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.