L.L. Bean and Thos. Moser Heirloom Fly-Tying Desk
Photo: L.L. Bean

I tie flies at my dining room table. Or with my vise precariously balanced on the plastic storage shelves in my basement, a section of which houses the bulky cardboard box where my vise—and a respectable smattering of tying supplies—lives for around 363 days of each year. Among my many shameful inadequacies as an angler, predominant above all is my lack of dedication to tying. Tying not only creates a more intimate connection to the nuances of our sport, it expands our opportunity to find joy in the labor of it—a phenomenon that, whether we are aware of it or not, drives so many of our infatuations with fly fishing.

Sadly, my excuses abound: I don't have enough time, it won't save me enough money, I'm not good enough, I lack the workspace and so on. In truth, I lack the proper motivation, although perhaps that motivation could come in the form of a commitment; a lofty purchase that would compel me—even oblige me—to sit down at the vise.

Enter L.L. Bean. Recently, Bean quietly introduced its new Heirloom Fly-Tying Desk, a collaborative effort between the Maine company and heralded furniture maker (and fellow Downeaster) Thos. Moser.

Moser is one of the country's finest furniture makers, and while their showrooms dot cities across the country like Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C., all of Moser's furniture is still handcrafted—now by a team of over 70 skilled furniture makers—in Auburn, Maine. Moser's workshop turns out, among other things, envy-producing sofas and lounge chairs, built of finely worked hardwoods and full-grain leathers—the sort of pieces that you'd adorn your study with if you were the sort of person that had either the reason, inclination or resources to have actually have a study.

L.L. Bean and Thos. Moser Heirloom Fly-Tying Desk
Photo: L.L. Bean

At $12,500, Bean and Moser's new Heirloom Fly-Tying Desk might just be the prod I need to get me off the couch or home from the bar for a sit-down at the tying desk. That kind of serious coin obliges a man to see his investment through. Now, whether the bank will accept monthly deliveries of expertly tied Parachute Adams—in lieu of my mortgage payments—remains to be seen.

L.L. Bean and Thos. Moser Heirloom Fly-Tying Desk
Photo: L.L. Bean

In truth, while Bean and Moser's covet-worthy new tying desk doesn't fit into my personal budget, there are certainly those out there who do have the pocketbooks for such an indulgence. And it's a rare indulgence at that. The collaborative effort between the two Maine companies will yield only five tying desks. Once those five are sold, that's it. In a world filled with disposable Ikea furniture that inspires neither confidence nor awe, all of Moser's pieces are standouts—true heirlooms intended to last a lifetime and be handed down for generations. Anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and artistry should savor the attention to detail, the exquisite materials, and the masterful construction that goes into each of Moser's creations.

L.L. Bean and Thos. Moser Heirloom Fly-Tying Desk
Photo: L.L. Bean

And if you're the sort of angler with the financial freedom to spend $12,500 on a desk dedicated to tying flies, then chances are you've also got the financial freedom to do it twice. Once you're done writing your check to L.L. Bean, write another to one of the many great conservation organizations fighting for clean air and water, healthy landscapes and a livable climate. After all, your heirs deserve to have somewhere to fish their expertly-tied Parachute Adams.


Shoot, looks like a 200 dollar desk

Although is could be considered a vice, it is actually a vise.

Well said. It's beautiful, and American...but so are our rivers. I have an old desk with shelving stacked with plastic shoe bins, small parts cabinets, and larger containers always set up in my bedroom. It may have cost a little in girlfriend resentment...but I crank a lot of flies out of there. Spend fifty or a few hundred dollars for used furniture and plastic (moth-proof) bins, and give whatever is left over to fisheries and habitat conservation. You will have way more storage for your materials and karma.

As a wood worker and a fly fisherman, I see no logical reason why this desk woild cost so much!! No way!! I'll keep using my roll top desk! BTW.....its a fly tying VISE........not vice......a vice is drinking, gambling, smoking.........

Way over priced.

Fly fishing is a sport of beauty and indugence. A beautiful peice of furniture to support an artistic activity - I like it. But like you paying bills has a higher priority for me. Only 5 built? I bet half were solid before they were finished.
Great article!

My wife bought me a desk similar to this but without all the drawers and top section. Built by a local craftsman who has since passed. Paid $150 for it.
I have commented several times that many of you writers and the name brand companies are promoting flyfishing as a rich whitemans sport. Examples - $3000 and up bamboo rods, $900 hand painted and internally etched reels, $600 waders, $500 wading boots, $ 350-450 tying visas, $ 100 nippers, and more. Now a must have $12500 tying bench.
The clear majority of flyfishers I know and see are simple low and middle class folks who enjoy a day on the water. Being able to afford a $800-1000 rod means saving, or going into debt. I see more and more Echo and TFO equipment every time I am on the water. I have built all of my own rods except for my 3wt glass. I have rebuilt 2 bamboo rods. 1 was my dad's and is over 80 years old which I still use.
You all have recognized the pricetag on this bench is absurd. Some of you have seen pictures of George Harvey's tying room and desk. Certainly pretty basic but fully stocked.
So I guess the moral to my rambling is even if I had the money, I wouldn't buy that desk. I am and will always be a simple flyfisherman.

It's a beautiful piece, but I'd need more drawer space for my materials.

They would probably charge another $1000 for more drawers.

Hey Glen, I guess I was commenting from the perspective of an amateur wood worker who has studied Thomas Moser's Shaker inspired designs, and thinking about how I might build one myself. I have some amazing sycamore boards in my shop just waiting for the right project. Drawers are hard, so it might cost even more than $1000 for Moser to add them. I currently use my wife's grandfathers desk for tying. Lest you think this is somehow nostalgic, her grandfather was a mean old bastard who never liked either of us ... but his desk
has lots of drawer space!

I wasn't trashing your comment, I was just saying Moser would charge an exorbitant amount to add drawers. My desk as I wrote was built by a local woodworker who has since passed. I knew him for years and like y ou u he just loved working with wood. When I sit there to tie, I always take a minute and remember him. That is the value. It is more of an heirloom than that $12,500 desk would ever be.