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Fly Tying
Gary Madore

Whip Finishing

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I never varnish my fishing flies...two whip finishes (5 turns each) with waxed thread are sufficient and I almost never have a problem with the thread coming undone.

 

Pedro.

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Depends on the size of the head/fly. For my fishing flies, two whips of maybe four turns on a medium size fly and on a larger, six turns. On my bigger feather wing streamers or bucktails, eight to ten. The same would be true for my free style atlantics. My fishing flies no longer get cement but my flies I give away or tie for display do. Up to four thin coats on display flies.

 

The important thing with whips or hitches is to get every turn laying side by side so the tag of the thread is held with a broad area of turns. This is particularly important if you pull the knot tight while cutting the thread. The thread will be stretched and suck back under the knot.

 

My method is also important for a smooth finished head.

 

Happy Trails!

Ronn

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You're suppose to count? blink.gif

 

unsure.gif I would guess I go 2-4 wraps, 1-3 whips.

 

Yeah.... that sounds about right..... I think huh.gif

 

Really, I just look at how the head looks and stop when I feel it's right. wink.gif

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I usually do 3-4 half hitches and head cement. I don't remember ever having one come loose. Course I got CRS. (can't remember s##t)

 

Ditz

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WOW! No anal retentive tiers here! Whew!! clapping.gif

 

For me it all depends on the size of the fly but it's usually somewhere between 3 and 6 wraps. I hand whip and don't use head cement unless it's a dry fly. They last longer so the chance of the fly dying from a bad whip finish is greater than the fly dying from a snag, a tree or a break off. As for nymphs or wets...I usually loose those faster than the inevitable whipfinish failure, so no glue. I DO glue the heads on flies I give to others....just because I'm nice sometimes. banana.gif

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3 - 6 half hitches depending on the size of the fly and head. A #20 Pheasant Tail would get 3. A 2/0 Deer Hair streamer would get 5 or 6 and a dab of adhesive.

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I use to do about 4-5 half hitches all the time but after sitting and tying with wickedcarpenter on a trip last fall I started using a whip finish tool. Now I do 1 whip finish of about 4-5 turns and done. Havent had a flt come undone yet doing it this way.

 

SD

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Damn I have not put this much thought into the whip finish since I first learned it or when I learned to do it with one finger. But I use 3 - 7 turns, and dont use half hitches any more unless I only have a inch of thread left. A huge thing with the whip finish is that every wrap is next to each other. It's tell it if was a good knot by how clean the head looks.

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three or four turns, followed by another three on top, waxed.

If it is for somebody else, I sometimes varnish the head.

 

they never come apart.

 

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To get a whip knot that does not unravel it is very important to tie it in the proper direction. For most right handed tiers, that means tying it with successive wraps going toward the eye. This gives you a nail knot type finish. Otherwise you get a uni-knot type, which is easily unraveled if scraped because of the exposed thread that goes from the front to the rear of the whip knot.

 

FWIW, I use 4 to 5 wraps and have no problems with unraveling.

 

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I have always done a whip finish with 4-6 wraps.

 

I normally use a tool since it is quicker (for me) and I get a much cleaner tie that way. The teacher of my first tying class insisted that each of us first learn to tie a whip finish by hand. He would not allow us to pick up a whip finish tool until we showed him we could do it by hand. When I did pick up the tool, the knot was much less of a mystery.

 

I am very glad I learned to do it by hand, but it really is quicker when I use the tool. One guy I tie with will not use a tool. He insists that he finishes his fly much faster than I do because he does not have to stop to find and pick up the tool. Since he has done so many whip finishes by hand, he is pretty fast at it.

 

Now, while I think the way I learned was worthwhile, I don't think I had heard an explaination of wanting the wraps to lay down next to each other before I read this thread. That makes lots of sense. I have been advised that I should work toward only using 4 wraps so the head on my flies is not so bulky. If I was more careful with laying down the wraps nicely, I expect 4 wraps would be pleanty. I doubt I could get the wraps neatly arranged if I was doing the finish knot by hand.

 

I do not use any glue/cement except on my woolly buggers. Those seem to take a beating when tossed to agressive smallies. I normally hang a fly in a tree long before the thread starts coming loose.

 

More later,

Ken S.

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The only problem with half hitches they will come undone unless you use cement, one way to lock your half hitches is to do the last hitch backwards of the others. This will lock the half hitches. A good 4 to 5 turn whip finish should not come undone, if you do it right. On my drys I dont use cement and I dont have any problems with the knot coming undone.

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I normally do 3-5 turn single whip finish with a Martarelli tool to finnish a fly. It has kept my flys toghether just fine. However, in many patterns that I tie, I will put a 1-2 turn single whip between certain steps of the fly to lock down materials. I'll do this often before placing my bobbin in the cradle to get the bobbin out of the way while say, wrapping a dubbing rope. This prevents the thread from slipping and helps to build a more durable fly overall. If I need to clear a larger diameter of stuff on the hook than my tool will allow(I only have the smaller standard size tool) I will whip by hand. Just recently I figured out that when tying in a soft hackle type feather in by the tip, a single wrap-single whip really helps prevent slippage just prior to making a few turns for a collar! tongue.gif

 

A.A.

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