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About Ephemerella

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  • Birthday 12/16/1957

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    Southern New Hampshire
  1. To avoid permanent exile from the kitchen and eternal scorn from "she who must be obeyed" I recommend you dye outside. Use a camping stove, get an old soup pot from the discount store, a plastic bowl, along with your own set of measuring cups and measuring spoons, a candy thermometer, a spoon, and some rubber or vinyl gloves. Do your dyeing outside. You'll need Jacquard acid dyes, available on the internet - they are usually used to dye wool, but chemically bind to any protein like feathers - or your skin - hence the need for gloves. Do NOT use dyes for cotton or polyester - they will NOT bind to the feathers and will rinse out. And you'll need Synthrapol or Dawn detergent, and white vinegar. Wash the material to be dyed in hot water with a few drops of the detergent and let soak for 30 minutes, then rinse and keep submerged in warm water. Squirrel is a bit tricky since it is a smooth fiber, and will initially resist dye. Meanwhile heat up 4-6 cups of water to 160F/70C in the pot on the burner. Put on the gloves. Add dye to the hot water, roughly 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon using a dry measuring spoon. Stir the dye into the water until dissolved. Adjust the heat to keep the dye solution at or just below 160F/70C, although olives and black can dye at lower temperatures. Other colors won't take or end up with undesired shades. Stir in tiny drop of detergent. Now take the material to be dyed and slip it into the hot dye solution, and keep stirring. After a minute or two, you can add 1/4 cup vinegar to the solution. Keep stirring. The dye will begin to bind to the feathers. Keep checking for the desired shade, maybe a little darker. Takes between 3 and 15 minutes, depending on color (hue) and desired color saturation. Remove the material when done and rinse in cold water. Let the material dry. Material can be dried with a hair dryer on medium (not high) heat, but the skin will be wet for several days. Dry on newspaper or paper towels. Package in separate plastic bags when thoroughly dry. If you want brighter colors on squirrel, you'll need to pre-bleach the tails. That is something I have never done, but in general you use hair bleach from the beauty section (you've already been seen lurking there for Hard-As-Nails, cuticle scissors, eyelash brushes, and black nail polish ). Good luck!
  2. looks good, but slow as molasses...
  3. Let me add to Flytire's excellent tip - BTW this method is how Carrie Stevens tied her streamers. 1) With Carrie Stevens patterns the material is not all tied in at the head. End the body, say 1/2" from the eye on a size #6 hook. Tie on underbelly of deer hair. Tie on peacock herl underwing forward of that. Tie on throat forward of that - leaving room for the head. So each material has its own tie in spot, never bunching up. This avoids the bunched materials interfering with the wing feathers. 2) Ensure the thread base you will be tying the feather stems on to is smooth and tapered. Do this by untwisting thread (work's with Danville 6/0 - 70 denier) to get a flat ribbon and carefully build up the thread over the butts of the throat. 3) Use tying wax, not dubbing wax, on the thread used to tie down the wing feathers. Tying wax available from John McLain (feathersmc.com) and a small piece lasts a lifetime. It is 70% rosin 20% beeswax, 10% castor or olive oil -formulas vary. It is the superglue of the 1880s - used to tie Classic Atlantic Salmon flies. With thread pressure it softens, and releasing pressure, it hardens like a rock. And unlike superglue, it can be unwrapped with a little effort. 4) Tie on each side wing assemblies using only 3 wraps each, advancing thread in adjacent wraps towards the eye on each side. Ensure you hold the wing feathers in place. Wrap once only, back to the first wrap of the first wing. Now tie on the other side - not too much thread tension or you'll roll the feathers. 5) At this point, stop, remove your left hand from the wing feathers and inspect. Ensure symmetrical and feathers are at the position you want. Undo and re-tie as needed. Once you move to the next step, there's no going back. (dramatic music goes here...) 6) Flatten the thread, and coat with tying wax. Hold on the wing with your left hand. Tie on, wrapping forward with reasonable tension. Once you get to 3/4 of the way forward, clip the wing butts. Finish the wrapping the head, keeping the thread untwisted, building up the shape you want, forward and back, smoothly with no thread lumps. 7) add a drop or two of medium-thin cement. 8) For a presentation finish, apply Sally Hansen Hard-as-Nails, 1 coat every 12 hours for 4-5 coats.
  4. Vinegar might do the trick - the dye should be acid dye for feathers - if insufficient acid added the dye will bleed. If it still bleeds in cold water, I suspect the dye was not an acid dye so will only weakly bind to the feathers.
