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despatiesim

Need some help; advise on making nice small heads?

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Hi all, I've been tying my first spey flies and definetly need to get my heads a bit smaller. This could be said for my hairwings too, but I have better control on those. The patterns I'm tying have a heron collar followed by a silver phesant collar, just before the head. I find I'm bulking up at the end trying to push these collars down more in line with the fly( before the colars I find the size of the head still doing well). I'm thinking to going over to 70 denier or 8/0 thread, but wondering if you would have any advice to help me get this under control?

 

Thanks for any help!

 

Simon

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I don't know the size of your flies first off. But that said, I use 6/0 Danville, though 70 denier UTC is my favorite. And 8/0 Uni may be my least favorite on most average sized streamer flies of say size 4 down. Larger than that I might still use the 6/0 but move to 140 denier UTC if using UTC. On my salt water streamers I use 140 or even heavier and these flies tend to be larger so I might even use Unicord on them for strength. But here is the deal and something I picked up from the pro tyers. Learn to cinch in your materials with 3 to 4 turns of thread and then clean up by wrapping down to the eye and back on each tie in then stop. Do the next material the same way. It isn't always that there is too much bulk but it's uneven and becomes bulbous looking. You need to keep that taper going to the eye. And of course that also requires a nominal tie in point of say a good solid ( generous) eye length behind the eye.

 

Why Danville 6/0 or 70 denier UTC you ask ? Because they are flat threads. The thread spreads over the tie in giving support to the material over a broader area and that web or ribbon of thread, if you will vs string of thread, lays down super thin, doesn't build up quickly at all. UNI on the other hand stays more rounded and builds and cuts into the fiber making them flare more as you add pressure to the wrap.. Don't over think it though, just try it for yourself, LOL. You will see soon enough. Also ( and others are free to disagree) but try just a touch of dubbing wax on your thread to help hold fibers in place when you tie in, you will see that with this type thread what ever the branding and a touch of wax you really can tie down a material with just 3-4 turns of thread, then clean up to the point and back. I will say this though, UTC 70 has a bit more stretch to it and is stronger than Danville 6/0 when pulling on the bobbin, even though Danville 6/0 is really closer to 80 denier than it is to 70. But either will get the job done if you are careful.

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I agree with Dave I would also add that no matter what you are tying try to stay away from a hook eye worth of shank up front until they end! That will help alot

 

So to explain, if all of your materials call to be tied in up front tie them all in a hook eye back instead of right at the eye this give you room to clean up and form a head.

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A point that Joseph or I didn't mention is before that clean up wrap to the eye and back, cut your material at an angle to the hook shank, helping to form the taper. So lay your scissors butt end of the blades at the eye of the hook point angle up slight as they approach the tie in thread and snip the material. Then wrap toward the eye and back and stop. Tie in your next material, snip, clean up etc..

 

Davie McPhail is a master at this, watch some of his tying videos and techniques. He uses various techniques depending on the material being tied in but he always or just about always "Tidies Up" as he puts it.

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Cutting hair at an angle is a must. If you take 5wraps to lock it down, when you're ready with the next step, unwind three of those wraps and then add the next item. Helps to keep the head small.

 

Other than that go for bigger heads and add eyes and say its on purpose...

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Thanks guys, great stuff. I already cut my hair wings at an angle: it really does make a difference. I'm definetly going to have to concentrate on making fewer wraps. I usually put a drop of head cement when tying in the wing, so I shouldn't need that many wraps. I'm also going to have to look into different types of thread. I thought 6/0 was equivalent to 140 denier thread and that they were all round. Things have changed since I used to tie... there are a lot more options now...

 

I 'm wondering maybe I need to change my feather placement when tying it in for wrapping collars? Any clues as best angles so the wraped fibers better align along the fly (which would require less thread wraps to place them back?)?

 

thanks!

Simon

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Simon, here is a whole Yahoo page of McPhail Streamer tying videos, start clicking away you can't go wrong : https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=Davie+McPhail+Tying+Streamer+flies+video&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

 

And Norm will make you drool over technique and his Norvise tying vise but watch and apply in a traditional way if need be , he ties in Badger feather in this video:

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T hanks Dave! I had never seen a vise like t hat!

Yah, the Mcphail videos and Norm's show contrast in tying styles. But both should give you some good ideas and answers to your questions.

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Thanks again all! I've started tying in my hackls from the tip, which has made a huge difference in the head size(never had to do this on my hair wings). All your tips and watching youtube vids are paying off! Cheers!

Simon

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