Monday, November 23, 2015

BLACKLAND WOODWORKS - Building A Fly Box - Part 2

In Part 1 of Blackland Woodworks Building A Fly Box post, Justin Whisenant did a lot of work to take a piece of rough board and began turning it into something that was beginning to look like something you'd want to put a few dozen favorite flies in.  Justin completes the work in this post today and the end product is beautifully done.

The magnets mortised into both halves serve to keep the fly box securely closed.  They also add no bulk to the front like a latch does, so the box can slip in and out of pockets easily

A couple coats of shellac provide protection for the wood.  While fairly glossy, it also adds some texture that keeps the box from being too slick out on the water.  You don’t want to watch your new fly box float away.  Also, the box pictured here is one I just completed for a client, and it had some sensational grain.  I just had to show it off.

My apprentice cleaning the shop.  He’ll be making fly boxes soon enough.

The finish on the boxes begins with a couple thoroughly polished layers of my special oil mix.

Is that liner felt?  Would you like it to be?  That line never works, but this European felt sure does.  This stuff is 100% wool and extra thick and dense to keep flies well anchored.  I tried these boxes with foam liners, and it just did not have any soul.  Moral of story, when you need some soul, find a sheep.

Brass hinges and screws reunite the separated halves.  What was cleaved asunder has been rejoined into one.

This fly box is now complete and ready to be filled with flies.

Thanks Justin for the step by step build on this excellent fly box.  I have an upcoming fly tutorial by Matt Bennett of Fly Geek and we'll be giving away this fly box filled with a dozen of Matt's favorite flies.

Visit the Blackland Woodworks website for more information.  Follow along on the Facebook page and email Justin at if you have any questions or would like to place an order for your own fly box.

Delta Trout Force - Son Of A F*sh

Here's some fishy fun for your Monday morning from the peeps at Delta Trout Force.

Check out the Delta Trout Force website and Vimeo page for more goodness.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ROD CATALOG - Green Machine, Conquistador & Brown Trout Edition

With so much always going on, it's easy to lose track of what all the small shop rod builders are up to.  I was pleasantly surprised when visiting the Rod Catalog website this morning that Vlad Milenkovic has been busy working on several different fly rod taper series, knocking out customer builds, and spending some time on the water as well.

I am continually impressed with Vlad's work and he's always willing to push the envelope with build aesthetics and the tapers that he designs.




Please visit the Rod Catalog website to see more of Vlad's stellar work. 

Hardy Flyweight - A New Obsession Begins...

A couple weeks ago I was going through a list of Facebook friend requests and moments after clicking "Confirm" on one, I received a message asking if I would be interested in a Hardy fly reel that he was looking to pass along to someone who would really appreciate it.  Was this some sort of new online scam that fly fishermen were being targeted on?

We passed a few messages back and forth and all was figured to be legit.  PayPal funds sent and yesterday a small box arrived this beauty of a English made Hardy Flyweight inside complete with original paperwork and case. 

This Flyweight was made in the early 1970's and is likely a year or two older than I am.  Without a doubt it's better shape and of course, better looking.

It's been quite a while since I've actively searched out vintage anything online.  I went through a several year eBay bender with J.W. Young and Martin fly reels years ago and I would scour the internet almost daily for very good to mint condition fly reels to add to my collection.  

A new obsession with English made Hardy fly reels may have begun yesterday.  It would be really great to collect a Lightweight and Featherweight to complete the set.

P.S...  Thanks Dalton and Chris for making this all happen.  I really do appreciate it.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Frontsidefly Shorty Films Threefer

The boys at Frontsidefly have been stoking the campfire lately with three recent posts and videos on their website which took them fly fishing for pike, a trip to Slovenia, and a junket to New Zealand too. 

Here's three films to enjoy. Click the titles to visit the Frontsidefly website posts on each trip.




Visit the Frontsidefly website for more goodness and jump down a deep rabbit hole on Stefen Agren's Vimeo page.

The WNC Fly Fishing Expo Is Coming...

Can you believe it's that time of year again?  The WNC Fly Fishing Expo sparks off Friday, December 4th and continues all day on December 5th. 

This year's program includes headliners Tom Rosenbauer, George Daniel, Mike Schmidt, Chris Willen, John Miko, and Damon Hearne along with a long list of exhibitors.  It's going to be a great show.

Check the WNC Fly Fishing Expo website for more information and follow along on the Facebook page too.  If you are anywhere near Asheville, this will be a show worth attending.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BLACKLAND WOODWORKS - Building A Fly Box - Part 1

This series of two posts have been sitting in the hopper for a bit and I finally had a chance to put all the images together with the narrative to highlight the work of Justin Whisenant of Blackland Woodworks in the building of a custom wooden fly box.

I always enjoy seeing how things are made and Justin was generous to provide images at each step in the process which begins with this post.  Part 2 will be posted soon and there may be a giveaway of this fly box in the works as well.

The Shop.  This is where the magic happens in my little shop on the prairie.  I’m still building the wall and really some part of the shop is always under construction.  It’s an addiction really.

The shop view.  This is the view looking out from the shop.  Yep, I live next to Mordor.  They’re pretty good neighbors actually; mostly keep to themselves.

We start with a rough board.  The most important part of the whole process of woodworking is picking out good wood for your project.  This board, for instance, was pretty crooked, and was bought at a discount.  More importantly, for small box construction, it was clear of any knots and had nice grain.  Perfect.

The rough board is cut to a manageable length that would yield a small batch of flyboxes.

The rough board is ripped to the correct width.  The board is too wide, so I rip it to a better width for a medium size flybox.  The waste board will be great for the mini boxes and whatever whim strikes me.  I think it is very important to keep some quality scraps around for when the muse strikes. 

The blanks are cut to size and to length.  We have our blanks ready to begin metamorphosing into beautiful butterfly boxes.

The blanks are now ready for rounding.  This step is critical.  The blanks must be planed flat and the corners square, because those faces become references for further steps.

The rounded blanks are beginning to look like fly boxes and need to slip into pockets easily, so rounded corners are a must.  This step makes me feel like a master sculptor.  Yes, I’m easily impressed with myself.

A trip through the bandsaw cuts each blank into halves.  Notice the chipped corners on a couple of them.  This is why I start with oversize stock, so I can plane and sand away any blemishes from the rough stock preparation.

This beast will make quick work of hollowing out the boxes.  It will also destroy all my work up to this point in the blink of an eye.  With great power comes a great many destroyed prototypes.

Routed blanks!  Only a few more steps to go and we will have our boxes ready for action.

That’s all for now.  Next I need to plane and sand the boxes, mount the hinges, install the magnets, apply finish, and install the felt liners.  Look for the follow up post soon.

Visit the Blackland Woodworks website for more information.  Follow along on the Facebook page and email Justin at if you have any questions or would like to place an order for your own fly box.