head cement woes

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by James Mello, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Posts: 2,787
    Tacoma
    Ratings: +88 / 0
    So I have some really cheapy head cement, and for the smaller flies things have been pretty good. But now that I'm doing more steelhead flies, the cement doesn't seem to "bind" on the thread as good as necessary. Often times I end up with the stuff peeling off like skin, or actually getting torn off. So with that, what kinds of head cements are folks using? Are they solvent or water based? Or should I just move to thinned 5 minute epoxy for applications like this?

    -- Cheers
    -- james
  2. Steve Rohrbach Puget Sound Fly Fisher

    Posts: 606
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    James, I am using 2 or 3 coats of high glass lacquer and I am pleased. The heads are glass like and very glossy. It holds up well. I would recommend giving it a try.
  3. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,978
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +645 / 0
    James, it sounds to me as though your laquer or cement is going bad. If it is plain laquer you can use laquer thinner, or if a specific head cement product you have to use a compatible thinner solvent. That may help. Or you may have to buy a new batch. Keep the lid on all of the time except to cement the heads etc. One trick is to tie all of the flies first, let them pile up, and then cement them at one time, all in a row so to speak. That way the bottle is not laying open for a long time while you are tying.
  4. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    i have totally converted to super glue for finishing all of my flies. its the only product that i have found which does come off in tropical saltwater circumstances. as a result, all my flies now get finished with super glue. the product 'zap-a-gap' is exactly the same product found at home depot in a four pack for half the price, same mfg as well.
  5. halcyon Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!

    Posts: 491
    Vancouver, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I use a two part system for all of my steelhead and atlantic salmon flies. First I use Griffs Thin head cement to penetrate the thread wraps and lock everything down (this is the only head cement I use for all flies) then one or more coats as necessary of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails with Nylon clear over the griffs thin. Hard as Nails not only does not come off in the water it also does not turn milky like many true lacquers do.

    Regards,
  6. Milton Conrad Member

    Posts: 79
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I thin the cement with thinner until it is slightly thicker than water. The first coat sinks in the thread so much that it looks like nothing is there. I then wait a few hours and put a second and if necessary, again after a few hours, a third coat.

    I usually lose the fly before any of the cement starts to come off!!!

    Regards
  7. g_smolt Recreational User

    Posts: 916
    58°19'59 N, 134°29'49 W
    Ratings: +160 / 0
    Seconding Sally's "Hard as Nails".

    I use it on "Client Flies" and sometimes get them back with bent hooks, dented dumbell eyes, and no feathers or fur left, but the heads are still immaculate.

    :thumb:
  8. Hywel New Member

    Posts: 160
    Bothell, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I wonder if any manufacturer has developed a totally 'bullet proof' head cement...

    Until they do, I'll stick with multiple coats of Veniard's Cellire.
  9. Desmond Wiles Sir Castaline

    Posts: 812
    Snohomish, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I've been using Dave's Flexament (Umpqua) for the past 6 months on everything but small dry flies, and it seems to work well. It can get thick after a while, but that can be fixed with Dave's Thinner.
  10. James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Posts: 2,787
    Tacoma
    Ratings: +88 / 0
    So there was the Sallys hard as nails "soft" and "hard" available at the fly store... which one to get?
  11. g_smolt Recreational User

    Posts: 916
    58°19'59 N, 134°29'49 W
    Ratings: +160 / 0
    Hard would be the one I would get.

    Great stuff for shrimp antennae too...
  12. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,978
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +645 / 0
    Sally's products are in drug stores and the like, they are fingernail polish and finish products. If they have a thinner it will be there with the rest of it. sally's "Hard as Hull" is a very good fly cement. Apply thin coats several times, let dry between coats a few minutes.
  13. wet line New Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Burien, WA, King.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Most finger nail polishes are lacquer base as far as I know, and I am no expert to say the least. Wet and Wild is my preference as it is cheap. Then there are all the color options available.

    It is amazing the service a man can get in a womans department, :D

    Dave's Flex a ment is difficult to get out of the eyes and is one of my least favorite head cements. When I do use it I put a straight pin through the eye until it dries.

    Dave
  14. James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Posts: 2,787
    Tacoma
    Ratings: +88 / 0
    Maybe I should hit up the Bartells and see what we have!
  15. Desmond Wiles Sir Castaline

    Posts: 812
    Snohomish, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Wet & Wild huh? I always thought of you as a Dry & Tame kinda guy! ;)
  16. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,224 / 0
    Isn't it though? Probably about the same as a woman might expect in a fly shop.

    K
  17. Skilly Member

    Posts: 196
    Winlock, WA.
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Ouch,,,,, sticking those straight pins in my eyes always hurt like $#%$^

    Seriously just go buy the Sally Hansen Hard as nails. Cheap durable more coats make the head more shiny, but one coat will seal the thread.

    Skilly
  18. gooseblaster New Member

    Posts: 1
    Delta, BC.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Anyone know if they still make pharmacist formula. (no thinning formula)
    This, I liked the best of all and now am almost out of the last bottle.
    Never has got thick with age and can build a good gloss with several coats.
  19. bulltrout19 ever see a fish fart?

    Posts: 4
    Newman Lake, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    one way I have found to avoid the ol' needle in the eye trick...while the cement is hardening...run the remnants of a saddle hackle feather through the eye of the hook...it pulls the excess cement out. and its scrap so you dont have to worry about waste. also a huge fan of the sally hanson hard as nails...good stuff.
  20. Charles Beaver New Member

    Posts: 103
    Denver, COLORADO
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have found that if I put a little of the head cement on as I am tying prior to my final touch on the head works for me. but that just me
    :D