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Old 07-01-2011, 04:04 PM
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Default Fly Thread

I'm wanting to start tying flies. My wife bought me a 'fly tying starter kit' as a gift. Bless her heart, there isn't much that is useful. It is all very cheaply made. I was using the bobbin and thread and the thread kept braking. I've adjusted the bobbin the best I could and the thread keeps braking. I would be surprised if the thread is sewing thread

So my question; is there a difference between sewing and fly tying thread?
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by smoky_hiker View Post
I'm wanting to start tying flies. My wife bought me a 'fly tying starter kit' as a gift. Bless her heart, there isn't much that is useful. It is all very cheaply made. I was using the bobbin and thread and the thread kept braking. I've adjusted the bobbin the best I could and the thread keeps braking. I would be surprised if the thread is sewing thread

So my question; is there a difference between sewing and fly tying thread?
There are MANY kinds of fly tying thread (and sewing thread I imagine), but I doubt the kit came with some cotton sewing thread that will not work. The thread is the one thing that is probably worth using in your kit. I think most thread is Polyester; but there are various sizes. The very thin thread will break very easily. It takes a while to get the right touch; pulling tight enough, but not breaking it off. There is Monocord and kevlar for very big heavy flies, and they are very hard to break, but small flies need small diamater thread; and it just breaks.
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by smoky_hiker View Post
I'm wanting to start tying flies. My wife bought me a 'fly tying starter kit' as a gift. Bless her heart, there isn't much that is useful. It is all very cheaply made. I was using the bobbin and thread and the thread kept braking. I've adjusted the bobbin the best I could and the thread keeps braking. I would be surprised if the thread is sewing thread

So my question; is there a difference between sewing and fly tying thread?
There is a good chance the bobbin that came with the kit is the cause of your thread breaking.

One tool you'll use every time you tie a fly is a bobbin. This little gem holds the thread and keeps tension on it while you tie the fly. It has a small tube (some are larger than others) that the thread runs through. Thank God it's smaller than my fingers, or I'd never get a small fly tied.

Click the image to open in full size.
Bobbins come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but they all perform the same duty. Some have ceramic tubes the thread runs through, others are just stainless steel. Some are flared, some are straight at the end of the tube, and some have mysterious bends in the frame designed to make them easier to hold. Some have ceramic or jeweled inserts on the end of the tube and some have springs that reel up the slack thread while you use them. Good bobbins never cut the thread and cheap bobbins almost always cut the thread, so it's wise to invest in a good bobbin or two. One thing they all have in common; they all hold the thread and have a small tube that makes it easier to direct the thread to the right place on the hook. I have over a dozen ceramic bobbins pre-loaded with thread on my fly tying desk at all times.
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

I've never been able to keep thread from breaking in cheap bobbins. Make sure you're using a ceramic tip or ceramic tube bobbin - you'll have to pay more, but since it's the single most commonly used tool, it's worth spending some money. Thread never breaks at convenient times.

The other thing that takes a little getting used to is applying the right pressure. It's pretty easy to break fly tying thread with too much pressure, and you don't need to apply as much pressure as you might think to the thread to get nice tight wraps.

Is there a label on the thread? What kind is it?
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

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Is there a label on the thread? What kind is it?
No there is no label on the thread or on the packaging. Thats why I'm betting its sewing thread
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

+1 on a ceramic bobbin recommendation. That was my first thought upon reading your post.

Then I went back and thought about that fly tying kit that my father bought me years ago for Christmas. Best gift I've ever recieved. Undoubtedly the materials were not of great quality, BUT that kit is responsible for getting me into tying.

Back to the thread, I know of some guys who use craft store thread, so I'm inclined to believe most anything will work providing that it's the color you want, is not too bulky or too light for the pattern you're tying. As mentioned, getting the right amount of tension on your fly takes a bit of practice. Use this stuff up and don't feel too bad for wasting it. As you start to expand your horizons, buy what you need for a few patterns and have at it. Before you know it, you'll have more materials than you know what to do with.

Good luck.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

I started out using flat waxed nylon thread. It does not break easily. I would start with that, and then gradually try more threads..such as 6/0. Then you can slowly get into smaller threads as you feel comfortable. Before you buy a lot of colors, make sure you decide what threads you prefer. I have a ton of flat waxed nylon thread in a variety of colors, and now I rarely use them. I prefer Flymasters by Danville, or Uni in 140 denier. I can now use smaller threads without breaking them so much. Bennichi (sp?) is a great thread, and it is small, but it is expensive. I have it in black and white. I use it if I want to make a small head, or for special flies. Lately I have really enjoyed the 140 denier because it does not break easy, plus I can tell when the thread is flattened easier than with other threads so far.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:33 AM
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I'm with the many others here on the Ceramic bobbins. I bought Charlie Cravens beginners book and it explains a TON, as well as telling you what he uses personally and why. If nothing else you can call/email him and I'm sure he'll answer your questions.

As far as threads, I keep buying the better quality over cheaper price. I wanted to learn to tie do to the lack of construction of flies I was buying in stores. I've only been tying for a month or two and am tying flies that are lasting MUCH longer than flies I was buying so will continue buying quality over price. It is a LITTLE bit more expensive, but not much more, and once you have your base supplies, restocking becomes a lot easier in the wallet.


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Old 07-03-2011, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by smoky_hiker View Post
No there is no label on the thread or on the packaging. Thats why I'm betting its sewing thread
I actually used sewing thread on my Pike flies when I did big epoxy covered heads. Sewing thread is actually tougher than most fly tying thread. So more than likely as you had said about the stuff in the kit, "It is all very cheaply made." that is probably just the case with the thread to. There may also be a BURR INSIDE THE TUBE ON THE BOBBIN. i HAVE A BOBBIN THAT KILLS THREAD. Dang caps lock! Ckeck your bobbin and see if that is the problem.
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Fly Thread

I started out tying with mostly 6/0 thread. After learning a bit and starting to tie smaller patterns I started using some 8/0 when needed and found that it breaks quite easily.

This could very well be just a case of the tying kit coming with 8/0 thread and an inexperienced tyer (Tier?) breaking it off.

Regardless of whether or not the bobbin has a ceramic tube, 8/0 thread will break easily if the tension on the bobbin is not adjusted correctly. To adjust the tension on a standard bobbin you need to manually spread the legs until the thread comes off very easily. Then when you need more tension you grip the legs tighter against the thread to adjust the tension.

Every bobbin I have (cheap or not) came too tight and had to be adjusted.
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