Reel Cases - James Acord's Leather

All reel cases, as all of my works, will be made as custom orders only. There is nothing ready-made to purchase.

I make custom reel cases for whatever type and size reel you have. They're all hand sewn leather with shearling linings. Or smooth top grain leather can be used for the lining. Findings are solid brass. Anything you want can be hand tooled and painted on the case. (I don't use stamps for any of my work. It's all hand done.) As with all of my work, these cases are numbered, dated, and signed.

The Portrait Reel Case

Bogdon reelcase. ©James Acord 2012

Stan Bogdan was famous for making reels. Jim Brandt, of Vancouver, WA, who owns some of his reels, had me make him this case for one of his favorite Bogdan salmon reels. Bogdan died early in 2012.

As with all my cases, this one is all custom made from scratch, starting with the leather hide. I do all hand stitching, all hand carving, including the initials that I put on most pieces.

Bogdon reelcase with photo. ©James Acord 2012.

Jim sent me this image of Stan to carve into the top of the case I'd be making. I really enjoyed working with describing the wisdom in his face and the character in his hands, and of course, the reel itself.


Here's a closeup of the carving I did on the top of the reelcase. I can work with your fly fishing photo and make the image you want on your reelcase. This case is 5"h x 5"w x 5"h, and one similar to it will cost $800. My very simplest reelcase orders start at $350.

Bogdon reelcase inside. ©James Acord 2012

This is the inside of the Bogdan reelcase, with my usual: sheep shearling lining, that I custom size to perfectly fit the reel it's made for.


Hamza_trunk_and_reels.  ©James Acord 2017.

Cases for a classic antique collection of Fin-Nor reels, owned by Jerry Hamza.  They are reel cases for trout, salmon, and salt water reels.  I made these all in 2016 and 2017.  They all go into the leather trunk that I also custom made for the collection.  One of the reels belonged to Bing Crosby, a devout salmon fisherman, with his signature engraved on the reel. The case I made for Crosby's reel has his portrait and a salmon both hand carved and painted on it, and is one of my long, Gunderson-style cases in the middle of this photo.  Each of these long cases has a space for an extra spool.

Medved double reel case full. ©James Acord 2009

A variation on the Gunderson Double Reel Case. A new variation on my newest design is this double reel case, created for Al Medved of Herminie, PA. With one large image on the front, hand-tooled borders of leaves on both sides of the top, and three initials on the back, I added a small oak leaf on each end piece of the top. A case ordered with this amount of tooling will cost $650. plus shipping. This style will start at $450 (see case below this one, to view another variation.) Prices go up, according to the amount of carving. I'll make a case like this to fit any size reel you have. This is true of all my reelcase designs.

Double reel case inside ©James Acord 2009

This is the inside of the case above. It's fully lined with real shearling. I make the case's size according to the reels you're going to carry.

Double reel case initials ©James Acord 2009

Here you can see the custom-designed and hand-tooled set of initials and the leaf on the endpiece.

Double reel case fish detail ©James Acord 2009

Here's a close-up of the brown trout hand tooled and hand painted on the above reel case.


Gunderson double reel case. ©James Acord 2009.

The Gunderson Double Reel Case. This design is one I first created for Dave Gunderson of Spokane, WA, for his idea of carrying two reels together. With one large image on the front and three initials on the back, a case ordered like this one will cost $450 plus shipping. This style will start at $450 and prices go up, according to the amount of carving you want. I can make this case, and all my reelcase styles, for any sizes of reels you have.


Larsen reel case with book. ©James Acord 2009.

Scenic Clamshell Spey Reel Case. This very large case was made for Lani Waller, ordered by his friend Richard Larsen of Alexandria, VA. The illustration on the top of the case is taken, with permission from the artist, from the cover photo on Waller's book "River of Dreams." As with all of my cases' illustration, I first hand-carved the whole design into the leather, before I painted it. This was a major project for me.


Larsen scenic reel case in hands. ©James Acord 2009.

Waller's reel case is fully lined with shearling, and is sized extra large for a specific reel. To order a large custom case like this, with an elaborate scene such as this, would cost $800. Prices will be more or less for an order of a scenic reel case, based on size and complexity of artwork.


Foldover Reelcase. ©James Acord 2013

This Fold Over Reelcase is heavily carved on all the surfaces. The customer loves the Fall fishing season and chose autumn maple leaves to be all around the flies. Also this case is designed differently, having a different loop, gusset, and closure. One like this costs $600 plus shipping. Simple reel case prices begin at $350, plus shipping. I consider a "simple" reelcase to be one that has one simple image carved on it, as in a trout or simple dry fly, and the customer's initials on the opposite side.

Foldover Reelcase. ©James Acord 2013

I put the initials on the backside of the gusset for this case, because it was the only place left uncarved. As always, my intials are hand designed and hand carved for each customer's individual set of letters. I don't use stamps, ever.

Foldover Reelcase. ©James Acord 2013

This is a different case, made for the same customer, but it shows the same way I make all my reelcase linings of shearling.



Coffee Can Style Reel Case

This first reel case in Jimmy's coffee can design. It's styled after an antique reel case Jimmy saw, made in the 1920s. This case measures 3"h x 5 1/4"w, with an inside size of 2 3/8"h x 4 3/8"w and lush shearling padding. The case has a Sam Brown closure and a wide leather hinge in back.

This piece is sold, but one like it will cost $350. plus shipping. You can choose any fly or other image, or have more images tooled on, as well, including your initials on the top or bottom. Price will go up as you add on more time consuming work, but this style of case has lots of nice, flat surface for showing off Jimmy's elegant tooled and painted leather hand work.


This is the streamer fly on the lid of the case shown above. It's a Badger Frey streamer, designed by Carrie Stevens, who was a famous fly tyer from Maine.

Like all the artwork on Jimmy's leather, he made this fly entirely with slow hand carving, tooling, and painting. Its surface is dimensional, because some of his hand tools lift the surface up, while others flatten it. Without painting, all the detail of the fly would still be present.

You can have Jimmy create any Salmon Fly or other fly, as well as any visual image on the piece you order. He has a vast reference library of flies and fish, but you can even supply him with something you've designed yourself, or your company logo, a landscape photo of a special place, or your pet's image. Because the work is all custom ordered (except for a few pieces he makes up ahead, like this one), you can get exactly what you want in your custom order.

If you want this piece like this, it's $350. plus shipping.

Closed reel case.©James Acord 2000.Opened reel case.©James Acord 2000.Here is a reel case Jimmy custom made for a rodbuilder in Austria, in honor of his graduation from medical school. This design features a very simple and elegant closure and lid. Order price starts at $350 for a simple clamshell style case.







Reel case ©James Acord 1998. Reel case ©James Acord 1998.

Above: New reel case design with hand carved dry fly and oak leaves. Hand sewn and hand tooled, with sheep shearling lining. $600, plus shipping. The case shown is sold, but you can order one similar to it. Simple reel cases start at $350.


Jacob in his hat. ©James Acord 1997.

Check out the hat. Susi and Jimmy had a bet over whether our nephew Jake would like one of these. Jimmy lost the bet. This was when Jimmy guided Jake through making his own leather belt, his first leather lesson. And now, Jake's taller than Jimmy! Time flies!

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    This page last updated September 6, 2021.