Quill Wing flies? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Quill Wing flies?

04-23-2003, 12:25 PM
I want to tie a quill wing caddis, but my fly tying book suggests appling artist's fixative to the quill wings in order to improve their durability. What exactly is artist's fixative and where can it be purchased? Are there any substitutes that can also improve the durability of quill wings? What about finger nail polish?

04-23-2003, 12:42 PM
Artist's fixative is a spray-on adhesive used to prevent charcoal from smudging on paper. Any craft or art supply store would have it. Wouldn't surprise me to see it in a hardwear store either. I wouldn't reccomend nail polish because it will harden as it dries. Dave's Flexament would probably do the job though.

Good luck.

John Desjardins
04-23-2003, 12:52 PM
Its been a while since I've tied quill wings and I'm probably wrong and will get corrected, but here goes. Artists fixative is a lacquer, typically in a spray can. I don't know if clear nail polish would work. I have used a thin coat of Daves Fleximent on quill wings for wet fly . A feather from both a left & right wing, always buy them as a pair, are coated before you start tying. The segments are then separated, matched for curvature, etc and then tied in.

04-23-2003, 07:04 PM
Try Flexament - it works well.


04-23-2003, 09:18 PM
Most craft stores will carry fixative, as noted, it is a clear type of spray on lacquer. I prefer this to flexament for the application in case, quill wings. Flexament does a great job on other styles. I usually apply one coat to each matched quill and let this dry overnight and then apply a second coat before cutting the segments. The second coat will bind any small stuff that may have been missed with the first coat and still give you enough flex for a proper quill wing without the extreme hardness of nail polish. Be very carefull with the fixative it is very flamable and toxic in closed spaces. Also make sure you hold the quills at least 10 inches away from the nozzle and wear disposable rubber gloves.

04-24-2003, 12:21 AM
Use artist's fixative, it is easy to use, durable, and cheap, and far easier to use than flexament. Dave Whitlock showed me the value of using fixative about 20 years ago when I took a one day tying seminar from him in Great Falls, MT.

He uses it on his hopper patterns. It doesn't need to dry overnight though. A feather sprayed with fixative can be tied with as soon as it is dry, or about 10 minutes after it is sprayed.