I recently decided to start using my Compucarve CNC Carving Machine to it’s full potential, and try to create some CNC Carved Fly Fishing Flyboxes to sell on my ETSY Website. I purchased a downloadable plan that supposedly only needed to be inserted into the machine, and a perfectly shaped final product would emerge from the machine ready for the finish to be applied. Well I had never purchased such a plan and had very little experience with the design characteristics of the Compucarve/Carvewright Design Software as it related to the final product. My first couple of carves had flaws such as hinge misalignment, and holes drilled out of the side of the box. The original box plan called for a 1 inch thick front piece, and a 3/4 inch back piece. It had a carving of a fish, a fishing pole, and a fishing net lying on a pile of rocks. It is a two sided carve with two sides that are joined together with hinges, and the box is kept closed with magnets. A cavern is carved inside the box to create a storage compartment for each piece. So it is a very tricky carve. The carving machine drills out the hinge holes as well as the magnet holes.
Those of you that do woodworking regularly know that 1 inch thick stock is hard to find, and can be expensive. It is especially expensive if it is an exotic or rare type of wood. I did not have any 1 inch thick stock so I did a series of glue ups of some wood I had available in the shop. I had some weird sized pieces of Redwood that I had inherited from my father. It had been in his shop for years, and it had been stored in my garage attic for about a decade. It was very dry, but had a beautiful figure. I decided to carve a couple of fly boxes out of it. Unfortunately, I was still in the trial and error phase of getting this carving plan ironed out so I wasted several pieces of some really cool wood. Redwood is extremely light, and holds up well to water and dirt so it is a good choice for a fly fishing box.
Because I wanted to offer these fly boxes for sale on my Etsy website, I wanted to distinguish my boxes from the numerous others offered by other shops. Most of the other offerings were not carved, but are laser engraved. They have several choices that can be made by the purchaser so I also wanted mine to be configured by the buyer. Etsy had just recently offered a feature where you can offer several choices which are picked by pull down menus. I didn’t just want to offer the pattern that I purchased originally so I came up with several variations. You can see photos of the variations below. I also wanted to make these boxes a production item where I could put out a lot of them should they become popular.I didn’t want to have to continually glue up stock so I created my variations out of 3/4 inch thick stock which is much easier to find. I also wanted to offer a choice of wood for the box to be made from. I can make them out of any kind of wood but I limited the choices to Pine, Redwood, and Mahogany. I may expand to other woods at a later date. I also wanted to make mine unique by carving the buyers name on the front of the box with the design. I used some of my grandson’s names as examples in the sample boxes featured in the photos below.
The first boxes I have made have been finished in Lacquer. I am experimenting with this finish and liked it at first because it dried quickly and protected the wood from the elements, but it requires a lot of coats to make it look good. I still don’t know if I will continue to use Lacquer in future boxes. I may end up with some type of Spar Varnish, or Polyurethane finish. The interior compartment is lined with Ripple Foam, and the hinges are 10mm Barrel Hinges so they disappear into the box lid. The two pieces are held firmly closed with a pair of 1/4 inch rare earth magnets.
Check them out on my Etsy Site, and let me know what you think.