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Old 07-28-2009, 06:19 AM
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Default Muskrat Fur Patch -> Dubbing

Hi everyone, I'm new here and this is my first post. Im also pretty new to tying flies. I would like to practice tying a few Adams, and have acquired a patch of muskrat fur to use for dubbing. My questions is, how do I separate the underfur to make the dubbing, and then is there any use for the leftover guard hairs? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:20 AM
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Default Re: Muskrat Fur Patch -> Dubbing

My preferred method is to "sheer" it off using electric clippers I use on my dog. But scissors will work. I then place the clipped hair in a food processor/blender.....saved for just this use. The blender.......blends the hair into a uniform mix....evening out the color as well. Now I sometimes add rabbit to lighten the color or to add other tones. As far as guard hairs, I leave them in and pick them out if the tye requires it for best result. The guard hairs usually add more "bugginess" to the dub. Now you can alter the color of Muskrat easier if you have the whole hide. As you can add belly fur instead of rabbit to lighten the dubbing. As some can attest on this forum...i have no problem getting hides and use alot of 'rat dubbing in my more commercial efforts.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Muskrat Fur Patch -> Dubbing

Aroostookbasser is right on, in fact that is where I got my muskrat fur from (Thanks again!). I use scissors to cut the dubbing off and I too keep the guard hairs (makes for a very buggy looking pattern) and I do the mixing with an old electric coffee grinder.

Larry
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: Muskrat Fur Patch -> Dubbing

Zman welcome to the forum!

As others have said, a good thing to have if you mix your own dubbing is a coffee grinder- you can use it to chop stuff up, and mix different colors, adding in different materials colors to get the shade you want. But assuming you don't have one you want to dedicate to fly tying, there are a couple ways you can go.

For most stuff on the skin, you can carefully snip it close to the hide with scissors. Take the clump by the tips of the longer guard hairs in your right hand, and pinch the thumb and fore finger of your left hand and pull gently-- after a couple of strokes you should end up with mostly guard hair in your right and fuzzy under fur in your left.

A mustache comb or "dubbing rake" also works well, just combing the fur on the hide. They tend to grab the underfur and not the guard hair.

Another way to go is to use synthetics for dry fly dubbing. "Super Fine and "Fly Rite" are two popular brands. They sell individual packs in a variety of colors for around 3.50, or a better way to go if you are just starting out is an assortment that comes in 12 pack (with a handy dubbing dispenser) for around 15 bucks. The synthetic dry fly dubbing is very fine, dubs easily and doesn't soak up water.

Since you're just starting out, a little dubbing goes a long way, and a common mistake for beginning tyers is to use waaaaay too much. Just try and use enough to barely color the thread, as opposed to dubbing a noodle.

Good luck. Again welcome to the forum, keep asking questions as they come up, and take a browse through the fly tying tips sticky for some good info.

mark
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Muskrat Fur Patch -> Dubbing

Hello again, and thank you for the welcome, and the helpful responses. The idea of the coffee grinder somewhat begs the question as to whether or not it is then possible to ruin the hair by running it too long in the grinder?

Additionally, I can picture how leaving guard hairs in would make the dubbing more "buggy" (kind of like squirrel maybe?), but what is considered appropriate for an adams specifically?

Cheers.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Muskrat Fur Patch -> Dubbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zman3382 View Post
Hello again, and thank you for the welcome, and the helpful responses. The idea of the coffee grinder somewhat begs the question as to whether or not it is then possible to ruin the hair by running it too long in the grinder?

Additionally, I can picture how leaving guard hairs in would make the dubbing more "buggy" (kind of like squirrel maybe?), but what is considered appropriate for an adams specifically?

Cheers.
Using a coffee grinder doesn't seem to harm the guard hairs from my experience. When I get done there are always small areas that have less guard hairs that you can carefully pick out for dubbing in areas where you want a finer appearance. You just have to play around a little. For an adams you would want less guard hairs and like Mark said when you start, grab a clump of hair and using scissors you cut off the hide, then if you want less or no guard hairs simply grab the end you just cut and pull the guard hairs out. Usually, you will still have some small hairs remaining, but make a second pass and pull them out as well (just experiment).

Larry

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