Tuesday 5 November 2013

Making a Large Fly Box - Continued

I started this post back on 4th June 2012 and although I did finish the box, between one thing and another, I never got round to finishing the post. So, over the next week or two I'll be doing this with photo's to let folk see what I thought was a highly successful project turned out. Here is the post as it was before.

Making a Large Fly Box

   I've decided to make a large fly storage box to try and solve the problem of having to get out about six boxes of flies the night before going fishing to make sure I've got everything I need in the " active " box for the day.

I used to carry umpteen boxes, one of which was a large C&F box, plus a small river dries box and an Orvis no rust box of dry flies every time I went fishing but carrying this together with all the other paraphernalia I seem to have collected was getting to be a drag.

The target is to dispense with all the clutter when I go fishing and have just one " active " or day box on my person together with just " one " stock or storage box that I can either keep in the car, boatbag or even leave in the house using it purely to fill the active box as flies are lost or you decide to change what you're carrying for the day.

I don't know if this is going to be practical and the cost of the box to make will be more than that of a shop bought one but as I had some bits and pieces lying around decided to give it a blast anyway because I couldn't get a fly box as large as what I wanted from the shops.

Here goes.

Materials for a 380x300mm mahogany faced, pine edged double leaf wooden fly box

4mm Far Eastern Mahogany Plywood £8.04 ( 8x4 sheet )

10 x 8mm Pine Stripwood for edges£2.48 x 2 x 2400mm ( A smaller box only needs 1 length)

4 sheets Plastazote foam( 300 x 200mm ) £3.50 + postage @ £1.50

Panel Pins 20mm £2.08

PVA Wood Glue £3.40/ltr

Mitre Bond Kit £5

300mm brass flat hinges £2.28

1 pair brass catches £2.50

Stain/Varnish 250ml £3

Here's what I did / have done so far.

1. Cut down a top and a bottom for your fly box from the larger sheet of plywood. I used far eastern mahogany but there are loads of more decorative finishes available such as Californian white pine or American white oak but these can be a fair bit more expensive.

2. You need to cut down the edge strips for the sides of the box but first you have to consider how you're going to jon them at the corners. There are vaious ways to do this but without having dovetail jigs etc., the easiest way is to put a 45 degree mitre on the corners which allows you to put the frames together with mitre bond.

It should be noted that an electric mitre saw is pretty essential for this if you want deadly accuracy but you can use a hand saw and mitre box which will give you a decent result.

The thing about the electric mitre saw is that it allows you to get the edge strips exactly the same size which you need to do to get a decent looking finished article.

You need four tops and bottoms and four long edges. Cut 1 of each and use it to measure and cut the other sections because they need to be the same length.

You should end up with an assortment of materials something like this

To be continued................/

I'm still waiting for the plastazote and catches I've ordered to arrive but here are the next couple of steps I took in making the fly box.

3. O.K., you now have your timber cut more or less to size so what you need to do is assemble the individual components.

For both halves of the box I used 2 different methods of assembly.

1st Method

Stick a long and short section of the sides together at the mitres with mitre bond. Then do the same with the other long and short section apply some PVA where it will bond to the plywood and stick this to the first section with mitre bond before sticking and pinning it in place on the plywood .

This really only works when the mitres are completely true and the plywood is completely square so don't forget to check the diagonals on the plywood before you stick anything together. If the diagonals are not equal, then the plywood will not be square and the fly box won't meet up and close properly.

( The panel pins detract from the finished look of the box which is why I just stuck the second half together as undernoted )

2nd Method

You must put the section completed above on top of the other section of plywood and trim it exactly before assembly or the box will not close properly. Even if your box is off the square slightly, this can correct any mismatching of both halves of the box but the stripwood sides of the first half must be exactly the same size as those of the second half.

( It's a bit difficult to explain this part as it's the technical bit and what makes the fly box work but hopefully the photo's will help )

To assemble this half of the fly box simply sick it all together using mitre bond ( no unsightly panel pins )

It's possible to make two halves of the fly box by joining the two plywood sides to only four pieces of frame timber then cutting the whole thing through the middle of the frame timber giving you two halves exactly the same size. This may not sound like but is quite a tricky operation especially if you want things to look nice and neat.

It is also possible to use different methods of joining your edge pieces of stripwood such as dovetailing, mortising or finger jointing but this is quite a tricky operation on small sections of timber which is why I used mitres which are quick and easy. I may opt for a more decorative and stronger method if I make further fly boxes out of more expensive timbers and veneers such as oak for example but mitres will do for ply and pine at the moment.

You should now have a top and bottom for your fly box and they should look something like this.

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