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Thread: Head cement question

  1. #1
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    Default Head cement question

    I was planning on tying up some salmon flies this weekend but my cement is no where to be found. I dont have any place within 50 miles that sells head cement so i was wondering how nail polish like "hard as nails" would work. Any thoughts?

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    I have tried several different brands of head cement over the years, never really liked any of them and they always solidified before I used one up. Switched to clear nail polish and never looked back.

  3. #3

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    It'll work. If you have any of the clear water-based urethane or varathane finishes in your shop, they're super. In fact I like them better than anything I've ever bought in a fly shop, hobby shop or cosmetic counter. I use Diamond Finish varathane I got from the hardware store. Cut it 50% with water and it penetrates very well. Use it full strength and you still get some penetration, but a lot shinier finish. In fact I do the dilute mostly, but if I want a tougher head I go back later and add a coat of full strength.

    Just one thing to watch for. If you put it in the standard finish bottle with the needle applicator in the lid, it will eventually rust the needle and turn red/brown. I don't know of any such bottles with stainless needles, so I just don't use them.

  4. #4

    Default Aquaseal for head cement

    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    I was planning on tying up some salmon flies this weekend but my cement is no where to be found. I dont have any place within 50 miles that sells head cement so i was wondering how nail polish like "hard as nails" would work. Any thoughts?
    Aquaseal works great in a pinch and will dry clear as well. It works great when you also forget your head cement in the field, usually somebody has some extra aquaseal on them. It will also dry quicker is you use a accelerator but not mandatory.

    This is a intruder I tied with a aquaseal head.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Feb 2012 012.jpg  

  5. #5
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Clear nail polish is an old trick - and widely used.
    One plus is the formulation is quick drying and dries to a hard finish, but prob lots of things will work.

    Code 99: Aquaseal isn't too goopy, eh? And it dries a little tacky too, doesn't it?
    I've used Aquaseal dots on sleeping pads to keep my sleeping bag from sliding off so much - tacky in a good way.

  6. #6
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    If you're just doing hair tailed sockeye flies, I'd just soak the head with superglue and be done with it.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  7. #7
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    Call me crazy but if it is not a epoxy fly I stopped using anything to put on the head of any fly I try. With today threads and a proper knot tied to finsih your fly I just don't see the need to add any finishing material. That is not to say don't use it just I have found no need in fact stop using it about 20 years ago. Call me crazy! Intersting conversation though.

    Thight Lines.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post
    Call me crazy but if it is not a epoxy fly I stopped using anything to put on the head of any fly I try. With today threads and a proper knot tied to finsih your fly I just don't see the need to add any finishing material. That is not to say don't use it just I have found no need in fact stop using it about 20 years ago. Call me crazy! Intersting conversation though.

    Thight Lines.
    Hmmm. What if that works. Why wouldn't it? Gonna have to try that out, Moose.
    Thx.

  9. #9

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    I never use it on Glo Bugs because I just go through them too fast. Back "in the day" when I lived in the Northwest and chased steelhead 12 mo's a year there was a fad where you were supposed to worry about stray smells spooking the steelhead, and lotsa guys didn't use head cement because of the smell. I kept on using it, and I caught as many as anyone else. But more to your point, I don't recall anyone having problems with the fly coming apart as long as they knew how to tie a good whip finish.

  10. #10
    Member 900fusion's Avatar
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    I agree with blue moose 95% of my flies that I tie don't have cement on them. A couple whip finishes and done. Haven't had and problems with it yet. Knock on wood.
    -Tight Lines & head shakin

  11. #11

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    I also rarely use head cement. I have never had one fail yet.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slayintrout View Post
    I also rarely use head cement. I have never had one fail yet.
    I can't say that I have NEVER had one fail, but I have tied commercially (25,000 per year between my wife, son and myself) and have compared flies cemented and not on several occasions. I can say that with a well tied and whip finished fly, very few will fail unless they have been chewed by several fish, which I don’t mind at all! I can also say that I usually loose flies before they fail often especially with salmon flies as I bounce them off the bottom rocks quite a bit. But if you really want to “make it right” you will use good “penetrating” cement for the best results. Waxed threads hold very well without cement but “regular” thread will hold longer and through more fish with cement. Just my 5 cents worth, but I think I have tied and tried as many or more flies than the average bear and this is what I have found.

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