Keeping the Head Small

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Jim Darden, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Jim Darden

    Jim Darden Active Member

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    OK guys, this is not about containing my ego.....I am always torn about the conflict beween keeping the size of the head small and making sure I have enough wraps on the head to make sure I don't lose the wing material when fishing the fly. I've tried reversing the wing and bending it back over the tie in point but can't get it to look right. Don't have any other ideas. Any tips from you "artists" out there would be appreciated!
     
  2. Big E

    Big E Moderator Staff Member

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    Tie it in normally but leave it long, bend back and tie in again.
     
  3. S Fontinalis

    S Fontinalis Active Member

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    Cobblers wax. it will hold the materials with minimum wraps. use 5 wraps to get the material s secure them buildthe head.
     
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  4. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Untwist your thread which will cause the turns to lay flat.
     
  5. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    Combine the last two suggestions and you've got it made. Flatten your thread and use a good thread wax (not dubbing wax) .

    TC
     
  6. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Then too, there is always the strategic placement of a wee dab of crazy glue.
     
  7. Jamie Wilson

    Jamie Wilson Active Member

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    Does all thread flatten? Seems some of mine flattens well but other not so much. Also - when do
    you apply the wax?
    Thanks
     
  8. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Any threads I have used will flatten. There maybe some that don't???? Mostly now I use UNI products.
    As you are making turns of thread on your hook, assuming you are a right hand tier wrapping in a clockwise direction, your thread will twist and tighten and in doing so become a larger diameter. So, occasionally, you spin your bobbin in a counter clockwise direction to counter the twist and flatten the thread. This flattened thread builds less bulk and is especially important in the head area where we don't always want bulk and will help build the elusive to some small, neat head. As far as waxing and when to: Most of the threads I use are pre waxed. I guess they run it through a thin liquid wax bath during the manufacturing process. I apply additional wax at certain stages of tying to add a little better gripping power to the thread. Usually, I might apply the wax when tying in winging material to get an added bite. Often the wax is applied in the head area when finishing a fly. You may want to experiment a little with the thread flattening. Take a black hook and wrap it with your white thread (or some other good contrast of colors - whatever hook or thread you have). Look at the wraps - you may need a magnifier glass - then, spin your bobbin and wrap some more. You will see the difference and how the thread flattens. Hope this helps Jamie.
    Jack
    NOTE: SPINNING THE BOBBIN. Depending which way you look at it determines whether clockwise or counter (anti) clockwise. Looking down on the hanging bobbin you would spin counter clockwise.
    If you were looking up at the bottom of the hanging bobbin the direction would be clockwise.
    Tomato, tomato.
     
  9. Jamie Wilson

    Jamie Wilson Active Member

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    Sweet. Tonight I will give this a go!
    Not dubbing wax correct?
     
  10. Jamie Wilson

    Jamie Wilson Active Member

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    I actually have another question. Do you have a 'rule of thumb' when determining the size of the thread you choose to use?
    Thanks in advance
     
  11. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

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    Not a dubbing wax. Just a regular thread wax. Plenty of brand choices out there. Just a simple beeswax disc from ACE hardware would be ok. Some guys use wax some don't.
    As far as thread sizes go? I've simplified my tying life: 8/0 for small flies (trout flies) Atlantic Salmon flies, Spey) , 6/0 for medium to large size flies (Salmon/steelhead?) , and 3/0 for big stuff (big salt water??). I try and use 8/0 as much as possible. Some guys get more particular and talk in deniers. Some brands are specified in deniers. I can't help you there. So many good threads available. Maybe some one else might chime in and be more specific. If you want a good example of when to wax, I think Davie McPhail's you-tubes would be good to look at. Perhaps you already have.
    NOTE: Every once and a while, I'll use a spool of factory waxed thread and it is obviously very "dry"or I may have a spool that is unwaxed. Both will slip on the hook. So, then, there are times when I might pre-wax a good length of the thread as I begin tying. Some tiers prefer unwaxed threads. It's what make horse racing.
    Jack
     
  12. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    Another trick when tying hairwings is to tye the wing in first followed by the collar. Most Atlantic salmon style flies are tyed this way. Also you can try tying in half the wing, then the collar and finally the last half of the wing.
     
  13. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

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    Tim Cottage: Could you explain "thread wax" that is not "dubbing wax"?

    Jim: I'm not sure how Syd Glasso tied his micro-heads, but the best way I know is to trim the wing butt to exact length; tie in with two or three thread wraps, leaving a smidgen of butt exposed; then pull that exposed bit under the last wrap; add a whip finish. That works for a display fly. For a fishing fly with a small head, after pulling the butt ends under, add a bit of penetrating glue or cement; let it dry; then whip-finish and coat the head.
     
  14. Jamie Wilson

    Jamie Wilson Active Member

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    Man o man
    I've gotta a lot to learn here!
     
  15. Jim Darden

    Jim Darden Active Member

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    Thanks for all the good suggestions, I'll give them a try. Never thought about the wax angle, have used a drop of super glue but it some times fouls up my whip finish if I don't wait long enough for it to dry. I like the collar idea with the split wing and will give it a try......