Preparation for Tying

Once you have organized your tying area, you need to give some thought to laying out your tools and materials ready for tying. All flytyers develop their own way of working, which is usually reflected in the state of their tying benches - ranging from the orderly to the chaotic. The orderly way is much the best.

The position of the vise should be about half-way along the near side of the bench. If you are right-handed, the vise jaws should point right; if you are left-handed, they should point left. Adjust the vise so that the jaws (and thus the hook) are at a comfortable working height.

Lay out the tools, tying thread, hooks, wax, lacquer, and materials you will need on the bench top. How you arrange these items is up to you, but they should be within easy reach and separate from one another. Being right-handed, I usually keep tools and other equipment on the right of the vise, materials on the left. If you can develop the habit of always returning tools and equipment to the same positions after you use them, your flytying becomes much more efficient. With practice, you will then be able to pick up whatever tool you want to use next without having to fumble around or search the bench for it, thus saving valuable time.

When preparing to tie a particular pattern, first take out the materials and any other equipment you will need, then take out the hook and place it in the vise. Never do it the other way round, because a hook in the vise can catch in your clothes as you reach for materials. If the hook is not broken, it will be severely strained and will have to be discarded.

After a tying session, you will probably leave some or all of your equipment out on the bench - but don't leave anything else. Clear up the debris from the session, so that the working surface is clean and ready for the next one. You only need to neglect this for a few sessions and your tying bench will be hidden under heaps of off-cuts, rejected hackles, and other debris.

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