Dedicated To The Smallest Of Skiffs banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Capt Parker D
Joined
·
229 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve been tying for a few years now, but my spun deer hair heads never seem to come out right. Any tips on how to pack it tighter?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Its definitely a pain sometimes and I would say best thing is just tying a bunch with it to get the feel for it. Theres a few other things I would say could help..
- GSP thread lets you put a lot of pressure on the thread and lets you spin the hair a little better
- getting some quality deer hair thats fairly long lets you get better control of it
- there's lots of good YouTube videos that walks through it and can give some more tips
Good luck with the tying!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts

Steve Potter tying a Dahlberg Diver. The deer hair diver, Dahlberg diver, and borski sliders are the only spun and trimmed deer hair patterns I tie.

I don’t think either of those have to be packed super tight to fish well. Some tiers produce super tight, precision trimmed, masterpieces. Pat Cohen is a name known for beautiful spun Deer Hair work.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX86ivFplHpokKcj9PPyUWQ
 

·
Fly-By-Night
Joined
·
3,182 Posts
If you want tight deer hair you should be stacking and packing, not spinning.

Pat Cohen as mentioned earlier can explain some of the better techniques.

You also need a heavy duty packer, Cohen makes an excellent one called the fugly packer, but these tools can be made at home with little effort. I've made small packers but bought a large one of his because it was quicker and easier.

X2 on GSP is a must, also you need a quality vise, you don't want the hook shifting around with the pressure you'll be needing to apply to pack the hair up the shank to get it right.

Happy Tying, good luck.
IMG_20161206_205651734.jpg IMG_20161206_205744684.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,752 Posts
I’ve found over the years that deer belly hair is much easier to spin than what most use for spinning hair...

Once you’ve spun and packed your hair the best tool for cutting and shaping deer hair is a brand new double edged razor blade - nothing’s better. I always very carefully crack mine in half lengthwise, creating two blades to cut with (grab an end in the middle with a small pair of nippers then bend the razor back and forth until each end cracks so you only have one sharp edge to use).

The very thin steel in a double edged blade slices through hair like it was butter. The moment the blade no longer slices cleanly - replace it...

Be careful those thin blades will slice into you just as easily...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
If you want to spin deer in a symmetrical way the hair must be spun on a bare hook shank. How dense you want the head varies by pattern but if you want it tight you have to jam it home hard. There are several great tools available. Cohen's is one. I have been using the same ballpoint pen with the guts taken out for years.

Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,752 Posts
I've got several of those old ball points - each in a different size - very handy for packing hair, moving a half hitch on your thread up under flared out hair, etc... The best part is that they're free... Years and years ago before fly fishing got popular we simply didn't have access, mostly, to the tools we wanted so you learned to make your own...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
379 Posts
The best improvement I have found in spinning deer hair is to use G.S.P. thread. It is very strong and you can torque down on it without breaking. Just make sure you pack it as much as possible. Cut with an old style two edge razor for shaving, you can bend it into a shape. There are plenty of videos on youtube and if you use the GSP thread it will be easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
938 Posts
A102220B-CD04-417E-A7E2-250B532FA121.jpeg 403E3E28-E3C1-46CB-86D1-3C9D479FF030.jpeg Here’s 2 good examples of Stacking vs spinning. Both are tied with 100d GSP. The better the vise, the better you can spin&stack. Belly hair as capt mentioned earlier does spin easier. Being more hollow it flairs better and allows you to compress it better. Buy a big pack of razors off amazon or if you use an old murker open comb(as I do), just use the blades that are too dull for your face. Just takes time and practice. There are some artist when it comes to deer hair, I’m not one of them. I try to keep things simple. So don’t try to make a 10colored frog. Just start with simple single color patterns and work up from there. Be careful though, you’re already falling down the rabbit hole....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
379 Posts
I've got several of those old ball points - each in a different size - very handy for packing hair, moving a half hitch on your thread up under flared out hair, etc... The best part is that they're free... Years and years ago before fly fishing got popular we simply didn't have access, mostly, to the tools we wanted so you learned to make your own...
I think we cripple ourselves with these tools. Those guys back in the day tied with just their hands and no vise, no bobbin cradle. Hell most people think you need special scissors when any small sewing scissors will work.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
If you want tight deer hair you should be stacking and packing, not spinning.

Pat Cohen as mentioned earlier can explain some of the better techniques.

You also need a heavy duty packer, Cohen makes an excellent one called the fugly packer, but these tools can be made at home with little effort. I've made small packers but bought a large one of his because it was quicker and easier.

X2 on GSP is a must, also you need a quality vise, you don't want the hook shifting around with the pressure you'll be needing to apply to pack the hair up the shank to get it right.

Happy Tying, good luck.
View attachment 106672 View attachment 106676

^ That's what I was thinking. ^

The super tight deer hair flies look great and all, but I would go with function over form on this one. Sometimes a super tight head is not needed or even wanted based on the desired performance of the fly. Then again, sometimes it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
I too just use my “fangers” as they say it around here to pack the hair. Watch those double sided razor blades will do a number on said fangers. I like the blades better than scissors, lots faster and neater for this shaky hand old man. Astra was the brand I bought. Very inexpensive on the big river site.

I Don’t use a comb or a hair stacker either. These deer hair patterns definitely don’t need to be perfect or beautiful to catch fish. Maybe if you want to sell some...then make them beautiful.
 

·
I Love microskiff.com!
Joined
·
1,531 Posts
I just started spinning deer hair a couple months ago. I was told to use belly hair, make sure you pull or brush out the guard hairs, make about 2.5 loose wraps and then pull tight and around the hook. I'm not great at it but I've not had any real problems with it. It took me about 6 tries before I got a consistent spin. 239 Flies has a good video on spinning the devil's hair.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,752 Posts
for Karstopo... that's why the first thing I do with a double edged razor blade is crack it in half... That makes it much safer to work with, having two single blades to use one at a time...

and for Snakesurf - I agree that less "tools" is the way to go. I was a commercial tyer for many years (1979 to just a few years ago) as well as a commercial bucktail maker so I learned long ago to do everything with the fewest tools possible since it speeds up your work product. For spinning hair though a packer is very handy.. I must admit, though, the one type of bug I never wanted to do for any shop was something that involved spinning hair. It just takes me too long to do right so I always declined those patterns when I was doing it for money.... Here's a pic of one of the patterns that I never made for any shop...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
The only time I’ve cut myself in any significant way is trying to take the blade out of the paper wrapper for the first time. These Astra blades come in little boxes of five and then each blade is wrapped in a folded and glued wax paper that resists opening. The razor cut right through the paper and into my finger when I applied a little pressure getting the package open.

That’s the most dangerous part of much of the things we buy, getting the packaging open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
The comments about belly hair are spot on. If you're stacking, spinning - whatever - it is a night & day difference using belly hair versus buck tail, which I assume may be causing your problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
There’s deer belly and deer body. I’ve spun both. Both are sold for spinning. I’ve never tried spinning buck tail. I’m not sure if it’s very suitable for spun and trimmed patterns.

The belly hair is normally from whitetail deer and is white and takes dye better to a more true shade reflective of the dye. It flairs with more ease under less tying pressure on the thread. I think deer body hair spins well enough for deer hair divers or borski sliders. Whatever color it’s dyed to, the natural underlying hair effects the shade of the dyed hair. That hair could be whitetail or mule deer and maybe other species.

https://midcurrent.com/flies/fly-tying-hair-selection/
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top