Part Six

Bench Clutter
By George E. Emanuel

If there is one thing that will really slow down and reduce the quality of your time at the vice, it is clutter.

The six-part series I did previously titled Getting Organized" dealt with getting your materials under control. If you have not done so, I highly recommend it to your consideration. Not because it was written by me, but because it will help you become a better more composed tyer.

As you read this, and future articles, think of references to "bench clutter" as being any physical impediment to efficient use of your time at the vice. Your enjoyment of tying will be greatly enhanced by the establishment of good habits at the very start.

However, if you are an old hand at tying, and think you are set in your ways, I ask that you re-examine your own habits and select the one item that really annoys you about tying. I know there is at least one item or more that you are constantly looking for, or are wasting time getting ready to use. And if you will think about it you may just eliminate that little bit of aggravation.

Look at the picture above. Imagine how much time you could waste wading through that mass of jumbled up tying tools trying to find the Rotary Hackle Pliers, it is in there!

Now imagine every time you need one of the tools from this block of madness, how much time you waste in the course of your total session. By the way, Renzitti did a wonderful job in making this tool holder. I however, am guilty of being an incurable gadget hound. If one of a tool is good, three or four are better, right? I have obviously overloaded this block for the purpose of illustrating a point, haven't I?

Well no, I haven't. I use this nice Renzitti block for "gross storage" of my tools. I say gross storage because when I am ready to tie, I pick up my trusty round, (or square, your choice) piece of styrofoam which contains the tools I select from gross storage for this particular tying session.

This will vary from pattern to pattern, fresh to saltwater, but the idea remains the same. I have all of the tools I need to perform all of the operation on the current pattern instantly at hand.

I am not sifting through the waste material looking for my bodkin, because after using it I simply "stick" it back into my styrofoam block. Scissors likewise, and hook file, barb pinching pliers, whip finisher, and any other tools I need now! All of the other neat little gadgets in the gross storage block are kept off of the bench and a major source of clutter is thus eliminated.

There is one item which I seldom stick into the styrofoam, my scissors. We use scissors far too much to be spending any time either picking them up, or setting them down. And we sure as heck do not want to sort through a pile of maribou waste looking for them!

Your scissors with the exception of a very few exceptions belong in your hand at all times!

If you will put the ring finger of your right hand through the finger hole of the scissors, you will always have them at hand. And when you need to cut a thread or other material you simply manipulate the opening and closing of them with your fingers, and continue on to the next operation.

This may feel a bit foreign at first, it did to me, but if you will make an effort to adjust to keeping your scissors held in your hand at all times, you will be rewarded far beyond any other single thing you can do in eliminating "Bench Clutter" Good Luck, and keep a clean bench!

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas too! ~ George E. Emanuel (Chat Room Host Muddler)

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