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Finishing Knots


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38 replies to this topic

#1 xvigauge

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 02:38 PM

I attended the fly tying demonstrations put on by Little River Outfitters i9n Townsend, Tennessee this past weekend (over 40 expert tiers presenting). One thing I noticed was that many of the tiers were using nothing more than a half hitch and then head cement to finish off the fly. I have been using only a half hitch to finish off the fly for years and it has always worked great for me, but I always felt I was being lazy by not using a whip finish. So what do most tiers use to finish the fly?
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#2 FlatsRoamer

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 03:23 PM

2 3-5 turn whip finishes

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#3 utyer

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 03:43 PM

I usually don't cement dry fly heads, and use 2 3 or 4 turn whips.  Wet flies, streamers and nymphs, will usually get coated, and then I just do a single 3 to 4 turn whip.


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#4 flytire

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 04:07 PM

36 years using half hitches. no problems so far


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#5 mikechell

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 04:13 PM

Depends on the fly.  I am a fly angler who ties flies for my fishing, not a fly tier who uses his flies for fishing.  What I mean by that statement is, I don't concern myself with the beautiful details a fly tier strives for.

 

I'll do two whip finishes, each one completely covering the head.  Then I'll put a couple layers of thin nail polish on them to glue everything together.  

 

I catch a lot of sunfish.  They have sandpaper teeth that can chew up a fly.  Some of my flies have been tied on for several trips ... continuing to perform until I lose it to a snag or a Gar.


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#6 Stippled Popper

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 04:19 PM

I never had a fly come apart on me when I was tying half-hitches.  However, I would have the last half hitch come loose as I was trimming the excess thread.  I've never had a fly come apart on me since I changed over to two whip finishes either.  The second one never has come loose on me when I trimmed off the excess thread.  I've applied head cement using both finishing knots.



#7 Poopdeck

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 06:32 PM

Whip finish. No reason. Neither a whip finish or a half hitch are difficult or time consuming to tie. I really see no difference in the two.

#8 SuperiorFlies

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 06:47 PM

I usually use two 3-5 turn whip finishes and coat with head cement or UV resin. For smaller patterns where using head cement is more of pain than it is practical I like to use a similar method to one that I learned from Dave Whitlock at a fly fishing expo. He doesn't actually use any knot at all for a lot of his flies. Instead, before he makes his final wraps to finish off the head, he coats the thread with Zap-A-Gap and then proceeds to wrap the coated portion of thread around the hook. He just lets it dry quick and then snips the thread off close. I use this technique on some smaller soft hackles, but I like to add a half hitch or two in at the end before I snip off the thread.


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#9 deaddrifter

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 08:22 AM

Typically whip finish.  I'll use head cement/resin for streamers and a few other patterns but usually don't bother with it for nymphs or most of my dry flies.  I find I'll lose a nymph to a tree on the bottom of the river before it ever comes apart.



#10 Hatchet Jack

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 08:55 AM

One - two whip finishes with a Materelli whip finish tool + some plain old bee's wax rubbed into the thread prior to whipping. Then I apply a heated bodkin point to the hook eye - this melts the wax into the thread & head. Works great for small flies & no glue is clogging the hook eye.

 

BTW, Silver Creek posted an excellent detailed drawing* here in the forum some time back on how to properly do the whip finish, but it appears to be lost in the ether. Main idea is to make your wraps with touching turns going forward, from hook shank to hook eye.

 

*Maybe he could re-post it here for all to see?


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#11 mikechell

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 09:10 AM

Good point Jack.  It's often an overlooked detail.  The whip finish wraps need to cover the tag end.  If you wrap the whip front to back, then you have a single locking strand crossing the wraps.  When you wrap from back to front, all the wraps are protecting (over) the locking strand.


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#12 ihang10

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 09:19 AM

Typically a whip finish, Ill half hitch if I want to pin back the material near the hook eye or get surgical about things.

Ill only use head cement on flies like Clouser, thunder creek, etc, anything with deer hair to make the fly more durable, but I never cement my knots. Ive never seen the reason. The fly is going to get stuck to a rock or in a tree long before the knot comes apart.

#13 mikechell

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 09:47 AM

One thing that's usually brought up by now, when this subject comes up, is the thread itself.

If you're using thread that's supposed to lie flat, and you've let it spin up, it's now round.  If you tie your half hitch or whip finish with the thread round like that, it  will likely come loose.  As the thread gets wet, it relaxes, and the roundness flattens out ... loosening the knot.

Start your whip finish or half hitch with the thread flat and the knot will last much longer, with sealant or not.


Barbed hooks rule!

My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.

Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis

 


#14 SILKHDH

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 10:10 AM

Uh, if you wrap the thread around a half hitch tool multiple times before sliding off onto the hook, it is the same as a whip finish.  You can't do it because the thread will bind up and knot before you can draw it tight. (Most of the time)  But multiple half hitches is the same basic thing as a whip.  To whip or not to whip, that is the question.



#15 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 05:26 PM

I'll half hitch (when I have to...) but mostly prefer a whipped finish - and use only my hands, never a whipping tool...  I do have the advantage of working on a larger canvas since I'm a saltwater tyer.  I must note, though, that "head cement" isn't cement - and as a glue it has very poor qualities...

 

I learned over time to toss my old head cement bottles - instead I simply use a tiny amount of thin super glue (which would glue your fingers together it's so strong an adhesive...) instead.  I prefer the Krazy Glue brand and use the small applicator that it comes with just like a tiny paint brush.   To properly control the amount of glue (remember that thin super glue has a wicking action and will be absorbed past the thread if you aren't careful to not use just a tiny amount..) I slightly squeeze the tube before placing it anywhere near the thread.  I'm looking for just a tiny amount at the tip -then I apply it by just touching the thread.  Works like a charm and many times if the flies are not going to a shop (where appearance is a premium....) that's all I do to finish a fly with a whipped ending -  particularly on poppers and other bugs where you want as little thread showing as possible...  When I do want a finished look to a thread head I go in one of two routes -the first after the Krazy Glue has dried, for a thin finish, is simply to use Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails in the clear version.  For a heavier (thicker) finish when I'm doing larger thread heads with painted eyes I go to a rodbuilder's finish called FlexCoat ( a two part polymer finish that goes on like honey and needs to be rotated for the first two hours after being applied (but that's another topic entirely...).

 

For those who've never used super glue to end their threadwork, it's very durable - but if you ever need to remove it you're going to need a razor blade to cut it away from the hook - it's that permanent....  Hope this helps


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