Head Cement? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Head Cement?

05-21-2003, 11:30 PM
Which is a better head cement for tying dry flies, Water-Based or Solvent -Based? What are the advantages of each and does one hold better than the other? Which lasts longer and which is more durable?

05-22-2003, 09:26 AM
I will let Flytyer give you the best advice, but I think that a couple of whip finishes is strong enough, so I don't use head cement. When the threads on a big fly need to be reenforced, I use zap a gap. If I want to use head cement(for looks) I use Dave's Flexement(solvent based). I usually lose the fly befor it falls apart.

John Desjardins
05-22-2003, 10:17 AM
I also find that I lose flies before they fall apart. A good whip finish, or series of 1/2 hitches prevents flys from falling apart. The glue only provides a secondary bond
If I use an adhesive it is zap a gap or another gel super glue and in rare cases the Loon product that looks & smells an awful lot like waterbase polyurethane varnish.

05-22-2003, 10:27 AM
Sally Hanson's "Hard as Nails" ladies nail polish. You can also use this product (comes in every colour of the Rainbow) for painting eyes on 'lead heads.'

If I'm not using this product I'll use the Loon water base head cement.

05-22-2003, 06:27 PM
I guess great minds think alike. I too am a big fan of Sally Hanson and her "Hard as Nails" nail polish. Fishing for big lake-run browns, steelies and chinooks, durability counts. Yet it is delicate enough for dry flies.

The other advantage is that nail polish remover will remove it in case of spills, or you want to clean out your dispenser. I do often - keeps things running smoothly.


05-25-2003, 12:30 AM
Use whatever cement you take a fancy to. I always use cement of fly heads because the flies last longer. A well-tied trout fly can be used to catch well over a dozen fish if the head is cemented. An uncemented trout fly will not last this long. And when you move on to salmon and steelhead flies, uncemented flies will fall apart before you even hook a fish do to the beating they take when fishing.


You are correct, Loon water-based in nothing more than water-based polyurethane re-bottled into 1-once bottles. Dave's Fleximent is likewise nothing more than Sportsman's Goop thinned with Toluene.

In fact, I have been making my own Fleximent on spun deer hair, elk hair wings, moose hiar wings, and any other hair wings since 1980 when Dave Whitlock told me what he was using on his deer hair bass bugs.

Hally Hansen's Hard as Nails Clear is a very good medium viscosity head cement. It does tend to thicken up fairly fast though. And it is really not suited to trout sized flies.

I suppose I should tell you all the cements I use. I use Rumpf's Head Cement most of the time. I also use Fleximent (which I make myself according to recipe above) for holding hair wings in place because it is flexible and somewhat rubbery it does this superbly. Loon's Hard Head Cement (water-based) in black is used on full-dressed Atlantic Salmon Featherwings as a head cement only because I don't have to change thread color with it since it provides the requisite black coloration. And last, but not least, I use medium viscosity super glue (brand doesn't matter since they are all the same chemical formula) such as Zap CA+ for holding lead eyes (or other barbell eyes), or weighting wire in place (for instance on Woolly Buggers or large stonefly nymphs).

Do you need all these different cement types, no. Should you have all of them, maybe. Do they all have a purpose and use, definetely!

The bottom line is use whatever cement you like for the type of flies you are tying.

05-25-2003, 11:14 AM
thanks FT!

John Desjardins
05-25-2003, 11:05 PM
FT its funny that you should mention fleximent, because on the rare, for me occasions where I want it, I use goop thinned with toluene instead.

05-26-2003, 01:39 PM
Although I like the physical characteristics of flexment / goop / tolulene but won't use it due to the smell. Maybe I'm sensitive to that particular smell, but I can even smell it a week later when I pop open the flybox. That and napthalene (moth balls) frequently used to prevent moth damage in store shelves. After fishing a fly with feathers stored with moth balls, the thing smells like a wet chemical-soaked dog. If it kills moths I'm suspect a steely won't like the smell / taste.


Mean Mr Mustard
05-26-2003, 02:03 PM
And here I thought you were talking about the 2004 GOP's party platform. :devil:

Water-based works well for most anything including locking in the lead for the nymphs. I often use finger nail polish which I have confiscated from my under-age daughter for the heads when color or flash (from the glitter kind) is desired.

But then again, most of my flies look like hairballs left over after brushing the cat.


05-28-2003, 01:23 AM

The advantage to using medium viscosity super glue to lock lead eyes to a hook is that they will not move, nor will the be pulled off the hook by various and sundry river-bottom rocks that you will be bouncing said lead eyes off. Also, it takes fewer turns of thread to tie in the lead eye if super glue is used to lock it in place,

The advantage of using medium viscosity super glue with lead or pewter weighting wire is you do not need a thread layer under the wire, or a layer of thread over the wire to lock it in place like you do with other glues. Simply use your rotary vise to wrap the wire up the hook from your bulk 1lb spool, cut it off, and when you have weighted your dozen or multiple dozen hooks, simple glue the weighting wire in place with the super glue. The amount of time savings this adds up to when tying dozens of a fly is considerable

It should be understood to remember you must allow the glue to dry before going on to finish the fly or your fingers or hand will be glued fast to the hook as well.

wind roper
01-23-2005, 11:09 AM
i tie saltwater flies and the clouser innows that i baught from orvis had a head cement on the threads. after one or two fish the fly comes appart. when i tie mine at the min i will put a good coat of loctite over the threads, havent had one come untied on me since. the other thing i do is epoxy all of the thread. it gives the fly a nice clear coat that is tough as armor. the epoxy wouldnt help you on the small trout flies but the LOCTITE will work wonders.

01-23-2005, 05:28 PM
which loctite?