Custom Figured Claro Walnut Fly Fishing Net with Aluminum Fly Inlay

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Project by Greg posted 12-28-2011 07:55 PM 12152 views 13 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

New Custom Net – The Unveiling…
Well, I just finished this client’s custom highly figured Claro Walnut fly fishing net. He’s a very active fly fisherman, actually helped me pick out the wood to be used on this net (mark’s quite the accomplished Green & Greene woodworker). He selected a highly figured Claro Walnut piece for the handle, and Mahogany sandwiched between two pieces of Wenge to form the hoop. This flitch of claro is instrument grade wood. It was amazing to watch it transform from a seemingly rough and wavy slice of tree, to this.

If you’d like to view some of my other custom fly fishing nets, I have other nets posted here on LJ

Many more custom fishing nets can be seen here on my website.
If you would like to buy a net that is already made, or order a custom net, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’ll walk you through the process of building this custom fly fishing net:
Here are the beginning slabs of tree that were chosen for the handle. It’s highly figured curly Claro Walnut. It is NOT VERY FLAT at this point. Note that I cut out an oversized handle blank.

Note that there are two book-matched pieces that must be glued together to form the handle. This actually makes the handle even stronger than a single piece. This is why I needed to cut the handle oversized. When you clamp the 2 pieces, they inevitably slide around a bit.

The two pieces now need to be run through a drum sander to flatten them out for glue-up.
These are the oversized handle pieces being glued up

Here is the glued up rough handle blank.

I use acrylic handle templates so I can position the template over the most beautiful parts of the grain.

The handle just after roughing it out on the band saw.


Using an oscillating spindle sander to shape the handle and prepare it for glue-up.

Here, I begin the glue up on a platen that is later removed.

Near the end of the glue up phase.

Here, after removing the platen, adjustments are made to the clamps and handle so there are no air pockets in the laminations, and the net is hung out to dry for at least 24 hours.

Filing down the center contour of the handle.

Here, I use a Japanese rasp to contour the handle. This part is all done by feel. I scrape, file, carve, and sand the handle until it “fits the hand right”, taking into account the hand size of the person receiving the net. If the husband is buying for the wife, the handle will typically be sized a bit smaller in diameter to ergonomically fit her hand.

Sanding is the most tedious part as I cannot have any scratch marks for the finish I am applying. I sand from 80 grit to 100 grit, to 150 grit, to 180 grit, to 220 grit to 320 grit, to 400. Here, I’m sanding with 400 grit sandpaper: That is so fine, it feels about as smooth as your skin and it barely removes any material.

First coat of recipe 1 of 3 of my proprietary oil mixture. Each coat get at least 3-4 applications and is wiped off almost immediately. The last 2 recipes contain some spar varnish & Carnuba Wax for extra water repelling properties, perfect for fly fishing’s requirements.


I carved a Royal Wulff fly into the handle using both a high speed .0157” router bit(Correct, that is 15 THOUSANDTHS!), and an Exacto knife.

Same goes for Marks name which was also inlaid in Aluminum in to the hoops inner face.

A finished close up of the Aluminum Fly inlay. No net yet. AND the sharp-eyed tyers may have noticed I forgot the tail! DOH! I added it later.

Finished w/o net.

Nice views of the finished handles.

This knot is hand-tied using two colors of Made-in-the-USA, military-grade, 550lb. paracord. It forms a lanyard to loop around the wrist.









Close up of the finished inlay of a Royal Wulff.



This net, as all of my nets do, floats on water. I know my client will put this net through the ringer and will find many a trout to fill it with! For more on how I build my nets, please check out the Our Methods page on

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

21 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5028 days

#1 posted 12-28-2011 08:49 PM

Wow Greg ,it looks to nice to use. I really like the great wood and wonderful inlay. A all around amazing net. Thanks for the fantastic photos too.


View DanW's profile


123 posts in 4493 days

#2 posted 12-28-2011 09:33 PM

Nice work & I like Jim really enjoyed the slideshow!

-- "Let he who does not work in wood, find something else that's half as good." (can't remember who I'm quoting)

View Cornductor's profile


208 posts in 4118 days

#3 posted 12-28-2011 11:13 PM

Amazing work! I really like the amount of detail that you’ve added it make’s it a bit more personal. That’s what the customers love is personalization. Great work.

-- An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin

View EarlS's profile


5503 posts in 3799 days

#4 posted 12-29-2011 12:20 AM

Beautiful net!!! The best part is that it floats. Inevitably you will drop it when you are in the water.

Interesting net material. All the nets I’ve built used thinner, dark brown skeins for the net. According to the old-timers the brown wouldn’t scare the fish when you dipped the net in the water to catch it.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3794 days

#5 posted 12-29-2011 12:29 AM

beautiful work

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4759 days

#6 posted 12-29-2011 12:45 AM

You definitely have you net making down to an art…those are some fantastic nets anyone would be proud to own.

View Jeff Terrell's profile

Jeff Terrell

32 posts in 3792 days

#7 posted 12-29-2011 12:50 AM

Incredible craftsmanship, Greg. Beautiful piece.

-- "Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind." F. Scott Fitzgerald

View Gwfly's profile


79 posts in 4389 days

#8 posted 12-29-2011 01:52 AM

Great job on this project. How do you put the holes in for the netting?

-- gwfly

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4404 days

#9 posted 12-29-2011 01:54 AM

Nicely done.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View deerslayer_13's profile


39 posts in 3810 days

#10 posted 12-29-2011 03:17 AM

one of the best nets I have seen.

View dubsaloon's profile


623 posts in 4244 days

#11 posted 12-29-2011 05:07 AM

Wonderful net. Exceptional lumber choice. Thank you for sharing.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View Greg's profile


335 posts in 4324 days

#12 posted 12-29-2011 06:56 AM

Thank you all kindly. EarlS, thay say that the clear rubber does’nt scare the fish either, but I beg to differ in my own experience. The fish, if nothing else, see the rim of the net. Gwfly, I simply use a 3/32” brad point bit on my 12v LIon Bosch mini drill. each hole is made by hand.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 5193 days

#13 posted 12-29-2011 08:12 AM

beautiful work, love the claro walnut.

good reminder in the photo about “never having too many clamps”

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Michael's profile


32 posts in 4335 days

#14 posted 12-29-2011 08:50 AM

Alright, you explained everything, (and it looks awesome) I want to know how you got the aluminum to perfectly fit the fly you carved out. Would you tell us?

-- Michael

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4334 days

#15 posted 12-29-2011 02:03 PM

this is an amazing piece you have created!!! I’m not sure that I could use this for fishing, even if I knew how to fly fish!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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