Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Danielocean, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Hey guys I am new to this. What kind of lighting to you suggest for optimal comfort when fly tying. I have tied about a couple dozen flies now, and I am discovering that I need to take a good break after each fly because my eyes are so tired. My wife says I probably need some magnification and lighting but I do not know any good products out there. Can you guys help with some advice?
  2. I have an Ott light/magnifier I use but it appears it's no longer made.
  3. Thanks I will look into it.
  4. A good goose-neck lamp or fiber-optic light can be very helpful at putting light where you need it and be out of the day. Also, it is important that you have a good neutral background behind the fly.

  5. What do you mean by neutral back round. Like a white board or something?
  6. The Ott lights sold at craft stores seem to be very popular, they are free standing lights that sit on your desk. There are a couple of brands that attach to your vise stem, McKenzie and Peak. I think the McKenzie offers a magnifier on one of their offerings. I've heard good things about both. Personally, I use a cheapie halogen desk lamp from Wally World, and a table lamp with a daylight bulb in it. The combination of both gets me all the light I need. If the desk lamp dies, I'll replace it with the Peak--I think. As for magnifiers, I use cheaters. I don't wear glasses and tie most of my flies without magnification. When I get down to the really small and intricate work, I pop em on. Not saying this is the right recipe for everyone but it works for me.
  7. I'm 65 and use the magnifier on all flies I tie. I find it helps make my ties lots neater as I see little things I'd miss without it.
  8. White or gray would be my recommendation for most circumstances. It is less effort to focus on your small fly when the background is even.
  9. I'm tying #8 3xl damsel fly nymphs for a swap and use the magnifier for that. Makes sure there's no thread peeking out where it's not supposed to, the ribbing is wound evenly and dubbed heads appear nicely shaped and not lumpy.
  10. I was thinking about going to Wal Mart and buying a cheap bright desk lamp. I am skepticle of fly tying lights that attach to the vice stem. I would think that makes the center of gravity higher and makes the overall vice more wobbly. I use a pedestal base.
  11. I have the giraffe light / magnifier setup. I had looked at them for a while but thought it was too pricey for me, but spouse bought me one for a birthday and I now I do not know how I got along without it. I would go right out and get another if something happened to my current setup.
  12. like this?
    Dave Evans likes this.
  13. placing your tying area where there is natural light is probably the best but we might not have that advantage

    i use 2 full spectrum light from home depot. $25 each

    and a light blue background for tying and photographing flies

    i also open the blinds for natural light

    Kcahill likes this.
  14. I prefer natural light, but have fluorescents above my bench, a halogen if I need to focus light, and a magnifier tho I seldom use it.
  15. I use the Peak light on my pedestal vise and it works great.
    Kinda spendy but very nice and bright L.E.D.
  16. After a literal lifetime of tying (59 years of tying now) and having gone through many different types of lights in those years, I discovered the full-spectrum or daylight florescent lamps 12 years ago. They have the best light, run the coolest, are easy to find, the bulbs last a long, long time, and unless you just have to buy the most expensive brands, such as Ott Lights, they are very reasonably priced.

    After I was introduced to them, I bought one, which resulted in my tossing my draftman's swing-arm lamp and my halogen bulb lamp in the trash. The draftman's lamp produces a lot of heat because you need to use at least a 75 watt bulb and a 100 watt bulb is better for best light. These will distort the colors though because they aren't full-spectrum lights, rather they are the normal "warm" bulbs most folks use in their living room lamps. The halogen lights can give you a nasty sunburn if the plastic UV filter lens gets cracked or is left off. And some of the halogen lights allow some of the light to seep out unfiltered because the UV filter cover has a gap in it to allow the heat from the halogen bulb to escape. Yes, halogen bulbs make a lot of heat, even though they aren't very big.

    These are the best lights bar none. Virtually all of them use florescent bulbs, which last a long, long time. These are also known as and called "daylight florescent lamps". Ott is one of the better known brands, but they cost more than many others. You want to get one of these lamps with the 18 watt bulb, the 13 watt bulb isn't quite bright enough.

    The one pictured that Home Depot carries is a very good alternative to the expensive Ott lights, just get the one with the 18 watt bulb. In fact, I own both an Ott light swing arm style and one of the ones Home Deport sells. The Ott is a little better quality, but it cost more than $100.00 more. At any rate, they (and others like them) all do the job very well indeed. Just make sure you replace the bulbs when they need replacing with an 18 watt full-spectrum or daylight florescent bulb.

    Another option that is now on the market is the 20W Ott medium base full-spectrum screw type florescent bulb that is designed to screw into a normal light bulb socket. Pair this bulb with a swing-arm desk lamp that uses a normal light bulb and you will have a very good lighting system without spending much money. Unfortunately, this particular Ott light bulb costs about $20.00. But it will last 10,000 hours or more.

    The reason you want one of the daylight florescent or full-spectrum lights or light bulbs is because they mimic natural sunlight's light spectrum and as such, you get true colors and are able to see things far more clearly as well.
  17. In the event that you aren't looking to spend a lot of money at first, you might try an inexpensive, extendable arm magnifying lamp that takes about a 40w bulb. I have one that I bought for ca. $20 and has a 2x lens that is about 4-5 inches in diameter. It works great, once you get used to reaching around and always looking through the magnifier instead of trying to look around. I also use a second small light to provide light from a second direction to maintain a more uniform lighting.


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