08-10-2000, 09:05 AM
What are the advantages of using these products and what is the best way to use them? I've been tying some juvies and have not been geting good results with epoxy.
08-10-2000, 09:18 AM
Softex is nice because you can dip the fly in the jar and then just leave it to dry. It forms a very durable soft body. It has to be some of the most toxic stuff on earth, and the very smell of it will probably cut a year off of your life. When I use it--very rarely--I have to leave the flies outside to dry.
I would recommend buying clear silicone. Put a small amount amound the head of the fly and then coax it back as far as you desire using wet fingers or a plastic knife. Nearly as durable and much less toxic. See some of Popovic's flies for inspiration.
Craig, if you want the fly higher in the water, use softex, if you want it down epoxy. on epoxy , always use 2 coats. the 1st use a bodkin, or something similar to make sure it saturates the fiber sall the way thru, air bubbles are your enemy! then use your fingers to hold the fibers in the shape you want(parallel to the shank or higher). then a second finish coat after the 1st is set.this coat is heavier and needs to be rotated, in a vise , a wheel or your hand. every few seconds look at it and see if you need to pull excess off or sread it back. once it starts to set at all... DON'T TOUCH THE EPOXY!!! good luck! Tom D
08-10-2000, 10:19 AM
I use epoxy whenever I can. Unfortunately I have to do it in assembly line fashion since mixing up a batch is a project in and of itself. Tomd's suggestions on using it are great. I use an old Fisher Price kids record player from a yard sale with foam attached to dry them.
Softex gives you the ability to finish off a fly and start on another while it dries. It's fairly durable but very expensive, at least at Orvis it is. Softex has been getting the nod lately because I can just dip the head of the fly in and let it dry off to the side while I move to the next one.
The recommendation for clear silicone is a good one but it doesn't dry as evenly as softex. Also, if you use silicone, put Jet-dry on your fingers since it prevents the silicone from sticking better than just water. Jet Dry is that stuff you use in your dishwasher to keep soap residue from staying on your dishes.
I get a little dizzy from the Softex after a while but I usually can just take a nap and get right back to it:), I'm kidding. As long as you're not pregnant you should be okay.
I love softex for certain applications. My favorite trick is to use it over nylon braid material. The two combined allow for thin coating application with extreme strength. My "real eel" pattern (need to post it yet) is a point-down long shank realistic sand eel fly that uses body braid over a floating yarn core topped with softex. Even the flashabou or tiewell sparkleflash holds tight to the braid after softex is applied. The result is an extremely durable and effective fly. I also use it to protect the stick on eyes of the juvie. It's very strong and never yellows.
Epoxy definitely has it's place. I like to coat big banger poppers with a thin coat to protect the colors and eyes from bluefish fangs. It makes a nice clear and hard brace for the eyes of large sand eel patterns, and coats slim jim sliders. I no longer use it on juvies because of the yellowing problem. Silicone does not introduce shrinkage like softex does, but softex is stronger.
Silicone is great for shaping mega flies with fat profiles. They swim like plugs too! http://220.127.116.11/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif My only issue is that once saturated it loses strength and falls apart. Softex does not weaken, but constricts the materials during the drying process, so doesn't do as well as silicone for forming large profile bodies.
All have their place, IMHO.