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Fly Tying

Tying Area

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we have a craft cave in our house. Common space in basement. One sector is home office with network printer. another sector is tying area and fishing equipment (poles, tackle, kayak box). another sector is large craft and sewing table, with sewing machines. craft, tying, sewing project supplies are in plastic bins on wheels (from Target).

Tying table is 30x20 in, and very much like yours. Has 3 drawers on the right side and a top drawer. craft cutting blades and holders are in the top drawer, right drawers hold knife sharpener, head cements, vise parts, various hardware misc. I have a large plastic lure box on the table that holds hooks fur and misc for current projects.


I have one small 5 drawer bin, much like yours shown, for tying supplies; I have it crammed with pattern cutouts, foam of all description, fabric glues and paints/markers, chenilles.

I organize other materials in their own plastic boxes about 14x14x3. I like having separate boxes that I can just stack on each other, so I can re-organize when necessary. I tried integrated drawer systems and adding fixed wall shelf space and could never manage that well. My material boxes are organized as: natural fur, bucktails (they get their own box apart from natural furs because of volume), cdc/flank feathers/dry hackle, biots and quills (biots, turkey feathers, pheasant and ostrich, marabou), wet hackle - saddle hackle and capes, and synthetic fur.

I have a carousel I bought that is specifically designed to hold flashabou and crystal flash (same as yours). I like it. Thread is on a holder I bought; it has 3 rows of dowels, and I've vastly exceeded its capacity. This needs attention - I have threads stacked on each other and a bunch of loose spools on top of the bin. I have a tool caddy (another accessory I bought) and I have far exceeded its capacity.

In their own plastic lure boxes (larger than the ones holding materials I described above): hooks/weight (lead eyes, cones, beads), rubber legs/paste on eyes/dubbing, misc holder for extra crystal flash in small tubes not lending to the carousel/swiss straw/spinner bait rubber skirts that are used both for spinner bait skirts and fly rubber legs.

wheels on chair and bins.


Needs I have now: add a caddy (I will make with doweling and drill) to hold all the thread, wire, and ribbing spools; it's getting crazy. Expand the tool caddy, again homemade.


I actually have some principles I follow:

- Emphasize open/common and separate space. Using plastic boxes to throw stuff in works for me. I limit my integrated shelf units to the two I have now. Within boxes I might further separate small items in ziplock bags (ex: I have rabbit strips in a ziplock, goose and turkey biots in a ziplock, marabou in a ziplock - these ziplocks thrown into their appropriate box). The separate is in using plastic boxes. As space needs increase, I can just add a 14x14 box. Shelving/drawer units get me into trouble if my materials expand.

- have a place, though (in light of above), for everything. Limit sprawl to desktop designated for current projects. This is where I fall down; I wait until the sprawl is intolerable before I make more space.

- Use organizers that have use in the home generally, limit the amount of "fly tying specific" accessories. We use Plano lure boxes, for example, for housing sewing accessories and small home hardware items like picture hanging stuff, as well as my tying materials. Target's plastic bins and storage boxes have myriad of applications.

- Don't over organize. Space needs will change in unexpected ways over the years, and mostly for greater space. If I know where something is and can retrieve it quickly, I'm good. Ex: I have hooks on one plano box divided by application (streamer hooks in one place, dries in another, hopper hooks in another, stingers in another, and so on as makes sense to me; Plano's handy dividers make this possible). I don't mind sorting through my wet hackle 14x14 box for a minute to find a good saddle hackle, or the natural fur box to locate my fox squirrel pelt. On the other hand, I like my tools and threads to be visible and neatly organized. Thread is organized roughly by color; but I need to do something about all the spools I have laying around (I like your setup; looks like we all have a common disease - thread spread). When I first started tying, I bought all these tying accessories and far underestimated my space needs. I found ways to organize space so that it expands easily when I need to by not organizing to the exact dimensions of particular items. If I design or build space to accommodate a specific size, like dubbing packets you mentioned, in the long run that usually doesn't serve me well - I quickly run out of space. Open space and categorizing contents in a broader sense works for me.

- Organize space vertically when possible. Ex: thread caddy that I will build shortly will be a wooden tower with maybe 4 or 5 vertical rows and 30-40 horizontal rows, therefore maybe 8-10 in wide but tall. I am thinking also of using a 4x4 post and putting two vertical rows on each side, putting it all on a swiveling plate. My new tool caddy will do the same, a foot or more high and only 6-8 in wide with holes and pockets for all my implements. In a sense I've done this with the material boxes as well in that I can stack them on each other to create one single tower that only takes 14x14 in of floor space.

- Stay mobile and modular. Our basement flooded in Oct. We had to rip up the carpet and a lot of drywall and paneling. The fact that all our sewing/office/tying/craft stuff uses small and light tables, chairs on wheels, only three small multi-drawer plastic bins on wheels, and a number of separate plastic boxes ensured that none of these supplies was damaged, and they were easy to move to allow clean up and recovery, and easy to re-establish once things were dried out.

- Have a picture. Always have an outdoor picture I like over my tying table.


All this because we have a shared craft/tying/utility space in our household, and because there may be one or two moves yet in our future. I need to not design static space, the modularity of what we have now will work wherever we go.


It will never stop. it will grow. it does spawn at night. there is no cure, but it can be managed. Fly tying strikes me as being very similar to diabetes in that regard ...

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Bass? You just going after the little ones? That looks like a Bluegill hook.

lol I was thinking about getting a cork out of a whiskey barrel as a popper head.

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Here's a picture of me harvesting popper heads from a cork tree.

I just cut the desired length, peel the bark and tie up my FLORIDA bass poppers.


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My tying bench is 1920 era roll top desk. All the cubby holes are full of dubbing, marabou, hair patches, and hooks just to start. The drawers have buck tails, foam and various items. I also have a six drawer lingerie chest filled with nothing but feathers and bird pelts. And I'm running out of room.


This is an addiction, when I started tying I said I would need nothing more than a large tackle box and a solid wood TV tray or the kitchen table.

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its a real mess as of late, been real busy. desk is 3' x 7' , the room has spilled into living room and a lot of storage in basement. I have to much stuff but can't help it have to have more !!!











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Finally pulled the plug and the loft upstairs is done with hardwood flooring. Pic 2 is going to be the new fly tying area.



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