Alternate tube materials

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by DennisE, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,917
    Walla Walla, WA
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    I'm trying tubes (black Mickey Mouse Q-tips, with fuz scraped off) using a large sewing needle as a mandrel. I tied an 1/8th to 1/4 inch section with thread until the tube was tight when slid over the needle. Tube is slightly bigger than needle.

    Wife suggested i take a tube to the fabric store and try knitting needles, as apparently the come in all sizes.

    I think (for 100 "tubes" and the needle) I'm in it about $5.
  2. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,917
    Walla Walla, WA
    Ratings: +742 / 0
    And my "supafly" renzetti vise holds the needle firm enough to bend it in circles. A metal knitting/crochet needle could be flattened to give lesser vises a better grip (please note the sarcasm...I just love my Dirty R vise)
  3. Tacoma Red Active Member

    Posts: 612
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    Where do you buy the tubing in bulk? Can you please share your online source for both PTFE and PE? Also what gauge and cell wall thicknesses do you usuall prefer?

    Thanks much,

  4. Tacoma Red Active Member

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    Is there a quintessential book, aka "Bible" on tube fly tying that you prefer?
  5. pittendrigh Active Member

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    RE> bulk PTFE tubing.

    Years ago (mid 1980s) I made a failed attempt at wholesaling super glue to fly shops. I had some labels made that said "Sandy's Superfly"
    But between idea and implementation a year later the retail price went from five bucks a bottle to less than two. And there went the small volume profit.
    And there went me.

    The only thing I came away with was a half a dozen 100 foot rolls of tubing, in various sizes.
    I use 18 to 22 gauge for the thicker ZapAGap and 28 to 30 guage for the thinner ZapCA

    There are dozens of links out there. Here's one of many

    Cut the top off a bottle of ZapAGap. Cut a slanted end on one end of a 3" length of tubing. Shove that 3" length of 20 guage tubing into the bottle so it extends all the way down to the bottom of the bottle, slanted end down. Caulk it in place with a hot melt glue gun. Now you have what chemists call a wash bottle. You squeeze the bottle to dispense the liquid (you do not tip the bottle). You can watch the glue migrate up the tube, and then release pressure slightly, just as the glue gets to the tip of the tubing. That way you can dispense tiny pin-point drops exactly where you want them. When you let go the bottle sucks the CA glue back down the tube, so it (almost) never clogs up. If the tube does clog it will ALWAYS be at the tip. So you just cut a sixteenth of an inch off the end of the tube and you're ready to go again.

    100 feet of PTFE is about 20 bucks. It makes a fine tube fly. You just have to match the right sewing needle to that tube size. The same places that sell PTFE usually sell cheaper tubing made from ................. not sure what. Polyethylene I think. That stuff would be fine for tube flies. But it is NOT slick enough for dispensing super glue. Polyethylene tubing clogs up with CA glue almost instantly. Sewing stores sell "soft sulpture" needles in various thicknesses and lengths. You can match any tubing diameter to the right needle at a good sewing store.

    ===I don't know what guage to buy for tube flies. You could research that. The smaller the guage number the bigger the tubing. 30 gauge is tiny. 10 to 14 might be about right for tube flies.
  6. LBC nymphing beads with a spey pole.

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    yeah dude... this works great and its free! I experimented w/ different knots to fit inside the qtip and slide out on the grab.. then a guy told me that remote control airplane fuel line worked for junction tubing.. its the shit. really flexible and fits right over it.