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Thomas Schreiber

What tools do You use?

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What kind of tools do you regular use (not including your vise)?


I use the ones in the pictures mostly, but I can see that I forgot my dubbing twister and my "magic" tools, ups rolleyes.gif I use both the one from Petitjean and the one from Vosseler


The smaller scissor I use for everything and the larger ONLY when using my magic tools. This way I can easily and accurately cut a long strip of CDC not worrying about dull scissors due to cutting in copperwire or similar.


For all my dries and nymphs I use the bobbinholder with the black bobbin. It's loaded with Danville's Spiderweb, and I never use anything else. If I tie black/dark patterns, I just mark the thread with a pen in matching color. That way I only have to carry one roll of thread. The white thread never shows through the dubbing anyway. The CF bobbinholder also has a roll of Spiderweb on it, but I very rarely use that bobbinholder after I got the Matarelli Midge. The TMC bobbinholder is for everything saltwater and the smaller one on far right is loaded with GSP in the rare occasions I use this stuff (mostly extended bodies etc.).


Across the bottom you can see my dubbing teaser. It's just a piece of stainless steel with some male velcro glued on to it. I've never seen a commercially available dubbing teaser that works as good as the one a friend of mine made for me.


The TMC dubbing needle is self explanatory and the CF hackle pliers on the top left are the best I've ever used - period biggrin.png




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- Several different type scissors, Marc Petitjean (MP), Dr. Slick etc.

- MP whip finisher

- MP dubbing twister tool

- Dubbing needle

- Tweezers

- Combs of different size & material

- Tube Fly needles

- Hackle pliers, MP, Stonfo

- Cigarette lighter

- Hair stacker, Dr. Slick and some generic model

- Dubbing brush tool

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I've use fly tying scissors x 3

Big pair of scissors for sutting wire etc

Thompson whip finisher (which also doubles as a dubbing twister atm)

No name bobbin holder

No name bodkin

Flea comb for brushing out materials

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2 bodkins


4 pairs of scissors


round-nosed pliers


Needle-nosed pliers


flat-jawed pliers


wire cutters


flush cutters


9 or 10 bobbins


numerous files


emery boards




paint brushes


wooden dowels


homemade epoxy tools


flea comb




drying wheel


utility knives


razor blades


cigarette lighters


drinking straws


dubbing twister


alligator clips






EZ Mini-hook (hackle pliers)


hair stacker


box of needles


I've probably left something out, but that's pretty much what's within an arm's length of my vise. I don't even want to think about what's out in the shop - foam cutters, heat gun, turning spindles, electric drill, Dremel with about a million attachments, rotisserie drier, pliers, knives, on and on and on and on. My head hurts just thinking about it. Jeez, do you suppose I might be in this a little too deep? ................Nah.

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Dr. Slicks:

Razor scissors

Micro tip scissors

Arrow scissors (wire scissors)

Brass hair stackers (all sizes)

Bobbin threader


Rite Bobbin


Whip finisher is generic


I have a set of Green Caddis Outfitters tungsten razor scissors.


A million different types of hackle pliers (mostly use my fingers though!)

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Oh sh*t, forgot that I found LAW Ceramiscrape today from my favorite dealer, what a lucky day...was last on stock got it cheap.

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tiemco ceramic bobbin holders


petitjean bobbin holder


box cutter


dr slick scissors


fiskar scissors


no name brand half hitch tools


generic bodkin

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#1 -- bobbins (currently I have 14 threaded)

#2 -- Dr. Slick Isis (curved 4") scissors. Could send a picture of the dozen pair I don't use, but that's not what you asked.

#3 -- bodkin with half hitch tool on the other end (used more than hands or whip finisher)

#4 -- whip finisher (Matarelli style) for situations when half hitch tool won't work

#5 -- magnets (to tired years back losing things so I now have a dozen bar magnets glued around my tying table.

