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Discussion Starter #1
I have been having problems with spools on a couple of Hardy St John reels that I have. Both reels are in very good condition, in fact one is almost new. Both reels function flawlessly with their original spools.

A couple years ago I bought a spare spool and it only fits on one of the reels. On the like new reel it seems that the spare spool has a slight out of roundness that rubs the inside of reel cage at one small spot (come to think of it, I'm not sure if it is the cage or the body of the reel it is rubbing on). However it fits the second reel just fine, so that is what I use it on.

Recently I bought a "Hardy St. John" spool off the big auction site. It doesn't fit either of my reels. On the like new reel it barely fits into the reel and rubs on almost the entire inside of the reel body or cage. On my second reel this spool won't even go down over more than about a 1/4 of the length of the spindle - it just plain won't go on at all. In the long run I sent it back to the guy I purchased it from, though he doesn't seem too happy about that :(

So I have several questions:
Has anyone else experienced similar problems with St. Johns?

How about with other Hardy lightweight reels? (FWIW I have a St. Aiden that I bought a spare spool for a year or so ago and it is just fine).

Did the St. John design change slightly over time? (FWIW the finish on my two reels is different suggesting they were manufactured at different times - both have two screws on the spool catch plate and neither are old leaded finishes.)

I wonder if Hardy's quality control on these old St Johns was less than stellar? Was the St John a lower quality reel for them at the time they were made?
 

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Lift, Touch and Fire
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England or Korea

I had a similar problem with the Marquis 1, and found the made in England reel, is not the same as the Korean made reels. Made in England reels needs the 3 7/8" spool, which is different from the Korean made spool.

Called Hardy about this and they asked me to send them the reel and spool. They replied that it would not fit and found me the correct spool on Ebay. Korean made fits Korean made, English made fits English made.
 

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Spey Is The Way
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Interesting. Not to take away from the St. John question, but there is a video on one of the dealer website's talking about how the new Marquis spools will fit the old reels. He sounded quite sure of himself.
 

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St. John spools:

There is a difference between the original St. John and the MKII model. The check gear on the MKII's is smaller than the original models, so although you can get a MKII spool on the spindle of an older model cage the spool will not go all the way on a MKII as the check pawls get in the way. Conversely a MKII spool will go on most older cages but the pawls will not make enough contact with the check gear to provide any drag.

Having had more than a few St. Johns in my time I have had some spools that are interchangeable and some not. If I remember correctly the leaded 3 screw Pre WW2 leaded models were slightly different than the post war 2 screw ones although some were interchangeable the difference in spindle diameter was usually the reason for not fitting.

You have to remember that this model started production in the early 1920's, were hand made, with several variations.I think the original model with the large arbour was marketed as a dry fly reel for salmon. It was a slightly less expensive reel than the Perfect and really just a larger version of the St. George minus the line guard.

A great reel with a long history and one of my favourites.
 

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Pics of the St. John face and check would help. There are at least two St. John models. There is a RHW with single pawl that engages the spool cog. There is a LHW. There is also a MK 2 L/RHW check similar to the Lightweight reels. But all have the same 3 7/8 diameter

Hardy should up-date their site where it is said the new Marquis spool is interchangeable with the originals Marquis.
 

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I bought two spare St John spools because I already owned a St John MK II, English made. The spare spools would fit the spindle diameter, but wouldn't fit within the inside diameter of the reel cage. I got lucky I guess. By sanding the paint off the edge of the spare spool, it fit inside the reel cage, and I was able to slide it down the spindle and egage the latch. Did the same with the second spare, and both have worked just fine ever since.

Sg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
But having to sand the edges of the spool should not have to happen. That's the sort of reason that has me wondering if there were slight variations among MK2 reels or if QA/QC on these reels was just poor.
 
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