: fly tying organization
Was trying to organize my fly tying materials this weekend and ended up quitting as I couldn't come up with an easy way to do it.
It is amazing how quickly ones collection grows. I think I could outfit my very own fly shop with all the crap I have.
Anyway just looking for suggestions on taming the madness.
My favorite solution, or should I say my wife's favorite, is a multi-level rolling shelf unit made by Iris USA. It's like legos you can set it up any way you like except the top and bottom (casters). Comes in white or black.
I would rather have a rolltop desk but until the kids are all done with school that won't be happenin' any time soon.
11-19-2001, 04:51 PM
This is a good and, for me at least, a timely question. I'm currently setting up a dedicated tying station and would like to know what others do?
In the past I've used a hodge podge of containers to store the materials. Rubbermaid snap lock boxes work best IMHO. These have been roughly broken down into what type of material is in them, eg hackle or fur. My problem is that things don't make it back into the right box and after a while I have a mixed up mess to sort through.
If you have airtight containment you don't need moth balls (napthalene). I can't stand that smell in my flybox. I will not buy feathers from shops who use it, might not affect the fish but then again it might. I need every edge I can get.
11-19-2001, 10:12 PM
I agree with you Juro on the air tight packages. I've only had a problem with 1 piece of material, but its important to contain the problem if it ocurrs.
For another persons view of how to organize look at this article (http://www.flyanglersonline.com/flytying/organize/part1.html).
11-19-2001, 10:40 PM
I think that I have the same setup or atleast a similar one, as Juro. I bought it at Target for about $15 or so.
I have yet to find a way to keep all materials in the right bags and such. Anyone have any good ideas for keeping all the feathers and everything else in their proper bags and such? I have such a bad habit of tying a bunch of bugs up and then throwing everything into the drawer and after a while I have no idea what I have or where it is at.
Everything stays in their respective labled bags and gets hung on pegboards, just like in the fly shops. This way, everything is within easy viewing i.e. size, colors, type of material, hook types & sizes etc.) Depending upon the amount of room you have, they can be fix-mounted to the walls or, with a little creativity, hinged so that they close into a somewhat compact "display box" type affair similar to those used at trade shows. I'm fortunate to have a dedicated space in a detached "hobby shop" just off the main house; consequently my setup is permanent and surrounds my tying bench placing everything within easy reach and view from a seated position.
The hard part is the discipline required to put materials back into the packaging for re-hanging when finished, but I'm getting better at it. :)
I totally stink at re-packaging, unless I am going on a trip when I need a compact tying set - in which case I seem to fit the entire mess into a small carry-on box! Go figure. Stand back when I open it though - poof!
Here's my logic:
I have three of said Iris rolling drawer units, one for steelhead, stripers, and trout. Within these drawers the big drawers on the bottom contain tupperware and stuff, the smaller ones on top contain dubbing, packaged stuff, etc.
I do not maintain individually separated packages once they're opened. I bundle in themes.
First, the fly type (above). Then the material purpose - so for steelhead hardware, tinsels and flosses, hackles, wings collars and throats, etc. The head cement stays with the tools (bodkins, scissors, vise, etc).
For stripers: hooks, eyes, tools stay together. Hackles stay together. Chenilles and ez-body (stuff that wraps the hook shank) stays together. Then lots of body/wing material make up the striper kit for the most part.
Here's an original trick for keeping synthetics in order: Buy a $3 clear flourescent bulb sheath at Home Depot. Cut it so it's longer than the ultrahair strands. When you're done with the synthetics, group them together by the stapled-end and insert into the tube. You'll need enough to make a snug fit. Now knock the tube on the table or something until the material slides into the tube. Perfectly straight for the next tying session. Works for flashabou, sparkleflash, ultrahair, superhair, angelhair, anyhair that's synthetic.
If you don't take that advice and have krinkled up synthetic hair, just use a hair dryer on warm and brush it to straighten it out. Takes about ten seconds, don't let it get too hot of course. Wasy as pie.
