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Cody Gould

Cementing Heads

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I don't tie salmon flies, but do tie a lot of big flies, that get abuse from bass & Striped Bass. I use epoxy on them, or clear "Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails" nail polish on smaller flies. The nail polish, and that particular brand, is as good as any head cement I've ever used, and I've tried many of them. A couple of coats makes a very durable head. It's also readily available, so no need to order it. Most of the big box stores carry it, and I'm sure there are many smaller stores that have it as well. Many tiers use it! :)

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Not my idea -- Richard Strolis does it on his videos a lot -- and it makes sense to me. While the thread is still dangling prior to the whip finish, saturate the portion right against the head with Hanson's or liquid super glue. When you use your whip finisher, the inner parts of the knot are going to stay put. I'd still overcoat the knot with Hard as Nails for further protection from the toothy critters.

 

Rocco

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Davie McPhail does this to some of his flies( if Davie does it it has to be a good idea), he first puts a coat of super glue and after it dries he ads his "varnish". The super glue fills in any gaps in the head and cements it together then the "varnish" gives a nice smooth finish...I started doing it after hearing him say his reasoning in a vid on you tube...I like the results a lot! :D

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Davie McPhail does this to some of his flies( if Davie does it it has to be a good idea), he first puts a coat of super glue and after it dries he ads his "varnish". The super glue fills in any gaps in the head and cements it together then the "varnish" gives a nice smooth finish...I started doing it after hearing him say his reasoning in a vid on you tube...I like the results a lot! :D

I have learned alot from his videos and i have used that technique before just havent fished it yet.

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loon hard head clear is a great non toxic thing to use when you want something thicker than head cement so it will be more durable, but don't want to deal with an epoxy.

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Davie McPhail does this to some of his flies( if Davie does it it has to be a good idea), he first puts a coat of super glue and after it dries he ads his "varnish". The super glue fills in any gaps in the head and cements it together then the "varnish" gives a nice smooth finish...I started doing it after hearing him say his reasoning in a vid on you tube...I like the results a lot! :D

 

I have to agree with you. If using super glue, Krazy glue, etc.. on the whip finishes, coat with head cement or Hard as nails and it will make a very nice head and will be quite durable. One thing to remember is when doing this process, it is better (in my opinion) to let the glue coats dry all the way for a while. This will ensure that the threads have been saturated, bonded, and all the cracks are sealed up. In other words the head cement or Hard as nails sets on top of the finished glue product instead of soaking into them. The head will be durable, smooth and shiny.

 

Other than the head, I have found, with Davie, I adopted the method of using half hitches every so often in the tie process and the use of glue on underbodys which helps to reinforce the materials. I will not mention any shop names, but I have bought a few flie and caught 2 small rainbows and the flie comes apart. On further inspection I have found that there were no half hitches, glue or anything to help stabilize the materials used. Although the flies do not cost alot, it is the hassle of dealing with flies that come unravled during a fishing trip that is a pain. Thanks

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Head cement.... isn't.

 

Instead I use super glue (Krazy Glue in particular since I like the hard plastic applicator)but very sparingly. I separate gluing from finishing since they're two different operations and I use more than one finish on the thread after using the Krazy Glue....

 

Since I'm a salt water tyer (and a small fly for me is a #4, the smallest only a #6) this might not work as well for freshwater tyers. After starting a fly, I touch just a trace of super glue on an initial "anchor point" (that anchor point might be after one or as many as three materials for the tail of a fly, but before any materials for the body have been added). The technique I use to keep the glue to a minimum is to squeeze out the beginnings of a drop of glue before putting the tip of the applicator anywhere near the materials, then just barely touch them with the tip. That seems to keep the glue to the absolute minimum (super glue will cause you problems in nearby materials by capillary action (the stuff is drawn up into nearby materials if there's the slightest excess). The second and last time I use super glue is on the head of any fly, or the wraps on any bucktail jig.... In this case I use the applicator as a tiny paint brush and just wet the thread (once again, keeping the glue to as little as possible. There's an additional advantage to doing this if you plan on paintiing eyes on a fly.... the super glue seals up the thread perfectly so any paint you use later isn't absorbed into the thread.... By the way, for flies my anglers will use, I many times just skip using any finish at all -preferring to just use the minimum amount of super glue..... The fish don't seem to complain at all, but I must admit they're not nearly as eye catching as what I deliver to the shop (in that case I'm trying to catch a fisherman....). Here's a few pics, the first is a Sand Devil tarpon fly (one of my signature patterns over the years). The head was super glued, allowed to dry, then the eyes were painted on, and when dry the entire head got a thin finish of FlexCoat (a rodbuilder's finish). The next bug is a guide's fly the Whitewater Clouser - it only gets a bit of super glue on the head - nothing else. Last is an assortment of the bucktails I make - every one has the tying thread (flat waxed nylon from Danville) super glued for extreme durability. Fish can chew off the tail - but the tail never comes apart the way many jigs fail, in use. Hope this helps.

 

Tight Lines

Bob LeMay

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Completely agree with Cap but a side note: crazy glue also has a brush applicator with a wide opening on the bottle in addition to the tip applicator type. I use the brush for my larger flies and a needle to apply on size 18 or smaller. Another product worth mentioning is Loctite, specifically the "gel control". Helps if you are having problems with wicking and great for setting eyes as it buys you time to make sure everything is level and centered.

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I'm also strictly a saltwater tyer these days, and I use Dave's Flexament as a construction cement and Sally Hansen Hard As Nails With Nylon as a head cement. A lot of my friends use superglue, but I've never really warmed up to the stuff. I glue EVERYTHING down with liberal amounts of Flexament, even the head. Once the head dries, I apply two or three coats of Sally Hansen. My flies rarely fall apart, even with all the rocks and bluefish, etc. If you're not using epoxy, Sally Hansen is as good as it gets. I suspect your trouble is more a case of not using construction cement rather that what you're using on the heads.

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I was taking a razor to some reject flies and it seemed to me that materials glued with Sally's were more difficult to cut off.

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