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The New Fulling Mill Fly Box Range

Published: 3rd November 2020 | Author: Fulling Mill

It’s been a long process, but all of us here are Fulling Mill are absolutely thrilled to share with you the new Fulling Mill fly box range.

Where it All Started

We’ve spent the last 18 months designing, building and testing the new Fulling Mill fly box range. The entire process has been done right here in the UK using designers from Brighton, tooling partners and injection molders from the North East, and a highly skilled team of assembly assistants based a stone’s throw from our prized Rutland Water. All of this has resulted in what we believe to be the first range of commercially available, 100% British, 100% unique, high quality, versatile fly boxes in decades.

The Motivation

We’ve had generic fly boxes for years. They were the same boxes you see at every show and on every shelf, all carrying different logos. Whilst it’s hard to fault these on price, we grew tired of their generic nature. We knew we could do better. So, in January of 2019, we took matters into our own hands.

The Goal

Our Goal was to design and build an affordable, compact, range of fly boxes for the discerning fly fisherman. Not only that, but we wanted to do it all right here in the UK using skilled British labour and premium UK parts. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we wanted to take all of the key elements of a good fly box, refine them, and perfect them. It really was that simple, or so we thought!

The Journey

Okay, so we’re great at designing and making flies, but 3D product design is not so much in our wheelhouse. This is where seasoned designer Josh Richards came in. You might have heard of Josh, he’s the man behind the Ripple Box, some of the products at Joseph Joseph and many other products you may have seen. Following several sessions with Josh and a truck load of Post-it notes we found common ground on the following key requirements:

Each box must be outstanding in its class when it came to capacity.

We’d heard time and again our customers wanted to get as many flies into their boxes as possible. When the crucial moment came, they needed to have every key pattern in hand.

With flat, rippled and slotted foam to choose from—as well as silicone—we spent hours deliberating the virtues of each.

With the aim of minimizing weight and prioritizing function over form, we went with a lightweight high density flat-slotted foam. We insisted that it be of the highest quality so that it didn’t tear and rip without undue cause, while also being strong enough to hold the flies in place no matter how bumpy the ride.

Then came the inevitable question of waterproofness.

At the outset we thought this was a forgone conclusion. But as it happened, we soon changed our minds. The truth is that flies get wet. It’s their job. Plus, if it’s raining and you open your box they get wet anyway. What’s more, non-waterproofness and quick magnetic closures give you the quickest and easiest access to your flies. Other than that, in 99% of cases (unless you are bathing with the box) having an IP rating is overkill. It also would have been very expensive.

Then came the question of range.

How many boxes did we want to offer? Here again we struggled to keep things simple. For weeks we added and subtracted boxes that we simply ‘had to have’, but in the end it boiled down to a core-collection of five day boxes. They’re designed to cover you for any occasion.

An early model made using 3D printing. All boxes were printed locally on a 3D printer so we could see exactly what it was we were going to get when we went to production. This made making little tweaks here and there infinitely easier.

June 2019

We’re six months in and Josh is putting pen to paper in pulling together his designs for our approval. Impressively and all credit to Josh here, his first mock-ups were nearly perfect. In fact, we were on to 3D printing prototypes later on the same month. Then things got a little more difficult.

The Hard Yards

Design is one thing, but putting it into action was another matter. It was now July 2019 and we knew what we wanted. We had it on paper, so all we needed to do was run off a few moulds, stick some foam in them and sell them. How hard could it be? Well, as it turned out; Very.

Having held a core desire to produce these boxes completely in the UK, we set about finding key partners to help us achieve this. Finding a highly skilled team to take our CAD drawings and turn them into moulding tools was relatively straight forward. Finding someone to carry out the actual molding process wasn’t a problem, either. The foam, though, was a different story.

We had no idea how much effort goes into making the tooling. These things of beauty take 12 weeks of painstaking work to get right.

For months we searched high and low, calling any UK firm that claimed to have mastered the highly technical art of manufacturing and cutting foams to the intricate levels we required. August rolled into September. Then it was October with still no sign of a suitable partner. By now, we were looking at our options in China, Taiwan, Japan and further afield, but we remained keen to keep things local. Then, we found them!

A brilliant company in Corby answered our prayers. We learned that cutting foam to provide a clean finish by the thousand is no easy job, especially while trying to keep costs down. We spent the best part of four months testing foams, high impact adhesives and cutting tools until we were all happy with the finished product.

Finally, several months in, we achieved the quality required for the foams and could press on.

The Final Leg

It’s February 2020. Drawings and purchase orders were sent to the tooling manufacturers in Durham to make the tools, into which we will inject the polycarbonate. This will make up the main components. Unfortunately, they were flat out. There’s a 3 month lead time but they’re worth the wait. At the same time the foam was ordered, cutting tools sharpened and production commenced.

The Range

It’s been a long journey, we’ve learned a lot, and we’re happy with the result. The boxes look great, they’re tough as hell and trust us, you can pack them full of flies all day long. You will have five boxes to choose from in the new Fulling Mill fly box range!

Keeping the new boxes close.
Photo by Joe Klementovich.

The Pocket Box

This is the smallest in our new range. A lightweight box, it features a sleek frosted lid, which allows you to see your flies. Inside is a one-sided high density, 4mm slit foam with the capacity for up to 122 flies. As the name suggests, this box will fit snugly into the average shirt or pant pocket, making it the ideal day box. 

The Stealth Box

The Stealth Box is a super slim, clear lidded box capable of holding up to 260 of your finest flies. It houses the same slotted foam bed as the rest of the range and is ideal for nymphs, wet flies and smaller dry flies. This box will keep any angler’s essentials safe for a day on the water.

The Streamer Box

The Streamer Box features a large format slotted foam layout with plenty of head room. This clear-lidded, single-sided foam box can hold up to 60 flies and is ideal for a wide range of small to medium streamers and saltwater flies.

The Tactical Box

A slim workhorse of a box, the Tactical Box will hold up to 520 nymphs, wet flies or dry flies in a double-sided format. Low profile but with ample space, it will be the cornerstone of any trout anglers fly box assortment.

The Tactical Max

The Tactical Max is the crown jewel of the new Fulling Mill fly box range. A two-sided swing leaf provides the box with four sides of slotted foam fly storage, giving it an incredible maximum capacity of 960 flies while still maintaining a 45mm thickness. It’s A euro nymphing angler’s dream box if ever there was one. 

Launch Update

The boxes are available online in the US and UK, so order yours today! Due to high demand, some of the boxes are out of stock in the US, but you can find them through our dealers. If you don’t know the closest dealer to you, check out our dealer locator.

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