Tying Bench

Your tying bench need not actually be a bench. A table or an old office desk will do just as well, as long as the top is at a comfortable working height. The surface should be big enough to lay out all the tools and materials you need, but not so big that items on the bench are outside comfortable reach. My own bench has a working surface 60 in. x 30 in. (1.5 m x 0.75 m); the top is 30 in. (762 mm) from the floor. It is rather small, but so is my workshop.

Be sure that the bench does not wobble, as this may cause small bottles of lacquer to spill and may hamper tying. Remember, too, that the better the surface of the bench (this particularly applies if you commandeer the dining table) the more likely you will spill lacquer all over it! If the surface needs protecting, cover it with plasticized cloth, or something similar. Note, however, that lacquer thinners will dissolve some types of plastic. The top of my bench is not worth elaborate protection, so I simply tape a medium-sized sheet of white blotting paper to it, a practice that I recommend. The blotting paper acts as a background against which I can see the outline of the fly in every detail as it is being tied. The paper's absorbing power is handy for soaking up spills, and for wiping surplus lacquer and glue off my dubbing needle. Blotting paper is also cheap and renewable. If you protect a valued table with plastic cloth, I would still recommend laying a sheet of blotting-paper on top.

One last point about choosing a tying bench: be sure that the vise clamp will fit over the thickness of the bench top; some clamps are particularly narrow.

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