Head Cements [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Head Cements

12-16-2004, 06:10 PM
Hi All,
What kind of head cements are people using for their salmon/steelhead flies? I’ve settled on Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails. Just as long as I make sure that it is thinned to a proper consistency it seems to work reasonably well at building a smooth glossy head after multiple coats. In his recent book, Veverka mentions that he uses Cellire Lacquer exclusively. Any comments on the Cellire? Obviously, it works for Bob. His heads are phenomenal…although I’m sure that it has a lot more to do with his technique than any cement he is using! Also, where could I find a source of this stuff? Hunter's doesn't carry it any longer.

By the way...Bob's book is a must have. I'd buy the book for Radencich's amazing photographs alone not to mention all of Veverka's insights on materials and techniques.

Tight Lines

12-16-2004, 08:01 PM
Cellire is also my prefered type head cement. The only 'downside' IMO is the drying time bewteen multiple coats...I usually give it 24 hours between applications. The end-result though is worth it, I think.

Being a Veniard's product it shouldn't be that difficult to obtain, and I'm very surprised that Hunter's has disco'd it! Have you tried special ordering it through your local fly shop?

I second and third your rave review on Bob Verkerka's book!


12-16-2004, 08:22 PM
I use hard as nails but have never had to thin it. One drop carefully palced with a bodkin and I end up with a perfectly finished head.


12-16-2004, 10:25 PM
Hey Gillie,

I would love to see the end-result of your "One drop carefully palced with a bodkin and I end up with a perfectly finished head" technique. Any chance of you posting a photo?


12-17-2004, 05:25 AM
take a look at my flies on the thread "red fly" which is 5 threads down on the "archives of salmon and steelhead flies" and I have two bunny speys posted on the "winter flies / colours / sizes" thread on the Great Lakes forum. All of thes were done with unthinned hard as nails.

I'm certainly always open to new ideas. If you think the heads would have come out better if I thinned let me know.


12-17-2004, 05:31 AM
I just went back and realized with the lighting the head is very hard to see on the two bunny speys. The large picture of the red fly is a little better. I'll try to post a close up of some heads done this way after work today.


Had a chance to shoot a quick pic before I went to work. Let me know what you think.

12-17-2004, 10:03 AM
Have to agree with Igor on the Cellire. It is fantastic stuff.

I talked to the guys at Hunters and they had some problems importing it. There are some shops in Canada that will mail it to you with some prodding. If you like I will PM you with there web site info. Let me know


12-17-2004, 10:41 AM
I like the Hard as Nails and have used it in both Clear and Dark Red. I have however tied and fished with hundreds of Steelhead flies without and head cement, I actually only use it when I am tying for show or as a gift to someone.
I guess that must mean I don't think its essential to the fly staying together.

12-17-2004, 12:21 PM
Thanks for the input guy's

Yeah Charlie that would be great if you could PM me the website.


12-17-2004, 02:02 PM
Any good quality thin to medium viscosity head cement would work well. Cellire is just one of many such cements currently on the market. I avoid the thick cements like Hard and Nails because they don't penetrate the thread wraps down to the hook, although if used as a top coat after using a thinner cement, the thick ones produce a very nice, smooth head.

Something I do quite often is use Flexament (which is nothing more than Goop thinned with toluene) thinned to the consistency of water as a base coat place right on the wing butts before the finish wraps and whip finish are made. This cements everything together to each other (the materials to each other, the hook, and the thread; the thread to itself, the materials, and the hook) with great strength because of Flexaments inherent slight "stretchiness", which keeps things from moving or pulling out. I then put mutiple coats of a medium viscosity head cement on top after the thin Flexament has dried.

12-17-2004, 02:15 PM
I use the water based Loon flexible head cement to secure things as I am tying and then use it for the first couple coats on the head of the fly.

I then use hard as nails for the final coat and to get a nice glossy smooth head.


Peter Terndrup
12-24-2004, 03:55 PM
I varnish my heads two times. The first layer I use Lochtite SuperAttack(Instant glue) and on the second layer i put Veniards Cellire vanish in the color I want.
Because of the glue I got a very hard and valid head.

The only problem with glue is if you have a big head on your flies is when the fly gets wet its becoming sligtly white. Thats why I use a colored varnish on it.

Merry christmas!