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.
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.
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.
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.