kunz workstation

kunz workstationGuest Blogger: Ray Kunz

My fly tying workstation is not a dedicated area. Our family desk must share multi-tasking with domestic business and my model railroading. Tidiness and portability are paramount. To improve the utility and portability of my workstation over the years my ideal has evolved. I can set up more quickly at home and find it a great aid in transporting to the classes I teach at the local school. I’m not suggesting that these ideas are the best for all folks but just things to consider as options.

1. I replaced the platform part of my metal pedestal base with a 8′ x 11′ piece of 3/4″ plywood that is covered with WHITE MATTE Formica. This greatly improves visibility and poses no problem in stability with rubber buttons on the underside. (The Formica covered wood was a cutout from a kitchen countertop shop.) An outstanding advantage of the Formica, or equivalent material, is that it is immune to lacquer thinner that can be used for cleanup of paint and cement drips etc.
2. Along the back edge I have attached a strip of wood into which I have drilled holes to support the basic tools. At the end of this strip I’ve included two small square “wells” to hold small square bottles of head cement and dry fly silicone. (The square config. allows the bottle caps to be removed with one hand and they can’t be tipped over.) The bottles I use are the small Testor’s paint bottles that allow me to replace them with color paints for poppers or eyes.
3. I cut about one inch off the vise column so I can rest my elbows on the desktop. This relieves muscular tension in back and arms as well as steadying my hands since tying motions are now hand motions and not arm motions.

You will note that the bobbin is a Materelli mini-bobbin. For the sake of compactness and portability to classes I use sewing machine bobbins for thread and floss which allows me to carry 8 thread and 8 floss colors. All material for immediate use, except for hackles, I carry in a small 12 drawer plastic parts box.

The pedestal base you see here was made of aluminum by a class member from one of my fly tying classes who has a shop. My original was a Thompson but he made one like this for each class member.

The nearly invisible item between the scissors and the “electronic clip” hackle pliers is an oversized corsage pin that replaces a bodkin. For beginners I promote triple half-hitches and cement. We use good old Sally Hansen’s slightly diluted to get better penetration.

My teaching motto is, “Keep it simple and cheap but do your homework.”

NOTE from J. Stockard: This piece was previously published at  Fly Anglers Online.

1 Comment

  1. What do you use to thin the Sally Hansen Hard As Nails? Nail polish remover? I like your KISS approach. Adios Philip

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