favorite head cement

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by P-FITZ98, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. P-FITZ98

    P-FITZ98 Member

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    I spilled my bottle all over the other night:( and was wondering what some peoples favorite is, being there are so many to choose from.
     
  2. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    For reasons such as you describe and for working indoors in the wintertime without wanting to have a window open blowing my feathers around, I now use a water-based head cement. I've noticed no discernible disadvantages relative to organic-based cements. I use one marketed by Wapsi.
    D
     
  3. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Swede's used to offer Olive Willy fly head cement. I believe it was compounded by one of his employees and it was supposedly the same formula that Roy Patrick used to mix up. I don't know whether it's still available (even from Swede's in Spokane). It was a high-build cement and a couple of coats would result in a nice, smooth, shiny head. Recently, I've been trying Sally Hansen Hard-as-Nails clear fingernail polish. It's cheap and convenient and I've been quite happy with it.

    For my saltwater flies I've taken to using John Ryzanich's Softex, a material that has many applications in addition to that of head cement. It uses toluene (toluol) as a solvent which seems to be a concern for some people but I don't think that the small amount released into the air during the short period of time that the jar is open creates a problem in a normally ventilated room.
     
  4. P-FITZ98

    P-FITZ98 Member

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    I went through a bottle of the Olive willy Swede gave me, and he still sells it, but hes proud$$$ of it.It is good stuff, but for 9.00$?
     
  5. Jamie Wilson

    Jamie Wilson Active Member

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    I like the Hard as Hull brand but I think it gives me a headache.
     
  6. David Dalan

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

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    Anglers corner cement and thinner. The toxic stuff. Thinned out to be super runny. Then use 3-5 coats.
     
  7. Bruce Davidson

    Bruce Davidson formerly hatman

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    About 6 years ago I was introduced to Sally Hanson "Hard as Nails". I tried it and have used nothing else since then. I love it, and you can get it anywhere--drugstores, grocery stores, etc. I've used it in recent years coating my epoxy flies and I find that it seems to keep the 5 minute expoxy from yellowing over time (or at least it greatly slows it down).

    I used to be frustrated that 'regular' head cements would often dry opaque, rather than clear. Sally solved that for me.
     
  8. g_smolt

    g_smolt Recreational User

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    Sally's all the way.

    [​IMG]

    $2 and change, dries fast and thick, soaks in great, doesn't flake in saltwater.

    :thumb:

    Mark
     
  9. Hal Eckert

    Hal Eckert Member

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    Ditto, since about 1986 mainly SH. On dry flys none at all.

    :beer2:
     
  10. RDL

    RDL New Member

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    Sally Hansen's is tough to beat, I do like really thin Water based though as well, And Loon hard Head in black and Red is Nice If you want a quick High Gloss in either of the two colors, Loon is also water based so no smell.
    Depends on the fly, a good finishing not with no cement is also an option.
     
  11. Jeff Hale

    Jeff Hale B.I.G.F.F.

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    I second what Preston said about Softex; I love it. I can use it as head cement, to build up a fast epoxy coating, to affix stick-on eyes, etc. What I like mostly about it though is that is stays liquid and usable over the time period you own it, unlike Dave's Flexament which seems to get thick and gooey and has to be constantly watered down with thinner. I am very happy with Softex, but I plan on trying Hard As Nails. Jeff
     
  12. Bruce Davidson

    Bruce Davidson formerly hatman

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    Flexament was the product I was most frustrated with in drying opaque, and ditto and the drying-out issue.. Sally's my girl for the last several years. It, too, will dry out over time, but with the cheap price and availability, it's not a problem.
     
  13. Hal Eckert

    Hal Eckert Member

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  14. P-FITZ98

    P-FITZ98 Member

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    I talked to my cousin and mentor,John Newbury, last night, and he said Sally is the best.Ill be looking.THANKS!
     
  15. Bruce Davidson

    Bruce Davidson formerly hatman

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    hmmm, the Hard as Hull bottle looks suspiciously like Sally's bottle. Just wondering.

    Did a google and found these ingredients in Hard as Nails:
    Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Nitrocellulose, Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin, n-Butyl Alcohol, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Benzophenone-1. MAY ALSO CONTAIN: Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Phthalic Anhydride/Trimellitic Anhydride/Glycols Copolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Camphor, Epoxidized Soybean Oil.

    Anything for a nice looking fly head. :)
     
  16. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    A few years ago I talked at length to William (Olive Willy) Servis (sp?) about his head cement. He said it was nothing more than Nitrocellulose Lacquer. He was able find one or two five gallon cans of it soon after it became restricted due to pollution controls and health concerns.

    Nitrocellulose Lacquer had been in use for ages as a top quality furniture finish. I have sprayed many gallons of it in clear, tinted transluscents and opaque colors. It is a very basic and versatile lacquer.

    TC
     
  17. FT

    FT Active Member

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    As you have already seen, there is no one best head cement. Instead, there are many different types that all work when used for the proper application. The very thin ones, like Griffin Thin, are very nice when tying small flies (say #18 on down) because there is nearly no build-up. However, it is not a good choice for holding lead wraps in place on a weighted Woolly Bugger, where a thicker cement is best.

    Likewise, the flexible cements like Dave's Flexament don't work well to finish the head of a fly. However, Flexament and other flexible cements (including Sportsman's Goop thinned with toluene) are terrific for holding hair wings and spun deer hair in place due to their natural stretchiness, which keeps the hair wings or spun deer hair bodies in place and keeps them from coming out.

    Then you have the super glues from the thin to the thick to the flexible ones. None of them make for a good head finishing cement, but they come into their own for things like holding lead wraps, lead eyes, cone heads, etc. in place.

    And the 5-minute epoxies come into their own on bullet head bucktails and streamers.

    If you are looking for a cement to produce a nice, hard, glossy, shiny, smooth head on your flies, Hard as Nails, Hard as Hull, Rumph's Head Cement, Wapsi Head Cement, Griffin's Thick, Veniard's Cellaire, and several others are wonderful. Granted, it takes multiple coats to produce the nice shiny head that covers up the thead and makes a smooth head with these, but the final result is worth it if that is what you are looking for.

    The bottom line, one cement will not do it all well and you really need to have several different types of cement on your tying bench. At a minimum in my opinion, you need a flexible cement (it works well to hold lead wraps in place too) for holding hair wings and spun deer hair bodies in place, and a medium viscosity cement (see paragrapsh just previous to this one) for nice glossy heads.
     
  18. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

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    That stuff is great. Never got any headaches but the fumes seem to dry my contact lenses out. Zap and a few others do as well so I don't mind that much.
     
  19. Brian P

    Brian P Member

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    Gotta go with the Sallie Hansen Hard as Nails. Great stuff, easy to find, works great, and beat of all - cheap.
     
  20. slippery_whippet

    slippery_whippet Member

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    I have to cop to it. What a wuss, I asked my wife to pick me up some Sally H at the drug store! Had her get me a couple other colors so I could touch up my chipped bead heads too....
    It does work great though :)
     

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