Tackle Review: The Fly Tidy fly tying station

‘Something new, something different, something really cool. 

fly tidy w:vise & tools

Fly tying stations aren’t new but this one is a modernized, simplified and very practical and functional rework of the basic design.

Fair enough, at first sight it’s a little strange to get all excited about a piece of plastic but here are it’s features with some plus and minus notes along the way.

– Size
45 x  27,5 x 2,5 cm (or 17 3/4 x 10,8 x 1 inches)
The workspace recess, tool and accessory holes are 2 cm deep (0,8 inch)
The easily accessible tools stay where they’re put and materials don’t roll out of the workspace. Whether using the tool holders or workspace, hooks, beads and other materials stay within the tray and standard varnish bottles don’t tip over. Everything’s always at hand right where they should be and this even when placed on the lap or other less than usual and uneven places such as car hoods or trunks: Nice
The base of smaller sized fly clips also fit in the tool holes, giving the tier an easily accessible area to deposit flies to dry after varnishing or to compare them when tying series of the same pattern: Nice
fly tidy tool holes

When assessing a product like this I ask myself things like “would it be better if it was bigger, smaller, etc, etc ?”  and after a month of tying nothing came to mind meaning it’s size is just right, be it on my tying desk or anywhere else around the house or on the road. The compact yet ‘more than enough’ size  makes it very easy to pick it up and go tie a fly or two while doing dumb things like cooking or watching tv or whatever !
As an aside, it easily fits inside my Fishpond tying bag or other similar tying carrying systems making it all the more easier to bring along anywhere, whether on an extended fishing trip or at fly shows: Nice

-Weight
Is estimated at just under a kilo (2,2 pounds)
Not too heavy, not too light:  Just right

-Material
the Fly Tidy is made of a single, food-grade, recyclable, highly resistant plastic: the same stuff used to make professional, industry-grade kitchen cutting boards.
With the exception of the vise screw, it’s hidden support thread  and the four little rubber anti-slip feet, the whole board is machined from one solid piece and as such nothing could ever fall apart or become unglued. It’s not like we usually mistreat these kinds of objects, but I’m quite certain that even repeated hammer blows would hardly leave a dent on it’s surface: Nice
(The truly serious reviewer might resort to using an axe or chainsaw to thoroughly test this tool’s resistance to abuse but I guess I’m not serious enough !)

It’s white and as far as I’m concerned, white is best. It’s colour neutral and eliminates the need for a viewing plate behind the fly. Somewhere between shiny and matt, any object placed on the Tidy shows up right away regardless of the tying area’s light level. Locating and picking up the smallest of materials is simple and quick: Nice
Most of us have a lamp angled from above towards the fly and the white base reflects light back underneath our fly, evening out contrast, reducing eye strain and simply giving a better overall view: Nice
Having been told that it resists to varnishes, glues and UV resins I had a play with all of the above and confirm the claim. Simply let the gunk dry (or cure it with the UV light) and just chip  it away with the thumbnail and the board looks like new, as if nothing had ever adhered to it: Nice

fly tidy

-Vise Clamp
If your vise has a clamp, simply slide the stem in the board’s clamp and tighten the screw.
If you’re using a pedestal throw it away ! Once the vise stem is installed, the very stable contact area of the base makes that I can’t even make the Tidy rock or slide while purposely winding down hard on a big pike hook with 3/0 or GSP thread. Hooks where bent out of shape before anything moved. It’s like the stability of a clamp vise without having to work on the edge of a table, something the big fly tier might really appreciate: Nice

Now so far, there’s been nothing but ‘Nice‘ to sum up the Tidy’s features but as an assessor it’s my job to find what’s less than ideal so here goes:
As much as I like the vise clamp placement and board stability there’s one aspect here that left a minor frown however a quick, simple and cost-free solution took about one minute to fix this and in my opinion, made the vise connection even better.
The clamp hole’s diameter is a wee bit too wide for my Tiemco vise therefore it wobbles a little when tying even when the screw is tightened to the max. This vise is made in Japan and like any japanese product it’s in metric standards whereas almost every other vise on the market is in imperial (inches) making for a very small yet noticeable fitting difference. I don’t have access to a non-metric vise to measure it’s stem diameter but i’m pretty sure it’ll be just a tad wider than the metric. Others who have tried the Fly Tidy haven’t mentioned  this issue so I’m reasonably certain almost any other vise will fit perfectly.
As such, it’s neither a design or production fault but simply a proof that universal fits aren’t usually very universal and I needed to point this out.

So, as a remedy I cut a slim sleeve from a plastic sheet 3cm x 8mm x 1 mm and inserted it into the hole and wedged the vise stem inside. fly tidy vise-clamp space filler (The plastic sleeve was left intact for illustration purposes. My ‘permanent’ version has been trimmed flush at the base of the board. You wouldn’t know it’s there)

This makes for a non-wobly, very solid hold while enabling the rotation of the vise by simply twisting it towards or away from me to make sure dumbbell eyes are on straight or for weaving fly bodies or simply to view or work on a fly at an oblique angle: Perfect !

Conclusions
– The Fly Tidy is a very nice accessory that’s a pleasure to use.
– The term ‘Tidy’ seems to be what sums up this product best as it makes for a more compact, organized and freer working space.
– It’s one of those items you don’t necessarily think of before actually using one but it’s also one of those things you miss when it’s not around.
– It’s not a necessary item but simply makes tying easier and as such I can only wholeheartedly recommend it.

The Fly Tidy’s price is £40 (that’s roughly 47€ or 63 US$) + postage
Postage prices are:
£7.50 to anywhere in UK.
£15.00 to Europe.
£22.50 to worldwide.
Royal mail first class recorded
Payments are made through PayPal.

For more information and ordering send an email to Lee James at leejames133.lj@googlemail.com or leejames133@talktalk.net
Or by phone: +447827961880 (UK)
Website:- www.theflytidy.WordPress.com
Or through Facebook… @ Lee James (the flytidy)

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2013

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