  5. And to add to the confusion, in addition to denier (weight) and the ought system (diameter from same manufacturer), the construction of the threads differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and from thread type within the same manufacturer. For example Danville is spun (twisted) nylon, which can be un-twisted, to get a flatter lay of the thread, but is consequently weaker. Other manufacturers use bonded polyester, where the strands are twisted, like Danville, but then bonded (I'm guessing using heat) so the thread cannot untwist. That thread construction is a little stronger, but can never be untwisted to get flattened. And then there are the various gel-spun products and Kevlar... Perhaps buying a few spools of each kind of thread (really they're only a buck or two) and find what you like for each purpose. You may find you like one size and construction for one purpose, but another for a different fly. Thread preferences are a bit like religion or politics - you understand and like yours, but that of the other people remains a mystery... -Peter
  6. Possibly Estaz in the Grande size?
  7. Just be aware generic head cement is not nail polish, or one of its minor variants, but simple lacquer. Generally bought in multi-gallon containers and repackaged in 1 oz (29ml) glass jars, and the fly shop's label added. A job for the junior member of the fly shop staff. As with the other cements, it suffers from solvent evaporation. Use lacquer thinner from the hardware store to thin. I have a small squeeze container of head cement that has been re-thinned for several years. After 6-7 years of re-thinning, the cement got cloudy and I discarded it -probably from water absorbtion by alcohols in the thinner. A 1 qt can (about 0.9 liters) of lacquer thinner should last a lifetime. Also do not decant the thinner into smaller bottles near open flames (oil burners, wood stoves, gas stoves) since its vapors travel quickly and are explosive. For Fleximent, lots of articles on its ingredients and solvents, but rather than play amateur chemist, I just buy its solvent. The outrageous sum of $4 for an ounce every 2 years or so isn't what puts me in the poorhouse.
  8. I've been tying at shows for 5-6 years now. It's fun. Drop by and see me if you're in the Northeast at any of "The Fly Fishing Show" venues. A few tips for show tyers: Prepare: -Extension cord and power strip with your name on them -Make a list, check it twice. Don't forget your vise and lamp... (it happens...) -Bring example flies, even in a frame or on some sort of 3D display -Drill a block of wood and insert test clips (Radio Shack or other electronics supplier) to hold completed flies up off the table - some folks use alligator clips on stiff wire mounted on blocks -Some sort of holder for tools - you really can't leave them lying on the tying table - they roll off and get lost -Business cards from Overnight Prints or Vista Print -Business card holder ($4 at Staples) -Small notebook and a pen At the show: -Be friendly - ask folks if they tie - tell them something interesting about the fly you are tying - ask them where they fish and with what flies...your interest in show guests gets rewarded with their attention to you ... and maybe a sale. -Show them a tip they won't get in a book - anything from hand tied whip finish, to cobbler's wax, to thread control to tie in tails or whatever -Brush your teeth and use mouthwash, and wash your hands, clip your nails, and use deodorant... just saying... -Keep food off the table - nothing worse than ham and cheese and marabou sandwich -Tell them to enjoy the show -Little kids love peacock tail eye plumes ( like after you have harvested the herls ) - hand them out and their parents or grandparents will stay at your booth -Take a break every few hours and enjoy the other tyers and vendors - just leave a card in your vise that you'll be right back. -Tell the show manager how much you enjoyed tying, and leave him/her a few flies for fishing, or a presentation fly for framing. -Relax and enjoy the show - YOU are the show.
  9. Lightweight-medium weight polypro long underwear (Walmart, or if not available in the South, get some at walmart.com). Layer over these with polyester fleece lounge pants (hipster pajamas) (in the Northeast these are available at Ocean State Job Lots for about $8). Be sure they are polyester not cotton. Wear wool or acrylic heavy socks and you can stand around all day in your waders in the cold. No cotton except maybe your undershorts. All moisture needs to wick out, driven by body heat, or you get cold. Also a fleece vest or sweater to keep your core warm, and a winter hat (wool or acrylic), since most heat leaves via the head, especially if you are follicly challenged like me. Personally I wear old-school neoprene waders in the early spring and late fall, but probably not worth the investment in the South.
