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carpflyguy

Superglue as Head Cement?

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Your thoughts on superglue as an alternative to head cement? I know for the price of one small jar of cement at my local fly shop, I can get 50 tubes of superglue at Walmart, which hold a decent amount more.

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I use it to make sure my half hitches or whip finishes don't go anywhere. If you're looking for nice glossy head I'm not sure superglue will produce one. These days I just add a bit of UV resin over the super glue to make it glossy.

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So long as you don't use it in place of a good whip finish. Learning a good finish means a fly that doesn't require any glue at all. For my own boxes I rarely varnish the heads.

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I don't know what Walmart has but something like Zap A Gap or my wife has a fake nail super glue that is gap filling tends to be what I use in flies, if to use any at all. The gap filling super glue I find to work better with stems and threads etc. Good as under body glue as you wrap in what ever. As head cement I have tried it. If you want that nice head look it doesn't produce that but it holds. I actually prefer to add the super glue before the whip finish or half hitches.

 

But ya know really that look goes just about as well if a fly is properly tied off with a 5-7 turn whip and no cement. I've tied many a fly with not cement, I do 4-5 wraps on the whip and follow with three more. They never fell apart. if I need some flies and it's 4 am, I know a hatch is going to be on or I know a smelt pattern is going to be working later that morning or maybe in an hour. I'll tie myself 4 flies and head to the river. I don't have for cement and I don't need the stink of drying cement on them either.

 

On another note, I kind of like UV resins. We spend perhaps thousands of dollars in this hobby, what's the difference if to spend $10 for a bottle of UV vs $3 on head cement or super glue but the looks of the fly ? Must be a principal matter. Well the principal is enjoyment !

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A good whip finish with waxed thread! Varnish gives a nice gloss finish but for small dries I only give the thread a run through some cobblers wax and whip finish! Superglue is good for salmon flies but I prefer using a good water based head cement, dries quickly and you don't have to keep adding thinners to it to get it to the right consistency.

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Super glus for binding stuff is great, head cement can be expensive start to dry out and get clumpy. The amount you get IMO it isnt worth the price. I was turned onto Sally Hansens Hard As Nails. $ 2.50 at walmart. it works great and makes the heads shiny and smooth. One btl will do you a long time and its dirt cheap.

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A good whip finish with waxed thread! Varnish gives a nice gloss finish but for small dries I only give the thread a run through some cobblers wax and whip finish! Superglue is good for salmon flies but I prefer using a good water based head cement, dries quickly and you don't have to keep adding thinners to it to get it to the right consistency.

In my dries I have come to follow Davie McPhails example on waxing the thread and very typically using 8/0 Uni. He usually uses a drop of head cement as well, which I may or may not do. Like you I find the waxed thread binds down really tight even with just a three turn whip. The whole process of tying dries for me has gone better with waxing the thread, everything seems to fall in place and hold. Spinning deer hair is perhaps the only place I don't use wax when tying dry flies..

 

On another note, that 8/0 Uni is tough, it's tougher than some other brands of 6/0 in my experience.

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THe main thing I was concerned with was that it might have a scent that would put off fish. Fishermen are always saying,"don't get bug spray or sun screen on your flies/lures", so I figured superglue might be worse than head cement in this aspect.

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+1 on the hard as nails.....also crazy glue now comes in bottle with brush for big glue jobs like popper corks.... Don't dry out like da tubes $2.50. Both got lil brushes although for heads use bodkin to do drops on lil heads....still use 5 min epoxy on streamers w/ big eyes...uv lite, price, build up problem, tackyness has kept me from that stuff....

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THe main thing I was concerned with was that it might have a scent that would put off fish. Fishermen are always saying,"don't get bug spray or sun screen on your flies/lures", so I figured superglue might be worse than head cement in this aspect.

It stinks most when it cures, you could even see a little puff of fumes come off, don't inhale that. I have had no more fish turn away from super glued flies than any other. Actually, I don't know if the product has changed any but the smelliest stuff used to be the Sally's.. But that was many moons ago I used that or the super glue for that matter ( in heads that is). I still use super glue in under body materials now and then. Build further wraps of materials on the wet super glue. Makes a tough fly.

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I use it in place of a whip finish on parachute flies. Orient the thread so it is ready to wrap around the post, put a drop on the thread and bury wraps around the post (below the hackle). With two or three wraps placed on top of the superglue I've never had a parachute fly unravel on me, even after catching many fish with it. For parachute flies I find it easier than whip finishing around the post or behind the eye.

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I use all of the above. Water based fabric cement is good stuff. I often water it down. Sally Hansons. I use thin and thick CA glue. I buy 24 guage and 18 guage PTFE tubing off the internet (TEFLON tubing). Cut the top off the super glue bottle. Run a length of PTFE tubing all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. Caulk in place with a hot melt glue gun.

 

Now you have a "wash bottle" dispenser for super glue. You don't tip the bottle you squeeze it. You can watch the glue rise up the tube, so you can release pressure at the last moment, which allows pin-point application of micro-dots

of superglue. When you completely release pressure the glue all gets sucked back down the tube. So it seldom clogs up. Works for months at a time.

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I think over a long period of time, under water, superglue might be soluble in water. Use the regular head cement on small stuff, experimenting also with nail polish - kinda like it. Have also used epoxy and a rotary drier on some of the big stuff.

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One thing I didn't see mentioned, ( if it was I missed it) be careful with thinner super glues as they have a tendency to wick into materials. I don't use it as a head cement but certainly use it sometimes in fly construction. I have had this wicking issue a few times & ruined a few flies in the process.

 

I agree with what the others have said about learning a whip finish knot. Tied properly, for small flies in particular like dry flies, cement really isn't needed with a proper whip finish knot. Because I tie mostly bigger stuff, and there can be a need for abrasion resistance I use either Sally Hansen or epoxy on the heads of my flies, even if I've added a drop of super glue in the tying process.

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One thing I didn't see mentioned, ( if it was I missed it) be careful with thinner super glues as they have a tendency to wick into materials. I don't use it as a head cement but certainly use it sometimes in fly construction. I have had this wicking issue a few times & ruined a few flies in the process.

 

I agree with what the others have said about learning a whip finish knot. Tied properly, for small flies in particular like dry flies, cement really isn't needed with a proper whip finish knot. Because I tie mostly bigger stuff, and there can be a need for abrasion resistance I use either Sally Hansen or epoxy on the heads of my flies, even if I've added a drop of super glue in the tying process.

I agree with the thin super glue wicking. It's why I don't use it. For those who do, use sparingly while you get a feel for how it works. In some cases/circumstances it may be that you want some wicking. I to not want that and use the thicker stuff if at all.

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