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BigCliff 06-22-2005 02:37 PM

Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
Calling all tiers!

I was just curious to find out how many of our tiers whip finish with a tool versus with their fingers.

I personally use a tool (Matarelli style, dist by Umpqua) but I think I remember well enough how to do it by hand to get by if I need to.

Let us know!

Tangle 06-22-2005 02:41 PM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
I voted for fingers since it just seems quicker than finding my whip finisher. :icon_mrgr

Gordon Bryson 06-22-2005 03:31 PM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
I use both. I find it kinda cool to use the fingers and do it manually, especially if you're tying off at the tail or further back from the hook eye. But it's usually quicker to finger tie than finding the tool on my cluttered bench.
I don't worry too much about the quality of the whip or even a half hitch as I use a drop of super glue on almost all fly heads.

BigCliff 06-22-2005 04:31 PM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
Gordo I take a slightly different approach. I look at super glue as a potentially disatrous hassle, so I just do three whip finishes on every fly I tie that has room. I can do that quicker than going for the glue.

Gordon Bryson 06-22-2005 04:58 PM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
Cliff, I used to have a problem with the super glue when I thought the only type to use was Zap-a-Gap, etc. I've started buying the little tubes of it at Home Depot, Lowes, Wally World, etc at about $0.50 a tube. A tube of it will last a long time, is easy to use, and I can usually find it in the mess pretty easily. When I bought the Zap I'd usually wind up with a bottle of it gone bad before I used it up. If I don't tie very often, this can sometimes happen in the little tubes, but then you haven't lost a lot when it does. I've also found dispensing it out of the tube is easier than a wire applicator from the other. Anyway, just my 2 cents worth. I do feel more secure with a good whip finish, and I have had some flies come unraveled if I'd not got a good coating on the thread.

fshfanatic 06-22-2005 06:17 PM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
2 Attachment(s)
You are supposed to whip finish your flies? Well, that explains why mine keep falling apart.

Seriously, I use a tool. Not sure the name of it, see picture.

Chris Hewett 06-22-2005 11:28 PM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
I learned to whip finish with my fingers at age 16 when I couldn't afford a tool. I still don't own one so I can't say which is easier or better.
I tied flies for years without a bobbin. I clipped a clothes pin on the spool of thread. When I finally bought one, I realized how much easier tying was than I ever thought possible.
Tools can make a huge difference, I just never bothered with a whip finisher.

BigCliff 06-23-2005 08:07 AM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
Gordon, I really should try that. My last super glue was the "Krazy Glue" in the plastic tube and it took some maintenance just to make it work every time. the cheap multi packs sounds like a better way to go.

Mike, that one's definitely a Matarelli style, although it looks like there is something on the diagonal section of the arm that I've never seen before. I only know the difference between the two main types because the first one I bought was a Thompson, the other style, and I found it more frustrating to use than any other tool I have ever attempted.

Salmo I will say that the improvement of whip-finish tool over fingers will not be anywhere near as noticeable as the improvement you noticed with the bobbin over a clothespin. I'm still trying to figure out how exactly you did that!

Gordon Bryson 06-23-2005 08:27 AM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
Sal, my first fly tying kit was from Herters, a Minnesota company that is no longer in business, unless it was the parent of some other company today. They carried everything for hunting, fishing, camping, etc.

The vise was a bent-up piece of metal similar to the little brackets you buy at the hardware store now to reinforce picture frames, shelves, etc. It had a thumb screw on each end, one to hold it to a table and the other to secure the hook in. There was no bobbin in the kit, so we just held the thread as tight as necessary. I don't even recall if there was a pair of scissors. I think it must have had some type hackle pliers. A little chennille, a few odd colored feathers, etc. This was about 1946. I didn't return to fly fishing and fly tying until about 1997. Wow, that's a long drought.

I pass this along to the younger members, don't let that happen to you. You miss too much along the way.

Today, with all the nice tools for fly tying, I still like to make a lot of my own stuff, and I get a kick out of improvising. I have a bunch of home made
bobbins, threaders, etc that seem to work as well as the purchased ones.
And, making a whip finish with your fingers is just cool.

mike 06-23-2005 09:40 AM

Re: Tiers: Whip Finish- Tool or Fingers?
i was to stupid or lazy (i forget) to learn with my fingers when i first started, used a tool for 10 years. my tool broke on a fishing trip not to long ago so i was forced to tie off with half hitches. since then my dad sat down and stayed with it i learned now i almost never pick up a whip finisher tool.

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