April 8th, 2002

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

The Quest For the Perfect Tying Bench
By Ron Eagle Elk

I don't know about the rest of you but, I'm a messy fly tier. There I said it. My bench is a cluttered jumble of tools hidden under dry fly capes; packages of hooks are stashed among the little baggies of dubbing; loose spools of thread, tinsels and wire are everywhere. Combine this with the fact that I like to be close to the kitchen with the refrigerator and coffee pot, and have the TV on so I can catch a few of my favorite programs while I tie makes for a very messy living room. My wife, Vickie, doesn't let this bother her (she also ties, but is much neater than I) unless we plan on having guests over. Then there is a scramble to vacuum up all the clippings that have fallen to the floor and get the stuff out of sight.

I really have tried to organize things. I've gone with the plastic shoe boxes to hold materials, but they aren't all that attractive stacked up around my bench. I've had the portable benches like those marketed by several companies. I even designed and built a fly tying armoire with lots of cedar drawers to hold my treasures, a couple of carousels to hold long stranded materials, ample storage for my collection of fly tying books and everything was hidden from view when the doors were closed.

The portables didn't solve the material storage problem. They only have a few places to store spools of thread and tinsels, and the holes provided for tool storage were in all the wrong places for me. The armoire came pretty close, but a guy from the local fly shop came by to see it, liked it, and offered me way to much money for me to refuse. I never got to tie a single fly on it before it went out the door. As soon as I was through building it though, I saw ways to improve it. Now I'm back to square one. My little makeshift bench is a chaotic mess again.

As I was making my usual stop at FAOL, a recent thread on the tying board piqued my interest in designing and building a new bench . . .There were other tiers out there searching for a bench that was perfect. A bench with everything a tier could want in material and tool storage. A bench that had everything located in just the right place. A bench that would allow the unsightly disorder of a tying session to be hidden with some ease.

I know we are all different. Some of us prefer a portable bench, some prefer something a little more substantial, built like a piece of furniture. I figured with all of the tying experience out there in our cyber community of fly fishers WE (we, is the operative word here) could all make suggestions to produce the perfect FAOL tying benches. Yup, benches. One portable and one built like a piece of furniture. A couple of spaces on the tying board so we could offer up our ideas on each style of bench would give us a place to gather this information for the wood butchers among us (Jim Hatch, I'm talking to you) who could build one of each type. Then we could produce some drawings or plans that would be offered to our friends here on FAOL free of charge, of course.

As we make our suggestions, we should keep a couple of things in mind. Not everyone has a cabinet shop like I have. Let's assume that the entire project should be able to be constructed with tools that are common to most households, or at least available for a reasonable rate from a rental center. We should also assume that not everyone has a large bankroll burning a hole in their pocket to purchase a perfect bench. Let's plan on using materials that can be purchased for a reasonable amount of money. To be honest, that's why I build most of my stuff. I can't see paying $100 to $300 for a portable bench when I can make one for about $50.

Think about it boys and girls. With a little thought and community contribution we might soon be the producers and possibly owners of an original FAOL tying bench. ~ REE

Editors note: There is a 'section' on the Fly Tying part of the Bulletin Board for your suggestions and ideas. Look for Perfect Tying Bench!

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