The market is littered today with fly tying stations ranging from just under $100, barely enough to balance a spool of thread, to those costing in the upwards of several hundred dollars. Oh yes, they are quite catchy to the eye, but are they really worth the money? No, I don’t think so. Do you even need a fly tying station? No, probably not. But if you are like me and need to add that extra zing to your fly tying man cave, then look no further! I will show you how to build a cheap yet functional tying station for just under $30. Hey, maybe it’s not what an A.K. Best would use, nor a Hawgdaddy, but it’s well worth the money in my opinion. Just tell people that Insane uses one, so it must be cool.
Ok, here is the quick and dirty version.
Materials and Tools needed:
some sort of drill
tape measure (you don’t really need it…)
3/8″ drill bit
1/8″ drill bit
hole cutting bit
3/8″ wooden dowels
1/8″ wooden dowels
3 wooden cutting boards of different sizes
The power tools should be easy to come by. If you don’t have them, don’t go out and buy one for this project. The thrifty man borrows stuff! You can find the wooden dowels, magnetic tape, wood glue, and cutting boards at Wal-Mart. When I built mine, I had found a 3 pack of wooden cutting boards for about $10. I haven’t looked since to see if they still have them, but don’t get anything fancy. As an alternative you could just cut some scrap boards to make your surfaces. Now, let’s get started….
I was too cheap to go out and recreate the bench from scratch, so I took mine apart. Overlook the holes that are already there until I get to that point. These are the three cutting boards I got from Wally World before I cut them.
Step1: Take the largest board and use for the base. Using the 3/8″ drill bit, bore the six holes as shown in the image. I put a magnetic strip of tape on the side of the base that will be facing me. Use more or less according to your own needs. This is an attempt to keep hooks from getting knocked off in the floor. The grooves around the cutting board also help. Mine already came with the grooves, but I supposed if you are an extremely capable router guy, then you could cut your own if your cutting board doesn’t come with them.
Step 2: Take the next smallest board and cut it in half longway. Notice I am not using dimensions. Keep in mind this is a general plan, and you can modify it however you please. Using the 3/8″ drill bit, bore the four corner holes as shown in the picture. Make sure the distance between the two holes, on a single side, match up to the holes already drilled in the base of the station. The other holes of varying sizes that you see are used to hold your tying tools such as scissors, bobbins, and etc. Figure out what tying tools you want to organize and drill the holes accordingly. The height of the dowels will depend on how high you want these shelves. I used glue on mine because the boards kept sliding down the dowel once I pieced this whole thing together.
I also put a strip of magnetic tape on both shelves which I use to hold flies while they are drying and such.
Step 3: Now take the smallest board and cut it in half, longway of course. Both of these pieces are the same length. The perspective is a little off on this image, you will see why in a few minutes. Using the 3/8″ drill bit, bore the four holes as pointed out in the figure below. As before, make sure the distance between the holes, on a single side, match up with the two holes already drilled in the middle part of the base section.
Next, you will use the hole cutting drill bit (my own slang for this specific drill bit), and bore the larger holes in the base of this section. These holes are strictly for organizational purposes and can be modified to meet your specific needs. Next you will use the 1/8″ drill bit to bore all the holes in the top portion. The 1/8″ dowels sections will be used to store your thread spools. Cut the 1/8″ dowels to whatever link you want and glue them in the holes you just drilled. I’m not sure if I mentioned, but you also need to glue the 3/8″ dowels in the appropriate holes shown in figure. Again, the height will be according to what you are comfortable with.
Step 4: We will now begin to piece this thing together. I don’t glue the dowels on the bottom side so I can disassemble the tying station if I need to. Put the two pieces together as shown in the figure below.
Step 5: Take the section you just pieced together and fit it into the main base of the tying station. Look at the figure below if you get confused.
Step 6: Don’t quit on me now…you are almost done! Fit the final two sections into the main base section as shown in the below figure.
Now, all the money you saved on the tying station can be used to purchase the tying materials. Believe it or not, there are ways to save money on materials as well. That could be a future Insane Tactic. Let me know how this project works out for you. Best of Luck!