Head Cement [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Head Cement


Markus
12-29-2006, 09:31 PM
Dear all;

I have been a silent groupie of this forum for some time. I am slowly transitioning from trout fishing into salmon fishing and I have started to tie some salmon flies of my own.

One thing I have been wondering about is what kind of head cement do you use for your flies. What creates the glossy heads, epoxy?

Let me know...

Markus

flytyer
12-30-2006, 12:06 AM
Markus,

Very few salmon fly tyers use epoxy to finish the head. What most of us use is mutltiple coats of our favorite head cement applied one after the other after each prior coat had dried. Some tyers like to use Sally Hansen's Hard-as-Nails clear nail polish (a nylon-based coating) applied with a bodkin. And some like to use clear polyurethane. I have a personal preference for Rumph's Head Cement because it is medium viscosity right out of the bottle and if you want a thinner cement, simply thin it with a little of Rumph's Head Cement Thinner. If you want it a little thicker, leave the cap off overnight and it will thicken just enough to be a bit more high build.

There are other head cements out there that are identical to Rumph's all you need do is look for a medium viscosity one. Avoid the really thin ones such as Griffin thin simply because they are so watery that they require as many as 10 coats to get a good, glossy head.

I've also used Veniard's Cellaire with good results, although it takes more coats since it is very thin and pretty watery. However, it does give one a very nice, hard, glossy head with enough coats. Another one I've used with good results is Loon's Hard Head cement, which is a high build, high viscosity polyurethane.

Truthfully, use whatever cement you use as a general tying cement applying multiple coats until all the thread windings are completely covered and the head is smooth. One thing I would avoid is Flexament and other similar flexible cements because it is too soft to produce a nice hard head. Yes, it makes a glossy head with only two coats; but its softness is not conducive to durability.

Markus
12-30-2006, 09:54 AM
Flytyer;

Thank you so much!

I have been using flexament, which has been my problem. The heads are too soft and not durable.

I will try your recommendations.

Markus

Igor
01-03-2007, 10:19 AM
Markus,

I think the key to a glossy smooth head isn't dependant so much on the head cement and number of coats you use - but rather in the head you actually 'construct 'before you apply the cement.

A lumpy, ill-tied, head will generally remain a lumpy, ill-tied, head no matter what cement you use or how many coats you apply.

For the record I use multiple (3 to 4) coats of Veniard's "CELLIRE" No. 1 Clear to varnish my head - and I allow at 24 hours drying time between coats.

Igor

SALMONCHASER
01-03-2007, 11:00 AM
Good point Igor.
Alot of guys get caught up in trying to make the perfect small head, etc. The head does not have to be small, or perfect for that matter. It should however be as neat as possible with each turn of the bobbin nice and tight. I see alot of guys trying to build the "bullet' head with too steep of a gradiant and the whole thing is just a loose mess. Strive for neatness, not perfection at first.
Salmon Chaser

Igor
01-03-2007, 11:23 AM
Good point Igor.
Alot of guys get caught up in trying to make the perfect small head, etc. The head does not have to be small, or perfect for that matter. It should however be as neat as possible with each turn of the bobbin nice and tight. I see alot of guys trying to build the "bullet' head with too steep of a gradiant and the whole thing is just a loose mess. Strive for neatness, not perfection at first.
Salmon Chaser

Hey, don't get me wrong - I love a small perfect head on most of my flies and strive for such! Although, I'm not as anal about it as I used to be. *g*

To me, the hallmark of a well-dressed fly is a very neat and proportionate head. I've seen gorgeous tying ruined because of a lack of attention to the head - conversely, I've seen otherwise mediocre tying appear to be just a little better because extra care was taken in building and finishing a good head.

If you look at the work of truly great tyers, for example Syd Glasso, their work was always 'autographed' with an insanely neat, small, and glossy head.

And, to those that say, 'Well, the fish don't care.', I say (tongue in cheek), 'Perhaps it's the tyer that doesn't care.'

Igor

Markus
01-20-2007, 11:01 PM
Gentlemen;

I owe you an update. I tried three different head cements:

1. Hard as Hull (Backcountry Laboratories)
2. Rumpf's Head Cement
3. Veniard's Cellire No. 1 Clear

"Veniard's Cellire" is the clear winner for me. It appears to have just the right viscosity and it creates heads with a beautiful shine.

"Rumpf's Head Cement" is a close second, but requires thinning more often.

"Hard as Hull" is too thick and the dispenser is a nuisance.

Best,
Markus

Igor
01-21-2007, 06:47 AM
Markus,

I'm glad you found a head cement you're comfortable working with.

One of the problems I first encountered when working with Cellire was 'puckering' or 'pruning'. It's a 'wrinkling' of the head that results in applying subsequent coats of cement without allowing the prior coat to dry completely.

As I mentioned before, I'll usually wait 24 hours for each application to dry.

Igor

Feiger
02-03-2007, 11:50 AM
I like using the Griffith's thin as an intermediate cement during construction. Such as when hackles or wings are being secured. Helps me keep my wraps down, and the thin, watery consistency doesn't build up bulk, yet helps to lock the material in. I also find myself putting one coat of the thin on the head when I'm done/ probably not needed, but i think it further helps lock everything in. I damn near cry when I loose wings on one of my fishing flies...

for the last few years, had been using Griffith's thick to get the nice, smooth glossy heads. as of late, however, I've had problems of milky or yellowing finishes. Can't figure out why. will have to try some of the other brands listed.

On a note w/ Loon's hard head cement. have not had good success w/ that product. doesn't seem very durable in fishing situations, the flies I've tied w/ it invariably end up w/ a chipped and ultimately dissappearing finish....