If there is one thing that will really slow down
and reduce the quality of your time at the vice,
it is clutter.
The six-part series I did previously titled
Organized" dealt with getting your
materials under control. If you have not done
so, I highly recommend it to your consideration.
Not because it was written by me, but because
it will help you become a better more composed tyer.
As you read this, and future articles, think of
references to "bench clutter" as being any physical
impediment to efficient use of your time at the vice.
Your enjoyment of tying will be greatly enhanced by
the establishment of good habits at the very start.
However, if you are an old hand at tying, and think
you are set in your ways, I ask that you re-examine
your own habits and select the one item that really
annoys you about tying. I know there is at least
one item or more that you are constantly looking for,
or are wasting time getting ready to use. And if you
will think about it you may just eliminate that little
bit of aggravation.
Look at the picture above. Imagine how much time
you could waste wading through that mass of jumbled
up tying tools trying to find the Rotary Hackle Pliers,
it is in there!
Now imagine every time you need one of the tools
from this block of madness, how much time you waste
in the course of your total session. By the way,
Renzitti did a wonderful job in making this tool holder.
I however, am guilty of being an incurable gadget hound.
If one of a tool is good, three or four are better, right?
I have obviously overloaded this block for the purpose
of illustrating a point, haven't I?
Well no, I haven't. I use this nice Renzitti block for
"gross storage" of my tools. I say gross storage because
when I am ready to tie, I pick up my trusty round,
(or square, your choice) piece of styrofoam which
contains the tools I select from gross storage for
this particular tying session.
This will vary from pattern to pattern, fresh to
saltwater, but the idea remains the same.
I have all of the tools I need to perform all
of the operation on the current pattern instantly
I am not sifting through the waste material looking
for my bodkin, because after using it I simply "stick"
it back into my styrofoam block. Scissors likewise,
and hook file, barb pinching pliers, whip finisher,
and any other tools I need now! All of the other neat
little gadgets in the gross storage block are kept
off of the bench and a major source of clutter is
There is one item which I seldom stick into the
styrofoam, my scissors. We use scissors far too
much to be spending any time either picking them
up, or setting them down. And we sure as heck
do not want to sort through a pile of maribou
waste looking for them!
Your scissors with the exception of a very few
exceptions belong in your hand at all times!
If you will put the ring finger of your right
hand through the finger hole of the scissors,
you will always have them at hand. And when you
need to cut a thread or other material you simply
manipulate the opening and closing of them with
your fingers, and continue on to the next operation.
This may feel a bit foreign at first, it did to
me, but if you will make an effort to adjust to
keeping your scissors held in your hand at all
times, you will be rewarded far beyond any other
single thing you can do in eliminating "Bench Clutter"
Good Luck, and keep a clean bench!
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along,
most of this material has been stolen from somebody,
might as well steal your ideas too!
~ George E. Emanuel
(Chat Room Host Muddler)