There was only one problem...

The coil winder itself is only *half* of the whole machine.

A coil winder machine is actually made of two parts - the coil winder itself and a wire tensioner
or 'dereeler'. The tensioner's job is to remove coil wire from the supply spool without damaging it,
while also putting enough tension on the wire to make it lay down neatly on the bobbin.
This is very important, because a pickup coil wound too loosely or tightly would be very difficult
to play in an instrument and in extreme cases might not even work at all.


This is where I seriously lucked out.



If you look at this original photo of my winders when I bought them, there are actually two
kinds of wire tensioners shown here. The coil of red wire shown in the center of this photo
lying down sideways on this machine is really mounted to the Model 20's original 1940's
'rotating spool' wire tensioner... but this tensioner is bolted down to the tabletop backwards.

Why? Search me.

The 'lucky' part is at the top of the photo. The four objects mounted onto the rods
at the top of the photo are a set of four 'fine wire' tensioners
that were special ordered from the
Stevens company for the 120M winder... and could be used with as small as 46 gauge wire!
This made them perfect for winding pickups - and they're even period correct too!

One of my friends gave me an original copy of a coil winding textbook written
by the Geo. Stevens Co. in 1954 showing how to setup and operate a coil winder,
including the setup and operation instructions for this
same
tensioner.




Here is a closeup of one of the unrestored tensioners. Luckily, all four of them were still
complete and unbroken so restoring them to original was fairly easy. Ugly, huh?

After I restored all four tensioners, I made this bracket to mount a tensioner
in its correct
relative position to
the winder's body. I later found out that they still worked well even loaded
with some 45 gauge wire I had lying around!




Back to the front page