January 11th, 1999
"Getting Organized, Part 4"
"Furs from Elk, Possum and Buck Feathers from Partridge, Grouse and Duck,"

by George Emanuel (aka Muddler)

Photos by the author

Does your bench STILL look like this?

Ok we have a great start on getting organized, but still have a ways to go before we are finished. This section will go fairly quickly as little if any organization is really required. Trust me you can just throw materials into boxes at this point and with the system we have for inventory you will know exactly where each feather and hair are at all times. You will never put another item in the wrong box, and when you need to expand to accommodate new materials, just add a box. The contents of any box single box really do not matter.

But, since we have the time, and are using this as our starting point, sort your feathers and your furs into two piles. Set the fur aside for the moment.

Now sort out your feathers. Capes here, marabou there, strung hackle, herls etc. into distinct piles. OK you have that done?

Now get out a black magic marker and some boxes the size of shoe boxes or there about. The cardboard boxes printers get envelopes in are great for this and you may be able to scrounge them from work. Shoe stores might be a source of boxes. (though they are not as sturdy) Cigar stores are also good.

Also go to a craft store and get some cedar blocks, they are small and cheap. Now open a box, throw a cedar block on the bottom. This will keep the bugs from eating your money, and believe me we are talking money as you fill these boxes.

Next take your pile of capes and put them in a box. If you have too many for one box, put them into two, three or whatever number you need.

Do the same with your marabou, strung hackles, herls, chenilles, etc. If you can't fill a box with one material, put a second or third in with the first. It doesn't matter if the box contains mixed materials.

When you have all of this done, make a label for each box, but just use a number thereon, do not write what it contains. The contents may change over time, but the system is eternal.

Numbered Boxes

OK you have a stack of numbered boxes, now what? Well, I am glad you asked that question.

Take the first box and empty it's contents out onto your bench. On each plastic bag holding each of the materials in that box write the box number. If a color is critical (I am colorblind) mark the color or stock number on the bag. The little tags that come on the package have away of getting lost over time. Put each item back into the box as you mark it.

Do the same to all of the boxes. Number each, number the contents, add notes to the bags as you desire.

OK, you have them all done? Great, now pick up the Jungle Cock Cape that fell on the floor when we first started. Where are you going to put that now?

Hmmmm. It doesn't matter! Put it in a box where it will fit, mark the box number on the bag, and we are ready to move on.

Now I assume you all have a computer, or you probably would not have been able to access this article in the first place. Good, and we all have a database program too, right. Just about all computers come with one version or another. I have and I suspect many of you have Microsoft Works version something or other.

You will now make up a very simple data base, which should contain the following fields:
Box #, Type, (cape, marabou, herl, etc. Use broad categories here) Color, Size (if you like you can add source, cost, whatever.)

The above can now be used to describe any material in any box. It can be manipulated to sort in any way you need. It does not care if the same type items are in separate boxes, or if you have three of the same item in three separate places. When sorted this becomes very obvious. It is also handy when it comes to inventory and reordering items. If they are all written down, which they must be, and you physically mark your sheet, which you will print out and use for reference, that you need an item when you get low, you will order what you need, not what you misplaced.

You will be able to keep more materials on hand and won't have to trust the ole memory from year to year, asking "Do I have the tear-stained nose hair of a Lithuanian Elf" on hand.

You will not only know that you do, you will know exactly where it is, and will be ready to tie with it in a jiffy. Now do the same with your "hairs" and I'll see you next week.

Write me with your suggestions! (hell, I stole a lot of these from other people, might as well steal yours too!) ~ George Emanuel

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
Back to the index

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice