In the arsenal of the fly tier, there may be no
better tool for crafting hair bugs than the double
edge razor blade.
At the risk of dating myself, and reminding many
of you how old we are getting, my first encounter
with one of these little jewels was shaving for
the very first time with a "Gillette Blue Blade."
They were blue because the technology did not yet
exist to manufacture a suitably sharp blade for
shaving from stainless steel. So with my trusty
razor and can of Rapid Shave I proceeded to peel
of a good deal of epidermis along with the few hairs
I had at the time.
Fortunately things have progressed since that time.
We have sent a man to the moon. The Berlin Wall has
come down, signaling the end of the cold war. The
Beatles have long since broken up, and the war in
Vietnam finally came to an end. And wonder of wonders,
man has discovered how to put a very keen edge on
little ribbons of stainless steel. Now we have razors
with two and three blades with which we continue to
drag across our face in the ritualistic act of making
our faces as smooth as a babies bottom. For the live
of me I don't know why, but like you, I go along.
In spite of the advances in the metalurgy and machining
of the modern day razor blade, one relic from the past
continues to be used to this day. Antiquated as it may
well be, it is a blessing for hair bug tiers that some
things die hard.
The double edge razor blade is perhaps the premier instrument
for trimming and shaping deer hair bugs. Nothing else that
currently exists in the known universe comes close to it at
performing this one task. Hopefully they will continue to
be commonly available.
Some of you may have tried single edge blades. While they
do offer the safety of having to watch the handling of a
single cutting edge, they simply do not compare to their
two edge predecessor.
You may be using an injector type blade, assuming you can
still find them. Schick used to market an injector blade
that made you a ringer for a date with the starlet of the
month. Unfortunately, even if they did improve your love
life, they fall woefully short of the double edge blade
for trimming hair.
Ever remembering my adolescent experience with double edge
blades, I cringe every time I remove one of the life
threatening monsters from the neat little cage in which
they are currently packaged.
Most of these containers provide for the blade to be removed
from the package, and when dull, they are inserted in a
holder in the back of the package designed to protect you
from their propensity to slice you when you least expect.
While this is great for shaving purposes, it does not serve
the fly tyer very well.
Once we remove the blade, we would like to use it over
some period of time, and when it is dull, retire it
properly. (the little disposal slot on the back of the
package is best for disposal)
Between the time when we first use the blade, and the
day when it has served its purpose, it must be stored
safely. I have seen people very carefully place them back
into the package with the new blades, but this is not
exactly the safest way to deal with them. Besides, you
soon lose track of whether a blade is new, or used with
this storage method.
Now we all know that to leave one of these blades lying
about exposed to the possibility of coming in contact
with any part of our anatomy is ill advised at best,
and just plain stupid at worst!
So what to do?
With two business card size pieces of magnetic "tape"
you can have your cake and eat it too. You can store a
used blade safely, quickly access it for future use,
and keep your new blades totally separate in the
container in which they were purchased.
Simply take the blade and lay it on one piece of the
magnetic tape. (you will be amazed by the way to see
that although stainless steel will not be held by a
magnet, the average "stainless steel" blade today will.
Just how much stainless is in that steel anyway?)
Having placed your blade on tape one, simply place tape
two over tape one and the blade and viola! You have
a sheathed, safe, double edge blade.
When you want to use it again, simply peel one side or
the other of the magnetic tape to reveal the blade. When
you are finished, put it away safely.
This also travels quite well.
And if you happen to need a shave ... nah, God put the
hair on my face, if he wants it removed, he'll remove it!
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along,
most of this material has been stolen from somebody,
might as well steal your ideas too!
~ George E. Emanuel
(Chat Room Host Muddler)