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Everything posted by phg

  1. According to the Renzetti WEB site, the jaws of all their vises are made from case hardened steel, and oxide coated to prevent rust. Hardened steel is more brittle than non-hardened, so that may be what you are seeing. Breaking jaws would suggest that you are over-tightening them. On a cam-jaw vise, that shouldn't be a problem, but if you have the older screw-tightening jaws, as I do, you need to be a bit more careful. Also, using larger hooks will require greater torque, so if you are frequently tying on size 2 hooks, you may want to find a vise with heavier jaws.
  2. Have you set the jaws at maximum height? That should make the back of the hook more accessible. Conversely, if the jaws are at minimum height, that would make it hard to tie on a small hook. A picture would be helpful....
  3. I have a Traveler, for traveling, and have tied on a 2000, but my vise at home is a Renzetti Presentation 4000. MUCH nicer vise, smoother action, and a much more pleasant tying experience. If you are going to upgrade, ... UPgrade! Like Flytyer, the only adjustment I usually make is to set the jaw width for different hooks. I regularly tie from size 6 to size 20.
  4. 70 Denier Veevus or Euro-thread should work as well as the Lagartun. 70d Uni-Thread doesn't lie quite as flat, but probably is good enough. There are other fine threads out there, you just need to make sure they are 70d (8/0) or finer. UTC Ultra Wire - Small in gunmetal blue could be substituted for peacock blue.
  5. They are not endangered in the wild, and they can and are being farm raised. However, I'm told, the farm raised birds don't seem to have the brilliance of color the wild birds have. I think much of the premium price stems from the recent past, when a quality skin was scarce. I saw a bunch of capes at the Intl. Fly Tying Symposium for $55. Given the price of chicken necks, that would almost seem reasonable....
  6. What city/town is in Hamilton Co.? I know a fair bit of eastern TN, but I don't pay much attention to the county names.
  7. Charlie Collins doesn't do internet very well. A phone call is still the best way to get a hold of him. His capes are probably the best value in the business. They aren't as large nor as dense as Whitings nor can you tie 5+ flies with one feather, but for most tyers, those aren't really issues. (Whiting saddles are unmatched by anyone, but that's not what we are talking about.) Bill Keough also has some nice capes and he is also a bit less expensive than Whiting, and more readily available than Collins. In modern capes, the difference between a #1, #2, #3 and Commercial grade has to do with the density of feathers and size of the cape, not the quality of the feathers. All the modern genetic capes will tie the range of flies you want. Also, Charlie Collins told me that if you will tell him what size you tie the most of, he will try to select a cape that has more of that size on it. This particularly works for size 12, 14 and 16. The smaller sizes are always more limited. I use mostly #3 and Commercial Collins capes, and have never had a problem finding the size feather I wanted.
  8. Find a hunter that shots upland game birds. All of them are suitable substitutes for partridge. Quail, snipe, grouse even hen pheasant all work just as well.
  9. Hook & Hackle sells a 12/0 Euro Thread that is similar to Veevus. I have also gotten some 12/0 from Orvis. That said, I use Veevus 12/0 for my small flies. I get it from Golden Rule Fly Shop at one of the shows I attend.
  10. ...and lock this thread. It's been revived too many times.
  11. There are several sources of Ruffed Grouse skins. I've gotten them from Badger Creek. He shows grouse and Bob White Quail skins for $15. I have also used snipe for smaller soft hackles. Really, any game bird will do. They all have similar quality feathers and in similar colors. The patterns vary a bit, but they all work. If you have hunter friends, that's even better.
  12. A couple of years ago, at one of the shows, I was shown an even simpler way. Get yourself a 6" putty knife from Lowes or Home Depot. Lay the skin, fur side UP and a cutting surface. Work the blade of the putty knife down to the skin, without pinning a lot of fur. Press down firmly, take a sharp razor, and slice from one end of the blade to the other. Carefully move over, however wide you want your strip to be, and repeat. Using this technique, it only take a few minutes to produce all the strips you need, and you are not stuck with any one width.
  13. I was one of those tyers in Townsend last weekend. We had a great time, and met a lot of nice people. Back before I learned to do a hand whip finish, I would tie off a fly with 2 or 3 half hitches, and a drop of cement. It worked great. Now, however, I do a 4 to 6 turn whip finish. It's not really any better, it just looks more professional, and, frankly, it's easier to do. I still add a drop of head cement, although it's not strictly necessary.
  14. Post a picture so me can criticize, ... um... critique your efforts. I have used YLI 100 in rod building, and have never had any problems with the strength or consistency of the thread. I use gossamer for my partridge and orange/yellow. Never had a problem. I suspect a burr in your bobbin barrel, or, that you are using a steel barreled bobbin, and aren't advancing the thread as you wind.
  15. People drown because they panic. This is especially likely to happen if the victim isn't a good swimmer to begin with, or if they are caught in a strong current. If you fall and fill up your waders, keep your head, find a calm(er) shallow spot to crawl out, and peal off your waders as you emerge from the water. My worst encounter was while wearing breathable waders with a good wading belt. I slipped and fell in not-to-deep water, but my legs and butt were so buoyant that I had a hard time getting off my back. With some effort, I was able to roll over onto my hands and knees. With my butt out of the water, I was able to stand up. My shirt and jacket (it was winter) were soaked, but my pants stayed dry.
  16. I'm going to try to make it this year. The venue is about 2 hours closer than the Somerset location, but still a long drive. We'll see. I don't really need any materials, so that means I probably won't buy much over $100 worth of stuff....
  17. Maggie Valley is mostly a tourist trap! I've not fished that creek, but, if I were going to be in that area in early Nov., I'd slip over the mountain and fish the Tuckaseege near Sylva. That's a delayed harvest river that gets stocked more heavily than any other stream in NC. The first of Nov. should be great fishing on the Tuck! If your budget allows, hire a guide for best results. They know where the fish are stocked. Hare's ear nymphs and pheasant tails are always good in NC waters, but I like to use a squirrel leach as well. It's sort of like a mini-wollybugger, and can draw fish like a magnet! I also like to take a few egg patterns that time of year. There's been more than once where a pink egg, with a red blood dot, has saved the day on a DH stream.
  18. phg


