Every fly tier begins to have preferences shortly
after they start in fly-tying; I am no different
than any other fly tier. I have preferences for
the brand of fly vise, tools, and hooks I use. I
do not have a preference for choice of thread brand
(Uni, Danville, and ect.) or thread type (nylon,
polyester, silk, ect.). I do have a preference
for the thread spools I use in my fly tying. Some
people avoid a certain brands of threads because of
the spool the thread is sold on. Again, I am not
any different than other fly tiers, I may use a
company's thread, but I do not use their spools. How
can simple spools make a difference in how you tie flies?
Thread spools are not just for storage of the thread,
they are also a component of your bobbin, when tying a
fly the two parts have to work together as a team.
Different brands of thread have their own unique
spool design; some designs are better than others.
Here is a list of the different spools by the brand
names of the threads.
Danville spools are slit deep into the hub of
the spool with a diagonal cut. I find the thread tags
hard to reattach onto the spool because the tension of
the remaining thread prevents the rim slit from opening
easily. The thread can easily snag on the slit when
using the spool on the bobbin. For some reason the
Danville brand insists on placing the label on the
slit end of the spool.
Most brands of thread sell their thread wrapped right
up to the lip of the spool rim. I have noticed that
many times my thread has broken because the thread
rolled over the rim and wrapped around the wire foot
holding the spool on the bobbin. I have, for many years,
been transferring half of the thread on a new spool to
a different spool, to avoid the thread jumping over
Uni spools have a diagonal notched slit on the
rim, but it does not cut into the hub of the spool.
Uni has the spools label on the opposite end of the
spool, the end with the slit for the thread tag. This
is an improvement over the Danville design. The thread
can catch on the slit in the rim when used on the bobbin.
Pearsall sells it silk thread and floss on miniature
spools, you need a smaller bobbin to use the thread. The
spools have a slit on the outside edge of the spool, this
is better than the Danville or Uni slits, but this also
can snag the thread when used on the bobbin.
Waspi has a spool that does not slit the rim to
hold thread tags, instead they have a plastic washer
attached to one end to secure the thread. There is
nothing on the spool rim to snag the thread.
Gudebrod has a similar design as used by Waspi;
Gudebrod has an expanding cap on both rims for securing
the thread tag. There is nothing on the Gudebrod spool
rim to snag the thread when used with the bobbin.
I use Waspi and Gudebrod spools exclusively with my bobbins.
I transfer the thread to empty bobbins by using the thread
transfer device on my sewing machine. You also can transfer
the thread by using your bobbin to hold the new spool of
thread and wind the thread onto the blank spool.
Some may think I am exaggerating a small thing, such as
the thread spools. Small annoyances become big annoyances
when they happen too often. I do not like annoyances
when tying flies, especially things that I can correct.
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board, here at FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to