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tips... not cheats (cough).
if one were to google 'perspex photo frame with magnets' you will see something that has given me miles of happiness.
I used to use and prescribe petri dishes...

you can water shape your crests and leave for later...
or you can use both leaves of the frame and flatten feathers with the added joy of holding it up to your fly for shaping...
but the greatest thing I've found is that it will fold a feather for you overnight. and there is nothing worse than trying to wrap a freshly folded feather; especially a cock hackle.

I also believe these would be easy to make though they are super cheap from china. just buy 100 of them.
secret: they will send you a sample. there is no postage cost in the prc.

other than that write on your underbodies. it's all the rage.

Have you ever tried putting a mesh screen over the wet crest feathers, while on a glass panel? It keeps the crests perfectly straight and the screen allows then to air dry.

MOST interesting thread guys...I will check those items out Shawn. Your mesh screen idea sounds like a fine idea too Marty.
Thanks for this one guys!!
Petri Heil,
The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits - Albert Einstein
I am sooo nicking the mesh idea...

the ink well from a bic pen...


I tie off my 6/0 white just before I change to 6/0 black to do the final stages of the fly... so there's no reason the fly must stay in the vise.

and I thought I'd take this time to preen the cascading crests as described in the first post.


it also allows me to prep the next materials.
fortunately with this fly it's only horns and herl head... before the dreaded rachis razoring, of course.


now I can complete it tomorrow and have it ready for photos. 
women will swoon and men will throw themselves from the fourteenth floor.

remember, lads... these are cheats secrets.

the difference between art and a hobby is you can plagiarise for a hobby.

sometimes, and if you're tying for show over throw, you'll use very little of the ever-precious gut.
and if you're like me (warming up 3/4" pieces in your mouth like one would a maggot), when it comes to tying it in you may not have equal lengths down the hook shaft.

and even when you do you can end up with cavities in your body work...

we'll agree you cannot fill just one side of a hook.
even if you fill it with lagartun silk floss you'll wrap thread around the hook adding extra to the other(wise perfect) side.

until now that is...

and if you're still like me (shame on you) you have many bottles of cement of different viscosities.
grab your bodkin and dip it in your thickest and workable cement 'jelly' and lightly dab it in the recess.


after a few minutes you can mould it to shape smearing any excess down the body.
you may want to do it again.
and if you bollocks it, peel it out and try again... I won't say a word.

the difference between art and a hobby is you can plagiarise for a hobby.

Thick cement is the carpenter’s caulk of fly tying...
Carry on shonney shon

Always “sideways” with more crests than a pheasant eh?
Inside the black, shiny eye of the ant...
nowt worse than having hackle pliers that won't grip the tiniest of rachis... say, herl for example.

get an old style hackle plier (see: cheap as) and do this:


and if you ever need to weight them, and to hold your material in place, increase your grip by adding an earth magnet.
just be mindful of two things:

1. do not use a large earth magnet with too much pull... you will pick it up either with a swipe of your bobbin holder or worse, it will stick to the vise shaft.
2. if your hackle pliers are like mine they will not be magnetic... so use a foldback/bulldog clip at the base and stick your magnet to that.

I find this application works to hold herl and tinsel in place freeing both my hands to secure the material better.

send money,
the difference between art and a hobby is you can plagiarise for a hobby.

perspex display cases in practice...


"you know it makes sense."

the difference between art and a hobby is you can plagiarise for a hobby.

back to this little bit of trickery here...


I used to use this method to just hold material out of the way. I would remove it when ready to wrap.
well yesterday rampant showed to me that you can use the well to wind, and all your hackles come out in the right direction.

if you were deft of hand you could also employ a hackle plier as well insuring that the good side of the hackle never twists.

red hot bro tip: do not cut the well with scissors; roll softly with a knife/scalpel until the snap. this will ensure no sharp edges. and put the factory end on the feather first so it's at the bottom once tied in.

rhbt pt ll: make sure the interior diameter clears the thickness of rachis at feather shaft.

and remember... dull side down,
now over to you, matt...

the difference between art and a hobby is you can plagiarise for a hobby.


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