Everyone probably already knows the trick of steaming natural feathers to straighten them out so I won't bother.
For not synthetics I use freezer wt ziplocs and big tupperware tubs to sort out marabou, rabbit strips, hackles, dubbings, wing materials (mallard, turkey, fox, squirrel, swan, pheasant, etc). Within each of these categories everything is fair game, meaning that I will put every conceivable color of marabou into the marabou bag/bin/container, etc.
I do not individually package and mark anything, just not that detailed although I envy those who are.
The other best thing I've done is buy the handy dandy two-shelf hobby box, also from Iris. One might think I have stock in them, hmmmm not a bad idea. It's about the size of a medium large tackle box and has two interlocking shelves with a very accomodating lid system that puts up with all kinds of abusive over packing. They thought enough to leave a gap between the edge of the shelf and one of the ends so that tall epoxy bottles like devcon fit perfectly in the end, even if you keep them in the box the two parts come in. I then cut the clear light sheaths to fit in the bottom under the trays, which hold all the hooks and tools you could dream of - all in one portable kit.
I have three of those to match the three tying themes of steelhead, striper and trout. I never filled the trout box so my wife claimed it as her sewing box, and she won't give it back.
On occasion I will package by pattern - in other words all the stuff I need for sedge muddlers, pupa flies, black bunny rats, etc - in the same ziploc bag just to make it easier to tie on the airplane :D
11-20-2001, 12:42 PM
I discovered a set of storage units at Walmart a while ago. In essence, they're just deep plastic drawers that pull out of a unit, and each unit can be stacked on top of another. Each unit has three drawers, and I stack the units three high. This has provided ample storage space for my materials. My tools stay on my tool caddy, and my threads and other spooled materials stay on my thread caddy.
Of course I'll eventually outgrow this system, especially since my wife is getting into the tying pretty heavily now. At least I can count on her to occasionally replenish material stocks as she uses them. ;)
11-20-2001, 04:27 PM
But already sponged on your idea (must b a great minds sceneerio). I got my early inheritance and received my Dad's old rolltop desk. Ii quikcly converted it into a very smal portion bills/pappers and MOSTLY flytying. Have one pull out drawer for tools, thread, and misc. spools. Oone drawer all my feathers in bags to easily sort throuugh, a drawer wiith tail/wing materialss and hooks. Then a couple drawers misc. stuff. Ii'm still debating on myvise use though. Can't decide on mounting an outward cllamp for my vise or use my travel stand so I don't have vise out iin open when I close the roll top. Decisions decisions.
My wife likes the rolltop idea too - cause she can just shut it to hide the mess when we have guests! :rolleyes:
11-21-2001, 08:24 AM
I have to agree with DocT, Peg Boards are the way to go. I've tried rubbermaid containers and even a fly tying center with drawers but I'm a messy tyer so, as some people have mentioned here, getting the materials back into their assigned location is not that easy. I wind up with drawers mixed with different stuff.
Pegboards are pretty easy to setup and cheap too. Your method probably depends on how organized you are in general.
For me I need the pegs and bags to guide me in my cleanup.
11-21-2001, 09:14 PM
When tying, I never seem to tie just a few flies. Always tie at least a dozen or more. Because I production tie, speed and efficiency are important. For that reason a neat working area is required. Hate to waste time looking, moving, and untying materials. The only materials I have at hand are the specific materials needed for that one pattern and no others.
Most of my materials are stored in shoe box size Rubbermaid containers. All are sealed in individualize plastic zip bags. This double closing technique is very important for organic feathers, necks, peacock swords, etc. Like Juro said, Never use moth balls. Never leave feathers out for any prolong time or else they will get infested with eggs. Lastly to get at my selections of colors for each material, I use one of those large "Z" style paper clips you would use to secure large amounts of paper.
Have many different hides and dyes I use for dubbing material. To remember which is which,( and its hard some time), I use a marker pen on the hide side to label each one. Example: Muskrat, dk brn. You'd be surprise how many times you order dubing, take it out of the package and don't remember what is is?