Seal fur

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by zen leecher aka bill w, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    I recently received 4 bags of seal fur as a gift. I've had some from the early 70's years and I always remembered it as being hard to dub bodies with.

    Lately I've been using the split thread method for dubbing bodies and I've noticed two things. One, it's a way of getting a nice tight, small body and two, it takes way less dubbing. Though splitting a 6/0 thread isn't the easiest and I don't understand how Hans splits 12/0.

    It seems the amount of fur I use now for a fully dubbed body is about the same as I used to use for a pinch of dubbing when rolling the dubbing around a waxed tying thread.

    Looks like I will get reacquainted with seal fur for it's translucence and kinkiness.
     
  2. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    I think the type of thread Hans uses may be easier to split than most.

    Plus... he's been doing it for a few years....:)
     
  3. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Benecchi thread splits really nicely, I only bought some because Hans uses it.
     
  4. kelvin

    kelvin Active Member

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    it is extremely hard to dub
    almost impossible in fact
    if you mail it to me I will be happy to throw it away for you


    It is the best stuff in the world
    try running it in a coffee grinder
     
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  5. Mark Mercer

    Mark Mercer Member

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    It's OK Bill, you'll get it down in no time. As you know I use a lot of seal and you're right it's not the easiest thing to dub but it's worth it. With all the synthetics out there I think it's still the best, kind of like polar bear verses synthetics, just not the same...

    I don't split thread that often but I do sometimes, what threads are you using? Uni is the only one I've found that just won't flatten which is critical, Ultra Thread, Danville, Veevus, Griffens are all good for splitting I've not used Benecchi but sounds like it works well. I'm just glad we can get seal now, I had to sneak some in from Canada years back when you couldn't get it in the US.
    Good luck...
    Oh yeah.....Lots of good wax and a lot of pressure when applying it.
    Mark
     
  6. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Veevus is about the same as Benecchi and easier to locate in the NW. FYI
     
  7. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Mark, I was splitting Danville and Pearsall's silk. The silk has a lot of twist in it and it's harder to split than the Danville. I do find dubbing with seal lots easier than angora goat.
     
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  8. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Steel wool is easier to dub with than seal fur.
     
  9. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Almost everything is easier than angora goat. In all my years of tying I have never found anything worse than that. Only thing that could be worse is angora goat soaked in wesson oil.
     
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  10. S Fontinalis

    S Fontinalis Active Member

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    If its difficult to dub, then you're using too much dubbing.
    Pinch what you think is enough and reduce that by 4. Then dub.
    The key is to not try to dub the noodle for the whole fly at one time. Dub a bit, wrap it, dub some more, wrap it again.

    I've dubbed seal, mohair (angora goat), berlin wool, ice dub, pigs wool, the lot - i never use wax, never use split thread technique. Only thing i some times add is spit to my dubbing fingers for grip.
     
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  11. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    The thing I like about seal fur is the fibers are short and kinky. What I don't like about goat is the fibers are smooth and long. I cut the goat two or three times to get the fibers to the length I want and even then they're slippery enough and stiff enough to resist dubbing. Having said that I do have a fair amount of stimulators with dubbed angora goat heads.

    I guess dubbing and winging with certain materials is the graduate class in fly tying.

    Thanks for the tips, Eunan.
     
  12. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Bill,

    Seal is, as you have found out, not difficult to dub is you either split the thread or make a dubbing loop.

    Unlike you, I've found angora rather easy to dub whether with standard dubbing technique with a simple waxed thread that is not split, with the split thread technique, or with a dubbing loop. With the single, un-split thread technique (the one I use isn't the classic dubbing technique, it is one I saw Dave Whitlock use about 35 years ago at a fly fishing conclave. Whitlock waxed his thread with a good tacky wax, 1) started just a few strands of dubbing on the thread by wrapping it around the thread clockwise 3 or 4 wraps, 2) then he held the rest of the dubbing as a ball in his hand and 3) as he wrapped the dubbing, he allowed a little of the dubbing in his hand get pulled up onto the thread and body as the body was formed. It is very easy to do this once you get the hang of it. Go slow at first, speed comes with practice.
     
  13. Brian Thomas

    Brian Thomas Active Member

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    If I buy local , seal is much easier to aquire than angora . I use both , but for some steelhead patterns , I prefer angora because of the longer fibres . And angora is pretty much all I use for my stillwater leech patterns .
    I don`t find angora difficult to use (I spin it in a loop , and don`t wax the thread) .
     
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  14. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Where I found angora goat hard to use was winding tight little heads on stimulators. The goat did not want to stick to, or in, the thread(s). I think I'd pulled all the "easy to" dub goat out of the bunch and was left with the very stiff hairs that did not want to cooperate.

    And I did not have any other dubbing that was amber colored...so I was stuck with the goat. Shame as the goat was the perfect hue.
     
  15. Bugsy

    Bugsy Member

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    Goat and other coarse dubbing is a cinch on Norvise. Otherwise, blending in a small amount of rabbit or other soft dubbing helps.
     
  16. David Dalan

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

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    Goat is great, in a loop like Brian said, and using way less than you think you need like Fontinalis mentioned. I've only used it for steelhead patterns, but when picked out it makes a nice body with movement in the water.
     
  17. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    I use a lot of seal fur. I like to split floss as Comb's describes in his book. I have used the same color floss as the dubbing and a contrasting color floss. Both give a nice transparent look to a fly.
     

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