch assembly easily with over tightening the drag with hookups on heavy stripers.

Lamson had some problems with the clutch due to poor quality control by their subcontractor, that batch apparently got out into production reels and were especially weak.

Sage or Lamson will send you a replacement at no charge if you call and request the clutch.

I agree the slipping when wet condition should be the main reason for drag upgrade.


09-22-2002, 10:23 PM
I have had only one clutch go in many years of hard use of the 5 LP's I own. WW sent me a handful of spares but I haven't needed more than the one that blew. The same clutch fits all models BTW.

Other's I know have not been so lucky. Anyway, I don't believe the clutch and drag are related... if so can you explain?