Fly tying can be almost as rewarding as fly fishing. There’s nothing quite like knowing that you made a fly with your own hands – and we all need something to do when the fly fishing season is over! If you’re anything like us, you probably while away hours tying flies. You’ve got the supplies to show for it, too! That’s why a fly tying desk is an essential piece of furniture for all fly tying and fly fishing enthusiasts.
If you’re eager to find your own fly tying bench set up, this guide’s for you. We’ll cover all the information on what makes the perfect fly tying desk. What do you need to look for when shopping around for a fly tying desk? Plus, we’ll share some of our favorite examples of fly tying desks to give you some inspiration for your own!
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What Makes the Perfect Fly Tying Desk?
There are a few specific things that an excellent fly tying desk will offer. Here’s all our information on the most important factors of a fly tying bench.
Generic Desk Vs. Fly Tying Desk
You might be thinking that you could save some money by buying a generic desk or even picking one up secondhand. It’s true that you will save a lot of money if you go down this route. If you want to buy a brand new fly tying desk, you’re looking at prices of up to and beyond $1000.
However, a standard desk doesn’t offer the specific features required of a fly tying desk. If you take your fly tying seriously enough to warrant your very own fly tying station, you may end up frustrated by a regular desk. It won’t offer the specialized features you need for frequent fly tying. For one thing, there’s no suitable storage for all your supplies.
A Large Tying Surface
How good a desk is will depend mainly on the surface available for tying your flies. It’s true that you’ll need a significant amount of space to work on. You might want to mount a vise, and you’ll need to have a lamp handy to shine some extra light up close on whatever you’re working on. Some desks may even open out to make even more space.
Check out our recommendations for the best fly tying kit here.
Lots of Storage
A great fly tying desk will offer ample storage for all your materials. You need somewhere to store all your hooks, hackles, fur, beads, and other items that are essential for your next fly tying session.
Easy Access to Fly Tying Materials
Not only do you need somewhere to store all your materials, but you want them to be in easy reach. Even better if you can quickly see what’s in each drawer! Think carefully about how the drawers or storage compartments will open up, without getting in the way of what you’re working on.
Size of the Desk
Do you have space for a full-sized desk, or do you want something a bit smaller? Think about how much space you have for your new desk before you start shopping!
Fly tying desks can range from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars. The reason fly tying desks cost so much is that most are handmade from solid wood by talented carpenters. It’s a very specialized product that requires hours upon hours of meticulous craftsmanship. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping, too.
If that’s way out of your budget, you could consider DIYing your own fly tying bench or modifying a regular desk, instead.
The best fly tying desks will last for generations. For a desk that is built to last, look for one made from sturdy solid oak, maple, or cherry wood.
6 Examples of the Perfect Fly Tying Desk
We searched the web to find some examples of the perfect fly tying desk. Here are some of the top models that we found for you to see, and a little information on what makes each desk so good! You can get some inspiration as to what sort of bench you want to go for from these beauties.
Orvis Fly Tying Desk
This excellent fly tying desk by Orvis meets all the requirements of a fly tier. You get a large, expandable surface to work on and several small drawers to keep your supplies tidy. It’s constructed from sturdy wood with beautiful finishing touches, including the trout-shaped handles.
It’s compact, so it won’t take up too much space, and you can close it up when you’re done working. The only downside is that the slide-out table doesn’t lock into space, and you can lose small pieces down the gap. Otherwise, it’s an excellent find. 
Montana Wood Catlin Desk
The Catlin Desk by Shinn Custom Woodworks is a gorgeous example of a fly tying table. Bruce Shinn pays careful attention to every detail of his custom-made fly desks, and it shows. This model is made from black walnut and cherry, with an optional hackle box for extra storage. You can even customize the height of the work surface when open. It all folds away neatly when you’re done for the day. Every angler dreams of a fly tying table like this. 
Deluxe Fly Tying Workstation
If you’ve got a lot of space (and a big budget), you could go for a new workstation like this one. There are three drawers to open at desk height and a whole cabinet, which you can open to access even more supplies. So, you’ll never run out of space with this beauty! Hang your tools in front of you for easy access, and set to fly tying. You won’t be able to resist this fly tying workstation. 
Fly Tying Roll Top Desk
The Philadephia is an incredible example of a handmade fly desk. This roll-top design will open up smoothly, displaying four smaller drawers and one large central drawer with internal dividers. The drawers are easy to open, as they are raised above the tying surface. Constructed from high-quality red oak or cherry wood, this desk will last for decades. You even get wonderful extras like a 50-position tool station and an entomology station. A gorgeous find for any serious fly tier. 
Thos Moser Fly Tying Desk
Thos. Moser teamed up with L.L. Bean to create a new, handmade desk, specially designed for fly tiers. This high-end edition won’t be suitable for everyone, but it will give you plenty of inspiration! It has a full cabinet and workspace, with smaller and larger drawers. You’ll find the perfect place to put all your materials in this piece of furniture. It’s built from durable black cherry wood and includes neat details like a custom spool case . 
Simple Fly Tying Table
If you’re hoping to find something more simple, check out this handmade fly tying table. While it offers very little storage, you get a huge space to work on. Choose from one or two drawers, or none at all. You can add an optional rail around the table, which comes in handy to stop your supplies from falling off and getting lost in the carpet. This simple fly tying table would work best alongside a standalone storage unit if you have space (and the budget) for it. 
The Wrap Up
If you devote a lot of time to crafting your own flies, you need a fly tying desk. It’s an essential piece of furniture that will make your fly tying hobby more enjoyable and more practical.
However, it’s not always easy to find the right sort of fly tying bench. Plus, information on this specialized piece of furniture is still pretty scarce. Hopefully, our guide will have provided you with all the information you need to find the right sort of fly tying desk for you!
Drop us a comment to let us know which is your favorite model, or if you find any great desks that we missed! Go ahead and share on Facebook if you found this information useful to you! You’ll find more top articles on all things fishing at Fly Fisher Pro.