I know this sounds like a wierd question but heere we go. I live in a big city so I live in a townhouse condo because houses are ridiculous anyhow. I have no basement or Garage so my vise is attached to the kitchen table( wife hates it) The question is there a better way to keep my materials organized in a little pace other than having a dek just for tying. Right now all materials are kept organized in Lock and Lock containers seperated by type of material. There ha got to be a better way as thi takes up a lot of room. Also sorry if hard to read my S button dont like to work i try to correct it before I post.
An age old question may tyers wrestle with. How to get rid of the pesky wife that is an annoyance when it comes to tying flies!
But seriously One solution might be to store the bulk of your materials in the snap top plastic boxes you mentioned, and to set up a "travel tying kit". There are plenty of bags designed specifically for this purpose, many of them are expensive some are much less expensive (check Cabela's)... and there are secondary options, like using a briefcase and a "worm fisherman's bag".
You can organize materials by type in freezer quality ziploc bags (gallon and quart sizes) and sort them out in a briefcase, and get a couple of plastic tubes for thread, wire and tinsel. A small plastic box should hold most of your tools, and the vise will slip into an outside pocket. The "worm bag" is fitted with numerous zip-top bags that can be used for patches of fur, small bags of beads, ribbing, other materials. I prefer a dubbing cube for most of my dubbing materials. A sectioned hook box will generally fit in here too for size 6-22 hooks. This can be handy for a lot of uses, like if you travel on business or go away for the weekend and want to take tools/materials with you. As you deplete materials, you can refill from your larger "stock boxes".
You might also want to think about a 'tying station" that you can mount a vise in and it has places for most of your regular tools. This can be removed from the table and then simply placed back there when you want to use it.
And speaking about travel tying, one other thing I've done in the past is set up "pattern bags"- a bag with all the components I need for tying a specific pattern in it. Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tail nymphs, Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Sparkle Duns, Kings River Caddis... whatever you regularly tie, all simple enough to set up. Then you can pull out your pattern bag, a box of hooks, your vise and tools and start tying... no need to go through a bunch of other bags/boxes and waste tying time.
I use old whip cream containers or anything that has a lid. I got a very limited space to do my tying, SO i use an old shoe rack made of wood (it now holds all my shot gun shells haha). The container like things do help cause out of sight out of mind and they can be placed almost anyplace with no one really knowing what they are. I have 3 little kids (nephews) that I have to keep my stuffs away from or they prob eat the hooks and the feathers lol, the containers help keep them away since they know NOT to go into that stuff.
Yup, it can be tough--- I don't have dedicated place to tie-- (at least I'm not supposed to). I use a bunch of those rubber maid type containers to store stuff too. As a veteran of many wars and a winner of absolutely zero battles....
To keep an uneasy state of truce I use a portable tying station-- essentially a tray with 3 sides- a raised arm on the left for attaching a clamp on vise, a block of wood along the back with small diameter metal rods that stick up to hold spools of thread and wire, and a raised block of wood along the right hand side with holes drilled in it to hold tools. The working surface is a white composite (melamine) which doesn't react to glues etc and cleans up easily. The working surface has enough room to hold a pedestal vise and a Renzetti tool caddy (handy for tool storage and to prevent spills of head cement.
This makes it real easy to just pick up the portable "bench" with all the tools and vise etc and move it off a desk or table and put out of the way (temporarily), but can easily be put back in place to resume tying when the all clear siren sounds.
-Take one of those thin plastic grocery bags and loop a handle over your vise. You can use this to catch fuzz, trimmings and other waste as you tie. (Cheaper than a Waste-Troll or other gizmos that do the same thing). This helps keep the hair and other stuff under control.
- Use a separate shoebox size plastic container, with other smaller sized containers inside like Altoid tins or 1/2 pint plastic containers from the deli to hold hooks etc and all to your materials for whatever fly pattern you're working on at the moment.
So if for example you're tying a few elk hair caddis, put a dozen hooks, a spool of wire, a bag of dubbing (or dispenser) pluck a few correctly sized feathers, and a patch of elk hair in your plastic "working box". This way, instead of having a dozen capes and saddles and patches of hide and fur from every conceivable animal on the table, you have just what you need to tie whatever you're working on at the moment. And if you get interrupted by a surprise visit/invasion from your mother-in-law you can put everything back in the box and resume tying when the coast is clear.
Very similar-- i bought it at the Somerset NJ fly fishing show several years ago for around 35 bucks-- I looked to see if there was a name on it to see if there was a way to track them down if someone wanted to order one, (there isn't) but as i remember it was a guy that made just a few of them himself.
It looks pretty straightforward in terms of construction, if you have access to some tools (table saw, drill and if you wanted to get fancy and a router to cut mortise and tenons for a wooden frame to surround a nonreactive composite) you could design and make your own. Anyway the dimensions are 15 1/2" deep by 21 1/2" wide. With this as a work surface and another 12" or so of table space on the side for a "working box" of materials used in whatever I'm tying at the moment, it seems to work pretty well and can be taken out and put away pretty easily before dishes start flying.
I tied at the kitchen table for many years and I had cats that loved to get into my materials, so I had to pack everything up and away after each session.
My materials went into clear plastic page protectors. There are lots of different types with different sizes of pockets that work well for materials in original packaging-IE buisness card size fits TMC hook packages exactly. 5X7 photo slots are just right for bags of strung marabou. Whole wings, necks, and skins go in full page protectors
The page protectors go into large 3 ring binders, then on to a shelf. My tools and vice fit into my grandads old wooden single tray tackle box. Two sectioned plastic boxes fit in the bottom and held thread spools and beads.
Of course, the "stuff" has grown (groan?) since I got space for a desk. The page protectors fill two file cabinet drawers and the rest wouldn't fit in the tackle box anymore: too much thread. But I can pack into the old box and take the pages I need if I want to tie when I travel.
I use blocks of stiff packing foam to hold my tools at the table- I don't have to find the right hole to return a tool, just stick it anywhere.
Jojer- the binders is a pretty clever idea. I keep most of my materials in a plastic three drawer unit from target. I use an old plastic container that was meant for hot wheels cars to keep different types of hooks in. My wife and I share I long folding table for "crafts;" her side scrap books, my side fly tying. But lately I have been using a TV tray so I can tie in the living room. Works good when you only have an hour or so to tie or your watching a movie.
I tried tying in front of the TV a few times-both activities suffer.
More often than not these days, I come upstairs to tie when my wife wants to watch another "dead body" show. There's just not a lot I want to watch on (free) TV.