When it comes to fly tying, I am about as organized as a toddler. In the (not so distant past) I had my vice set on top of a desk, surrounded by stacks of papers (which are unrelated to fly tying), and my tying materials were spread across multiple rooms usually encased in some sort of paper or plastic bags. So as you may have guessed, when I sat down to crank out a dozen flies at night, I wasted a lot of time searching for my materials. Simply put, it was a mess. One night a while ago, while trying to tie some flies for an upcoming weekend trip to fish Slate Run and Little Pine Creek, I decided I was fed up with my lack of organization. I needed change. I was going to make fly tying great again!
In the past I have seen Instagram posts of beautifully crafted table-top fly tying tables. Unfortunately for me, those beautiful pieces also came with a hefty price tag. So I decided I would fashion my own, out of scrap wood laying around the garage. My material list was such:
- One 2×6
- One 2×3
- One 1×4
- One section of a 2×4 that was previously ripped down the middle
- One 12 inch piece of a dowel rod, that happened to be the perfect diameter for my tying spools
- All pieces were secured using a nail gun and 1 ½ inch nails
Once I had a rough idea of the dimensions I wanted (I made it roughly 21 x 24), I constructed the outer frame using the 1×4. I also angled off the front corners of the two sides pieces, simply for aesthetic purposes. Once the outer frame was done, I measured, cut and secured the five storage spaces. Next was the base. For this I used four 2×6 pieces and one 2×3. Once I had the boards arranged to my liking (I put the 2×3 in the middle to keep the piece symmetrical), I nailed them all in place. Afterwards, I secured the ripped 2×4 to the front, to contain the tying area.
Lastly, I cut the dowel rod into eight even pieces and pre-drilled eight evenly spaced holes into the cross piece just below the storage areas (see feature image). I applied some wood glue to the dowel rods and secured them in the pre-drilled holes (for added spool storage, use longer dowel pieces that can accommodate more than one spool of tying thread).
Once the build was done, I gave the whole piece a thorough sanding and vacuuming, then added two coats of oak stain. Now I have a designated tying space with material storage incorporated into the design, and the piece is small enough to take on a weekend fly fishing trip for some stream side tying. I don’t think this piece is going to revolutionize the fly tying furniture industry or sell for hundreds of dollars, but it certainly has helped increase my tying productivity. So when all said and done, it has served its purpose.