    Hair wings have a habit of leaning forward, after you post them. To compensate, put them a couple of turns further back. I'd say that the tail is a bit thick, but the hackle is just about right in volume, it just needs to be distributed more evenly on both sides of the wings. Overall, though, nice fly. Without all the magnification, it would be hard to find fault with it.
  19. A Fox mask is like a hare's ear mask on steroids. The longer fibers make great tails and hair wings. The under fur is great dubbing. The fur is coarser than rabbit, so it doesn't have the level of movement that rabbit does, but it still looks good in the water. I use it for larger flies, say size 6 or 8.
  20. Much as I would like to come, that's the same date at the Fly Tyer's Weekend in Townsend, TN. We sure do get busy this time of year....
  21. Well, that's probably true, but silk has special properties, when wet, that aren't duplicated by other materials. There's a certain translucence to it, especially if there's a white under wrap, that makes it seem more alive in the water. Not a big thing, but a small advantage when the fish are being picky....
  22. Well, that depends on what your are tying. Floss is traditional for some applications. Basically, floss is un-spun thread. It lays flat, and can even be spread out a bit to get a thinner layer. With burnishing, it can appear to be a single, smooth layer. Some threads can be untwisted and do that, but not many. I don't know what you are planning to tie, but, for like a Partridge and Orange, thread is normally used, because you want segmentation. Smooth floss bodies are generally done where you are going to add a contrasting rib, as in traditional wet flies or full dress salmon flies. For soft hackles, which you mention in the subject line, I would probably just use thread.
  23. Pearsall's is traditional, but there's no reason to limit yourself. Almost any Embroidery supplier can get you a variety silk floss. There is nothing about fly tying that requires special materials. What you aren't likely to find is a dedicated fly tying supplier that carries a wide variety of silk flosses. Most of us use rayon floss (Danville) for our classic ties, and even then, the color selection is somewhat limited. I get most of mine from Mike Hogue at Badger Creek (eFlytier.com). I can also recommend John McLain's FeathersMC.com. John carries some Alec Jackson silk, but he's closing it out in favor of JEC silk. Something else to check out.
  24. phg


    Not sure why this is relevant. You can follow the law because you fear enforcement, or you can also follow the law because you think it is a good idea. You can of course decide to ignore the law, but then you must be willing to deal with the consequences. If you wish to be a scofflaw, that is your prerogative, but there is nothing wrong with providing the obligatory warning to a potentially uninformed tier. ...and yes, people do occasionally get busted. Around here, game wardens will question you if you are using a Yeller Hammer. Whatfly, there is a 3rd scenario, too. You obey the law because you respect the law, even though you may disagree with the law in question. You don't get to pick and choose which laws you're going to obey.
  25. phg


    Most classic patterns call for feathers from the wing of the Eurasian Jay. The American Blue Jay isn't used very much. I think this is because most of the color you see is just on the edge of the feather. I know I tried, over 40 years ago, to find uses for them (before the internet, and when it was legal to kill blue jays) and found very little use for them.
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