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Bimini15

Processing fly tying materials at home

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I've cured some squirrel tails but that's about the extent of it. I was probably part of the discussions that the information is drawn form. The [email protected] list may have been the first internet discussion "forum". All discussion was done by e-mail. I learned a lot about fly fishing and tying from it. As far as I know it's still functioning.

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Good post & link! I've done a lot of that, even did so for sale. It's a lot of effort, and can get costly, but can have benefits. Years ago, when I tied commercially, I also did a lot of trapping & some hunting. I saved everything, except what I sold! Most was simply cleaned & dried, some tanned, and did a good bit of dyeing.

 

Most folks won't have the need for that much material, but learning to do these various processes can be fun & it never hurts to learn.

 

I would bet that the folks at Wapsi, or Hareline, and others all started doing these things for their own tying & it developed into full time supply businesses.

 

You never know where learning these things might take you! smile.png

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I ran across this a couple weeks ago. I had a friend give me 2 fresh deer hides. I planned on preserving the belly and body hair for spinning along with the tail. I was even researching dying.

 

It was a learning experience with nothing to lose but a few dollars for borax. Much of the belly was cut away when they skinned it. And what I did have was too fine..like a summer coat. The tail however was awesome. I kept what I could use and just ordered 2 variety packs of colored belly hair for $5 each. Much better and easier. Here are a few pics.

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For me... Eric Leiser's book, Fly Tying Materials, is still the standard. That old book will take you through every step of collecting, processing, dyeing - from soup to nuts, with lots of pics and careful "how to" info... That said, the better modern materials outfits will always be hard to beat (and I wish Hobbs Feather Co. was still in business....).

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Love Erics book!! i've learned a lot about drying skins, but lately with trying to find resonably priced soft tanned squirrel hides I'm definately tempted to learn how to tan small skins!

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My son and I squirrel hunt (grays only in NJ) and I'm interested in dyeing the pelts and tails too. I have a post here in the FTF for salting a pelt that works great; now off to learn dying techniques to see if it's worth the time/effort. Trial and error is a great learning opportunity but we don't limit out on every hunt but I want olive, tan, and maybe others.

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My son and I squirrel hunt (grays only in NJ) and I'm interested in dyeing the pelts and tails too. I have a post here in the FTF for salting a pelt that works great; now off to learn dying techniques to see if it's worth the time/effort. Trial and error is a great learning opportunity but we don't limit out on every hunt but I want olive, tan, and maybe others.

 

I'm sure you can find info online, but A.K. Best's book has been the standard for dying fly tying materials. You may be able to get a copy from your library.

https://www.amazon.com/Dyeing-Bleaching-Natural-Fly-Tying-Materials/dp/1558212140/ref=la_B000AR9PZO_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481040715&sr=1-2

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They're not hard to dye - UNLESS you want to use them for zonker strips then they won't work, they'd have to be tanned after dyeing them.

 

If you can measure out 1/2 a teaspoon, add hot water let the dye set in, add white vinagar to set the color and then rinse you can dye skins.

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They're not hard to dye - UNLESS you want to use them for zonker strips then they won't work, they'd have to be tanned after dyeing them.

 

Why would they have to be tanned after dying them? To prevent hair slippage or some other reason? I ask because I'm getting ready to tan and dye some rabbit skins and want to avoid losing them.

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Hi guys,

 

As Fatman mentioned, dying is pretty easy. One thing, it's not possible to dye to a color lighter than the original. In the instance of the gray squirrel mentioned in this thread, it is beautiful when dyed, especially when bleached first. Bleaching it back to a tannish color, then dying to another make some incredible tail and dubbing. Bleach the material (any material) so you don't burn the tips is important and not hard but a bit fussy. We have a short blurb and bleach formula on our website under Tips & Tricks if you are interested. I think is #2 or #3 on the Tips page (www.btsflyfishing.com). Take care & ...

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Why would they have to be tanned after dying them? To prevent hair slippage or some other reason? I ask because I'm getting ready to tan and dye some rabbit skins and want to avoid losing them.

 

Because the dyeing process, with acid dyes, will leave the hide hard & brittle even if you start with a tanned hide. The dye process removes the chemicals that are used to tan the hide, so the hide needs to be tanned after the dye process.

 

I've never done it, but I've read that there is a cold dye process that doesn't affect the tanning. But, again, only from what I've read the dye is not as color fast or resistant to fading as the acid dye process.

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Because the dyeing process, with acid dyes, will leave the hide hard & brittle even if you start with a tanned hide. The dye process removes the chemicals that are used to tan the hide, so the hide needs to be tanned after the dye process.

 

Makes sense. Thanks! Saved me some grief.

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