For most fly tiers, tools and materials are limited to what can be purchased commercially. And with more products than the rest of the fly fishing industry combined, there are a lot of options for tiers. But what if something isn’t just right? You’d need to be able to dye your own bucktails, breed your own chickens, or machine your own scissors.
In Jay Burge’s case, he felt like he needed to craft his own tying bench.
Fly tying benches are the happy medium between having your supplies in a transient bin and designating part of your home as a tying spot. Whether they be 18” laptop sizes or 30”, multi-tiered stations, tying benches help tiers keep tools, materials, and their overall process organized.
After being in the industry for a few years as a guide, Burge began to tie more and more to replenish his fly boxes. Necessity turned to passion, and he found himself immersed in tying flies. However, he was unsatisfied in the commercially available tying benches. Details in size, ergonomics, or aesthetics weren’t to his liking. Also working as an established carpenter, he had the means and ability to solve his own problem.
Within a short period of time working on this “problem solving,” Finest Fly Tying Benches of Colorado was formed.
The core concept of Finest is the idea that each bench should fit the customer. Burge isn’t interested in passing along what he likes, just so that the user struggles with something like ergonomics. Left or right-handed tiers can specify how they want their bench to be set up. A size can be built to fit any workspace and budget. Various accessories, like a rotating dubbing rack or tool swivel plate, can be added on.
The tool swivel plate is a particular component that Burge is proud of. Beveled holes make replacing tools simple. Materials like flashabou or rubber legs can be bundled with a zip tie and dropped into a slot. 13 holes along the perimeter allow the tier to hang completed flies, gauge consistency, and track progress.
Another feature that sets Finest apart is the bead and hook trays that line one or both sides of each bench. These polished and sloped compartments allow for easy removal of a hook or bead with just one finger. Nothing needs to be chased around or trapped in a corner. At the same time, the trays are great at keeping the materials secure. Burge drove from Colorado to Massachusetts for an outdoors expo with beads in his demo benches. When he arrived, nothing had spilled out!
Beyond the functionality, Burge makes benches that are not only meant to work, but to last and be passed down. Even though he didn’t know his grandfather, who happened to be a fly fisherman as well, Burge was given some of his gear. This struck him, as fly fisherman and as a grandson, as meaningful. The hope that his handiwork will become an heirloom for a family of anglers drives him to put care and durability into each bench.
Personal interest and investment is a hallmark of Finest Fly Tying Benches. Burge is open to customers – former, current, or even potential – reaching out to him to figure out what would work best for them. He sees his business as truly about helping people, not just making and selling something.
It is perhaps this component of Jay Burge’s Finest Fly Tying Benches of Colorado that should draw fly tiers in the most. In a day and age when so much is produced with speed and quantity in mind, his benches are hand-built with quality and pride. With the precision and devotion tiers put into each fly, having a firm foundation that is designed around you can improve the experience exponentially; for you, and perhaps generations to come.
To check out or order from Finest Fly Tying Benches of Colorado, head to the website. Have questions about the benches? Reach out to Jay personally at finestflytyingbenches[at]yahoo[dot]com.