#6 -- hackle pliers (different types for different applications)

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I try to keep the tools on the bench to a minimum or I loose track of them.

1) Sixth finger scissors

2) smooth jaw barb pliers

3) no-name hackle pliers

4) bull dog artery clamp (best hackle pliers/third hand I've found)

5) homemade bamboo bodkin

6) Nor-Vise auto bobbin

7) home made bobbin threader (brass post from a kit threader and maxima mono)

8) piece of bamboo skewer with velcro on the tip (dubbing picker/eye clearer/varnish remover)

9) serrated tip tweezers

10) Ott light (probably the best tool I own)

Everything else like dubbing spinner, hair stackers, hackle gauge, extra bobbins, etc stay in drawers unless I need them for the pattern I am tying

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As I tie a fair amount my use of tools can be divided into several layers. The first line tools that I would always want to hand. Second line tools are used a lot. Third line are the ones I use but not as often as others, but find essential when I need them.

1st line

Bobbin holder. I've three kinds. The smallest TMC, a small Griffin, and a small Matterreli.

Dubbing needle (bodkin) Usually there are two on my table. One is a Marriott, used for general work and applying varnish, The other is one made from a sewing machine needle, used for splitting thread.

Hackle pliers. I've lots of these, but the ones I find essential are the smallest pair of English style pliers I could find. They are hardly ever used for winding hackle! Essential for lots of other jobs though. (Something I teach is that if you hand your fly to someone it is good manors to put it into something to hold it. Hooks are sharp, and it is much nicer to have a handle.)

Scissors. Hmm I view scissors as consumable. I can't afford ones of high enough quallity to be sharpened more than a few times. So I buy cheap and often. High quality scissors are hugly expensive, hundreds if not thousands of pounds, ask a hairdresser.

A good daylight balanced light. Currently an Ott Lite.

UV Lazer for curing UV cure resin

That covers tools for about 70% of my tying. Keeping the number of tools down makes tying faster. (An important consideration for some of us, but of no consequence to many)

2nd line

Hair stacker, A big one.

Comb for removing under fur.

Marriatt CdC Tool (3 needles in a handle for rolling up a CdC feather along its shaft).

Tweezers (forceps) Handy at times, but used more for "gardening" prior to photographing a fly.

MP Magic Tool

Bead Nabbers.

Dubbing Whirl one of the simple ones with two arms

Hackle pliers Various other ones Long nosed ones for using as s dubbing whirl when my dubbing whirl would be too heavy. Hackle nabbers, for their grip.

Electrical Probe Clips. To hold flies for display at demos or drying. (Not used since the advent of UV resin.)

Coffee grinder for mixing and softening dubbing.

Beading needle for detached foam bodies.

3rd Line

Small wire cutters.

Small pliers with smooth faces (available from Lapidary equipment suppliers).

Gas lighter.

Battery drill with a cup hook in the chuck. For twisting up lengths of copper wire for stock.

Razor blades.

Small wire bending pliers.

Brush for dubbing.

Poly Parachute Tool A 1/8" steel bar set into a handle. Used for heat forming poly yarn into parachute hackles.

Hackle tamer. A tube with an elastic band pulled through it. Used to hold the hackle back while forming the head on flies on treble hooks. Saves your fingers.

Latched knitting machine needle for tying knots in PT and other fibres for legs.

I think that is about it. Quite a long list. It was a good exercise to go through it all.

Its not really a tool but good quality unscented hand cream is something to have to hand and use frequently. I trained as a heavy mechanical engineer, My hands where a mess. Rough hard skin, ingrained oil and other muck. With the use of hand cream, a pumice stone and lots of work they are now fit to be taken out in public. It is worth the effort to get them right. What’s more they don't go soft but more like well tanned fine leather.



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Another thought, it would be interesting to know if you have adapted any of these tools?


My TMC bobbin holders have the black tubes removed and a "bullet" grip made from hot melt glue in its place.




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