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.

No comments: