Design collaborations are a favorite around here, and this Limited-Edition Fly-Tying Desk wins our attention not only for its stellar pedigree, but it’s incredible specificity: A single, handcrafted cabinet intended for the fisherman’s most patient task on land.
A special project between legacy artisan furniture company Thos. Moser and its Maine compatriot, L.L. Bean, the piece ($12,500) represents the rare place where sportsmen and heirloom-quality furniture overlap. Thos. Moser has been renowned for its timeless, high-quality handmade wooden furniture since 1972. Similarly, L.L. Bean has been the country’s outdoor specialist, purveying goods as far back as 1912.
While both brands could have captured the current mania for authentic American-made goods and created an instantly covetable line of accessories, they avoided the easy and obvious path. Instead, they teamed up to honor a pastime that has no reality television cameras, star players, or big endorsements and just make a functional, artistic, passion-driven piece of furniture.
And in true neighborly fashion, both brands were willing to share. Warren Shaw, Thos. Moser’s master cabinetmaker paired up with Matt Bickford, L.L. Bean’s hunting and fishing expert for the project. The resulting design is made of hand-selected sustainable cherry wood that was harvested in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Plateau, a material that not only aligns with the project’s ethos—pure, uncomplicated pursuits—it also offers a rich grain and color to the finished work.
A small number of artisans from Thos. Moser hand built each desk, which features dovetail joinery in the drawers. As fly-tying is a precise art, the team leaned on Bickford’s insight to tailor the piece to the needs of the avid fly fisherman. The Thos. Moser and L.L. Bean team collaborated on the concept for months, starting with the furniture brand’s tried-and-true Slant Top Desk as a basis for the design and then customized it for fly-tying. “The idea was to have a desk that was recognizable as a Thos. Moser piece, but modified to incorporate plenty of storage,” says Mark Paisley, Thos. Moser’s engineering department manager.
They designed a cabinet with more than 20 drawers for storage, including four lined with cedar to preserve organic materials. A custom spool case keeps the small bits organized. And the desk’s interior has Marmoleum inlay to ensure the solid American black cherry surface is protected from denting, scratching, or spills from adhesives.
Only five desks were made, and each signed by the makers as part of Thos. Moser tradition. At press time, only one remains. While the Thos. Moser will take special custom commissions to create the piece for clients, the last desk from this original set is still available for the kind of fly-tying aficionado who likes to work in style.