Color Lock on Silk?

My wife and my buddy's wife stumbled across 36 NOS spools of silk in Winthrop last summer. We split the thread three ways and one of the spools that I ended up with is purple. I tried tying with the silk this week and love it on some Purple Haze. However, when I applied Hard As Nails, the silk turned dark. A couple of people have suggested that I try rod builders color lock before applying the Hard As Nails.

What are your thoughts?


Active Member
The short answer to your question is that color lock should work fine although you have many different options.
Shellac, lacquer, model airplane dope, waterborne finish like Polycrillic, and some UV based finishes (as shown above) can all work to keep a similar color as the original silk. Each and everyone will change the original color a bit but nothing like the dark finish you achieved with Hard As Nails.
In my case I'd start with Polycrillic, roll the fly over in the vise and touch a small brush or bodkin dipped in finish to the bottom of the fly. The finish will totally saturate the body and dry pretty quickly. I doubt if any additional finish will be needed.
FYI- If you have any water based head cement it will probably work too.
Good luck,


Active Member
Try a smooth base of silver tinsel and then wrap a single layer of single strand floss (provided you can split it four ways...use one strand); even then, I fear it may still darken a bit when something is wetting it.
I am beginning to think that this particular thread, as nice as it is to tie with, is not going to retain its color. Today I tried putting Flex Coat Color Preserver on the flies and the color preserver turns the thread dark. I suspect that if I am going to tie the Purple Haze and have it be purple I am going to have to try a different thread.
Maybe I spoke too soon. It appears that possibly I wasn't letting the color preserver to fully dry before putting on the Hard As Nails/Shellac. I am going to let the color preserver dry overnight before I put on the cement.
Well, I have given up on the Purple silk, at least for this purpose. I tried Hard As Nails, Shellac, and Clear Cure Goo (UV). All had the same result.

In talking with some people, evidently the silk I have is sewing silk and not treated.

I bought a spool of Uni-Thread and it worked just fine. I will obviously try the dark Purple Haze flies, but I won't tie any more with the silk.
The wonderful thing about tying with silk threads is the amazing color changes that occur when the silk gets wet, gets waxed with light color wax and waxed with dark color wax. Back when silk was king, tyers chose the silks for their color when wet/waxed not for how they looked when dry. If I want purple to look purple when wet, I use modern man-made materials and leave the silk for dressing wee wet flies.

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
Mr. Paget, you could share some of your purple silk with me and I will let you know how good it does for fly bodies. I was using one of Ron Eagle Elks purple dubbed flies about 2 weeks ago in Yellowstone on brown trout.


Active Member
This is a quick tie with Persalls Gossimer silk coated with water based head finish. The color is very slightly darker but it holds its purple color when wet. I normally tie this same pattern with purple uni thread, which works well and is a bit less work.