favorite head cement

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

  1. 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
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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 :)
     
  6. mjyp

    mjyp New Member

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    if you are tying for fishing as opposed to show, 5 second nail glue is sweet. manicurists use it and can be found in any walgreens.

    also loctite has a glue that comes with a brush that is just as good, fast drying when you are in mass tying mode
     
  7. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    Hell, i went in and picked up some clear Sally Hansons while I was wearing a stocking cap with an "All About the Fly" logo on it and the redneck gal behind the counter (who's never heard of that fly shop) smiled at me like she thought I was gay or something. :rofl: I told her I used it on the heads of my flies, and she said, "O.K....whatever blows yer skirt up." I should have bought it in the next county. Damn! good stuff, works great.

    I'm going to get some softex.
     
  8. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Is that pretty standard with most of you? Holding lead wraps in place via some kind of glue\cement?

    I find that a thin base layer of thread under and then over works better for me. Thoughts?
     
  9. Jeff Hale

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

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    I agree with Chad, I wrap the hell out of mine with thread. But, i think applying a layer of cement on top of the lead and thread wraps would even make it stronger.
     
  10. FT

    FT Active Member

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    A layer of loose, open thread wraps followed by wrapping the lead wire and then putting loose, open thread wraps over the lead with glue applied last will hold them in place with a lot less hassle and a lot less thread.

    If you want to hold lead wire without first putting open spiral thread wraps as a base under the lead wire, you will need to glue the lead wire in place with super glue, or it will turn around the hook.
     
  11. slippery_whippet

    slippery_whippet Member

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    You da man Jimbo!
     
  12. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Interesting - I seem to be able to keep the lead in place just fine with only loose thread wraps above and below.

    I also add lead wraps to bare hooks at times and have no problem with it slipping as long as I grab both tag ends and keep the tenstion tight the whole time.

    Glue just manages to get on my thread, fur, feathers, etc, smells, and makes me put down one tool to pick up the glue and adds just more steps. But again, that's just me. We all have our own way of doing things...
     
  13. tahuyamg

    tahuyamg tahuyamg

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    Sally Hanson for me as well. When I fist buy it I cut off about half of the bristles and then cut a 30 degree angle on the brush...
     
  14. Jesse

    Jesse Member

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    Toluene will thin Sally Hanson. It can also be used to thin Goop E6000 adhesive which rresults in an inexpensive flexament substitute.
     
  15. nb_ken

    nb_ken Active Member

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    I'm not sure I have a favorite. I started with Dave's, so that's what I use. I've been tying for about 10 years and I think I'm on my second bottle. I do have to add thinner periodically, so I'm on my second bottle of that too.

    I use head cement mainly to lock thread in place and I use it sparingly. I don't ever photograph or display my flies in any way, and the fish don't seem to mind that they don't have a hard, shiny head. So I use the flexible stuff so I can apply it with a bodkin and not get it on my dubbing or feathers.

    Another reason I use flexible cement is that I tie and fish dry trout flies probably 70% of the time. And any more, I tie pretty much all my dries parachute style with a synthetic wing post. I use head cement to reinforce the wrap of hackle around the post. I also run a bodkin with a drop of cement through the wing post as well. This gives the synthetic a little more stiffness. In my experience, synthetic posts tend to bunch up a little bit after you fish with them for a while. A little cement combed through helps that.

    But, I don't want things hard-as-hull stiff. Other than Dave's are there any other good flexible cements out there that I can apply with a bodkin?

    I've seen Softex, but I've never used it. Just looked it up and it says you're supposed to dip the head in the stuff. Is that correct? Hmmm? Can you use it with a bodkin? How does that compare to Dave's?

    I'm not looking to brew my own. I've heard you can cut Shoe Goo with toluene for a fraction of the cost per volume. But a 5-year supply of Flexament + Thinner runs $5. That's a buck a year. I can afford that.