Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bandsaw Box for Storing Flies

I love fly fishing.  I enjoy standing in the stream and feeling nature surround me.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a perfect cast where the fly line just rolls out to exactly where you want the fly to land.  I enjoy watching the pattern of the water flowing over the rocks.  Someone once told me that, at times, a trout will actually get snagged on the sharp little hook attached to the fly at the end of your line.  I think he was making it up.  I never catch any fish.  But I do enjoy the experience. 

I got an idea to make a fly storage box using band saw box techniques.  I could use magnets for closure, but what could I use for a hinge?  All of the hand-made wooden fly boxes I found on the internet used brass hinges.  They required extra thickness of the wood and, from my experience, were difficult to set perfectly on small boxes.  I got the idea of using a thin leather strip as the hinge.  It was all trial and error from that point, so I made a prototype out of 2x6 pine.  I know nothing about leather, so I made a trip to my local Tandy Leather store, which proved to be very helpful.  I picked out about $2 worth of leather from the scrap bin, which will probably be enough for my next 20 projects ;-).  The clerk/leather expert also recommended a small bottle of neatsfoot oil, which is used to make leather very soft and flexible.  I was not aware of this magic oil, but apparently any serious baseball player with a mitt is very familiar with it.  I used epoxy to adhere the leather hinge strip to the wood.  After a few adjustments, I got the hinge to work just fine.  Here are some photos showing steps in the process.  If anyone else out there has had any experiences with leather box hinges, I would love to hear about them.

A router was used to cut out the groove for the leather
hinge strip, before the box was sawn into two halves.
The leather was 0.07 " thick.
The leather hinge strips were glued on using a strong epoxy. 
The photo shows the leather strip being clamped during glueing.
A scrap of wood was used to provide even pressure.

A prototype was made out of a common 2x6 to test glueing
method and clearances.  I found that a thin strip of masking
tape down the middle of the hinge kept it free from epoxy
so it remained more flexible..

Neatsfoot oil was liberally placed on the leather hinge strip
using a cotton swab.  This provided even more flexibility.

This photo shows the leather hinge flexing

The finished products.  I made one from walnut
and the other from spalted silver maple. 


Anonymous said...

Dad - nice work. I really like these. Maybe I should take up fly fishing so I could get one. Seriously these would probably sell fast if you wer ever to make more than one or two of them. You should post a few over on your ETSY page anyway... see if anything bites

-Love Dave

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha, Dave...

Dad, love the "step by step" photos and instructions. The boxes are beautiful & now I'm thinking they might work well as earring holder travel cases too...(or is it just that I'm looking for an excuse to ask for one too...?).