  10. Vendors mostly take both, tyers generally cash only. There is an ATM in the lobby of the venue. The symposium is mostly tyers and a few materials vendors - especially Salmon fly and other hard-to-find quality materials. The Fly Fishing Shows in January through March are mostly vendors, guides, and fewer tyers. This show is large but you'll have plenty of time to talk with tyers and learn various tying tips - everything from one-minute trout flies to classic Atlantic Salmon flies and everything in-between. Drop by, I'll be tying Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. -Peter Simonson
  11. Use standard 70 Denier (6/0) Danville waxed thread. The flat waxed 140 Denier thread is really not spun tightly, in fact it is almost flat- Most useful for building up bodies on streamers or wet flies, but not really good for general tying. The 6/0 thread is strands of nylon, spun into a rope. On the spool it is already spun. The 140 Denier flat waxed on the spool is not really spun tightly.Once you use the standard 6/0 thread, you should be wrapping clockwise (facing the eye) so the wrap goes away from you on the top of the hook shank, and towards you underneath. Now with the 6/0 thread, if you want it to be flat, such as for tying on tails on #18 dry flies, you can untwist the thread, by twirling the bobbin counter clockwise (looking form the top) until the thread is flat. Likewise, you can twist it to be a little more ropelike with a round profile for other applications. Good luck!
  12. Antique flat silver tinsel IS silver - really silver plated brass. I have several spools of it. The outer layers on the spool tarnish, but the inner layers are as shiny as the day it was spooled - the outer layers keep the air and airborne sulfur away from it. The gold tinsel is brass. The tinsel I have comes in different weights as well as widths, for example the thin stuff is very flexible but fragile, while the wider stuff is fairly stiff. As others have pointed out it can weight a fly quite a bit, will withstand years of fish bites, but can easily cut the thread, especially when counter wound. Some tinsel is varnished - the old French stuff is labeled "vernie" which means varnished. Today you can find Lagurtun's which is varnished and ridiculously priced at about $7/spool. If you are lucky you can find some varnished UTC flat metal tinsel, no longer generally available - years ago I found some at a Midwest bass fishing store. For those in the Northeast US, try Tinsel Trading Co. in NYC. Years ago they came to the International Fly Tying Symposium and were selling spool ends of antique French tinsel for crazy low prices -I bought all sorts of tinsel, including flats, ovals, "twist" (round also called thread), and lace (3 strands of twist wrapped together) of various sizes and colors, and patterns. -Peter
  13. NHPTV. A series on the outdoors in NH, and surrounding New England states. Low key, mostly natural sounds, except the explorer/narrator Willem Lange. A few fly fishing adventures on local streams and ponds. And camping, hiking, canoeing. www.nhptv.org/windows/episodes.asp also can watch on your computer video.nhptv.org/program/windows-wild/episodes/?page=1 Look at video.nhptv.org/video/1791163890
  14. Simplejack, Your observations and concerns about the slow pace of posting advertisements are valid. Unfortunately, many years ago, before this policy was set up by the moderators, the classified ad section was filled with Viagra and links to malware-install web sites, gibberish political rants, and all sorts of garbage unrelated to fly tying and fly fishing. Apparently, since there is no real qualification to be a forum member other than interest in the subject, all sorts of bozos would open an account and post their malicious or obnoxious ads. Got to the point where any legitimate ad was obscured by all the nonsense. Rather than limiting the membership of the forum, it was decided by the admins to instead manage the classified ads. You may not think so now, but you would NOT be happy if we went back to the "old days" with instant classified ad posting. Have some patience, remember the members here are "qualified leads", that is, they already have an interest in what you are selling -more valuable than trying to sell in a general marketplace. Good luck with your selling. -Peter
  15. After doing all the exercises in the above postings, try putting tails on dry fly hooks. Tie on at the eye end of a dry fly hook, say size 12. Wrap the thread edge to edge back to where the bend of the hook begins. As the folks above indicated, as you do this leave only 1.5 - 2.5 inches of thread from bobbin tip to the hook shank, no more. Now take a bunch of feather fibers, maybe a dozen or so, makes a bundle about 2x the diameter of the hook shank with the thread on it. Holding the little bunch of fibers in your left hand, fingers covering the good tips of the fibers, place the feather fiber bundle at about a 20-30 degree angle to the hook shank, with the butts crossing the shank. For the practice the length of the fibers doesn't matter, but let's say leave about the length of the hook shank to the left of the point where the bundle and the hook shank cross. Now wrap once or twice, towards the eye, and let go of the fibers. They should snap into place, with the thread tension moving them to be in line with the hook shank. Wrap forward covering the butts. Practice this over and over again, adjusting the angle of the feather fibers and your thread tension until you can make the tail fibers snap into alignment every time. You have now mastered step one of thread control, and are ready to venture forth on the dry fly! Enjoy the journey! -Peter
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