Hi folks, I am Michael Hackney - The Eclectic Angler. Although my main interest is reelsmithing and teaching people how to make reels, I also make Walton's Engines and Production Furling Machines. Several of the commercial furled leader makers use my machines. Here are some photos of them:
These have the four hook configuration and here is the explanation!
Furled silk lines were typically 3 strand furls. This provides a tighter furl that is rounder in cross section than a 2 strand furl and results in a line that is less springy and slightly stiffer. On a long line, each strand is laid out individually, put on the machine and furled. This is typically done on a "rope walk" - simply a long area where you can furl the entire length. I make 30' to 90' furled silk lines and use my back yard to lay them out and furl. On lines these long, you do need to power furl - hence the middle hook. It rotates in the opposite direction from the planetary hooks and on my furlers, at 1/3 the speed. This gives the furler a little more control of the furl, but you could simply forego the center hook and use one of the planetary hooks and reverse the motor. At least one of the porduction furled leader makers uses my 4 hook machine to make 4 strand furled leaders. I have a few and they are very nice. They are trickier to lay out than a 2 strand but once you have done it once, it is straight forward.
I have written a tutorial on 3 strand line and leader furling as a PDF file. It is not 100% complete yet but I would be happy to send to anyone that wants a copy and agrees not to post it anywhere or give it to anyone else (just direct people to me and I'll be happy to give them their own copy). You need to have some experience furling to make sense of this tutorial since I have not completed the section on the actual furl and using a spreader. But, I have a design for a 3 strand furling board that can be used to make leaders or long lines, and three recipes for different types of tapers.
I am currently working on a less expensive Delrin gear and aluminum (but with full bearing like my production machines) for personal use. These will be limited to 1000RPM in use. They will be about $100 less than the full production machines.