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Building an underbody
 Every turn and application under floss will show through. You can only burnish floss so much. Assuming everything under the floss is very smooth, if the floss is not flat as it's laid there will be unevenness and only so much of that can be smoothed out. The harder you burnish, the more the floss is easy to fray......that's worse than a little unevenness in my book. re the underbody, whatever material is that you use, it also needs to be as flat as possible. crossing threads can show through if your underbody is just built up a little.

Here's my method: First, I am always trying new things as I tie. Everything I do may be different by the end of the fly. Everything is subject to change. First I tie the gut on. I pretty heavily wax my thread with a wax I made from a dental wax called sticky wax that I'm sure has more resin than most waxes I use because it is very hard when it sets. I only use it when I'm working on & around the head/wing "platform" and every turn during building that and formatter the whole fly as tightly as the threads will allow. I think that is critical to the durability of any fly. A half inch or so turns of thread closely move the thread back and pass a lighter flame quickly so the wax melts into the thread. Bring the still waxed thread forward in open turns and the thread twisted tightly. This creates a slightly uneven surface to tie the gut onto. I’ve done the gut about every way I can think of but now I tie the gut all the way to the tag….into the tag actually and all the strands are staggered to form a taper. I tie the gut the whole length with tight side to side turns. Cut the thread. Now I switch to Woolly Nylon and wax (with the same as before) a fairly long amount long enough to start at the tie in of the gut. Now I wrap the WN back and forth over the wing mounting area. This will be repeated as the fly progresses. It will be higher than the end of the finished body to help the wing to sit LOW cause it will be higher or just as high of the parts of the fly that make mounting a low set wing that everyone deals with.  
Wrap the WN in close turns tightly to build up the finished underbody that will be hard. Go forward and backward as many times as you think will be under the diameter of the finished body you think is enough. Figure in the next layer of the underbody and finished body. It will take a little practice to get to know how much to use. Tie WN off at the end of the body and switch to Uni Nylon which is almost floss like. This will fill in small unevenness. I should mention that I am burnishing throughout the processing of building the underbody. So, put as many layers of the UN as you need. This becomes the tying thread for the body, and it is easy to keep everything smooth as you progress throughout. I mentioned that it will take time to learn how many layers of these materials your fly will take and of course, the size of the fly will dictate what to use.
The burnishers I use. I’ve used most every kind of burnishers since I started tying these flies. Plastic, glass, rock, metal, bone and smooth face pliers! Polished bone/antler didn’t work well, and wood isn’t good either, because it pulls the floss rather than slide across. Metal/stainless steel, polished stone work very well and I recon most tyers use these. I tie very big flies (7/0 to 14/0) compared to most tyers so it is fairly difficult to keep everything smooth. Now days most of my “burnishing” is done with smooth face pliers! I use two pair of pliers; one is a dental plier and has a flat side and the other is slightly curved and it is about ¼” wide. The other is flat both sides and about 3/8” wide.
Happy Trails!

Ronn Lucas, Sr.

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