Tying Tips! by: Tom Deschaine
Any tyer, over the years, develops tips and tricks when it comes to bench work. They are as numerous as your own imagination. As you develop them, keep a list --- when it's long enough share them with an audience. FAOL provides a great format for you to share the new tricks that you've developed both on and off the water. Here is my modest list of 'tips' which I've developed over the last few years. I hope you enjoy!
√ Try using no hair stacker --- it saves time, and gives a more natural look to your flies. Just pinch your hairs, pull straight up to the vertical position and clip it off.
√ Emergency sharpening of scissors (does not substitute for actual sharpening). Use a fine emery paper, sand paper or even aluminum foil. Take your scissors and make ten to twenty cuts through the materials I've suggested.
√ Short of hackle tips? --- use wing burners to reuse hackle --- providing new tips to those that have already been cut off.
√ Use duck tape to clean up your bench of old materials. Pull off a piece and use it to pick up scrap hair, fur and feathers --- then, just throw it out.
√ Need a portable vise to use on the river? Use an 'X-ACTO' Knife. Just remove the blade and use it as a handle to hold your hook.
√ Type your favorite 'fly recipes' onto a 4 x 6 card --- add a picture of the fly to make it even neater --- file them in a box.
√ A substitute for a bodkin threader can be as simple as using disposable 'floss threaders' --- which your dentist will be happy to supply you with.
√ Mini electrical test clips (also called wire markers) can be purchased from Radio Shack. They are great little 'stands' to display your flies on and also work well as hackle pliers for many delicate materials.
√ Need a hair packer --- try using a standard ink pen --- just pull out the tip with the ink cartridge attached and discard it. Use the hollow tube to push the materials down your hook. Different size pens provide different sizes of tubes.
√ Head lice combs can be purchased from your local pharmacy. They are great for brushing out or removing debris from your animal hairs.
√ Can't find that special colored thread? Try a sewing shop. They not only have the complete rainbow of colors they will also have specialty threads like silver, gold and metalics.
√ Static electricity a problem? Animal hair and furs sticking to everything accept the hook? Try spraying your tools and hair and furs with 'Static Guard.'
√ Slick up your tools with 'Pledge Wax' --- it keeps your bobbins, bodkins and hackle pliers from sticking to material.
√ Looking for a really good dubbing wax? "Try Burt's Bees Lip Balm" available at most drug stores.
√ Flies don't float? Try tying in an underbody of 'kapok' which is a natural plant material --- it supports 10 times its own weight on the water. (If you can't find it, contact me at my web site.)
See you on the water…..