Fly Tying Time (Unfinished Business)

I was cleaning up the fly tying studio today and I came across something that made me smile, I found an unfinished clock. This clock has been kicking around quite a lot of apartments over the past 20 years.

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I remember still being in High School and going over to Dave Dukes Woodworking shop in Carbonear. Of course I never had much money back then, I was working at Dominion Grocery Store for about 6-8 hours a week and almost every penny was spent at Wescal Sports in the mall buying hooks and fly tying supplies (I remember seeing all of the Lee Wulff books there, but couldn’t afford them, Years later after a long internet/library/bookstore search I was finally able to purchase Bush Pilot Angler, an awesome book). I saw a fly-clock in the background of a picture of fly-tyer magazine and I wanted to make one with my own flies, so when I saw a clock-mechanism insert at Dave Dukes store, I had to get it. It was probably only 20 bucks, but when you only made $30-$50 in the past week, it seems like a lot.

So I took my newly purchased clock insert and my “vision” and went down in the basement to build the first project on my own. I mean, I grew up helping dad build stuff, by the time I was 18 I probably helped build enough cabinets to have my apprenticeship carpenter’s time. But this was the first project that I was going to design/build/finish myself. I sifted through the scrap pine that was always kicking around the basement and picked out enough scrap wood without too many nicks and bangs, and as soon as I turned on the table saw, Dad walks in. Now thinking back on it I’m sure as soon as he heard the table saw start he jumped up and ran downstairs, not that he didn’t trust me to use the table saw, but I think this was around the time Dad cut his hand on a table saw when a knot caused it to kick back (I remember his biggest worry is that it was his fly-fishing hand, he had to learn to cast again, and would routinely complain after a day of fishing that a piece of wire was poking out through his skin).

I don’t remember the exact details of building the clock, but what I do remember is that Dad could tell I wanted to build this myself. He stood back when I made my cuts, drilled my holes and sanded it down. He helped my measure my angles for the trim, and set up the cut-off saw, he gave me tips on what to do, but only after I asked. Of course he couldn’t understand why I wanted to use stain because everything he built was always bare varnished pine, but he never said anything, just gave me tips on how to get an even stain and varnish. I guess the biggest thing I remember about building this clock is that it was probably the first time Dad would ask me how I wanted to build something and assist me, instead of the other way around. This is far from a coming of age story but for me its one of the times when a parent treats their child as a equal and not a kid. I know thats a long way away for the girlies but like they say, “they grow up so fast”. I never really appreciated these words till I had kids of my own, now every time I head off to sea and come home I am amazed that “they grow up so fast”.

So this morning ashley helped me finish up the clock. Ever since it was built I never did ever put any flies on it, probably because I never ever had a place to hang it, or probably because I could never part with 12 flies, First she took the clock and cleaned up the years of dust, she was determined to get every spec of dirt off it. She then told me it wasn’t sparkly enough (needed to shine like her new lego table), so I shined it up with some woodworking oil. I asked her to go through Dad’s fly boxes and pick out 12 of her favourite fly’s and give them to me in the order she wanted me to put them on the clock, a job she took very serious, then she helped me install the fishing rod clock hands I picked up at Lee Valley a few years ago and then nail a hook on the back to hang it on the wall.

When I told Ashley that her and Poppy Forward both build this clock it made her smile, but she has no idea how happy it made me to have one of my girlies build a project with Poppy Forward. Pretty simple clock, but it is definitely one of the prized possessions in my fly studio.


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This entry was posted in Fatherhood, Fly Tying, Woodworking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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