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  1. Default Head Cement or Super Glue?

    Hi all. I'm new to fly tying and was wondering the pros/cons of head cement vs superglue. I have one better than the other?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?


    There are a lot of different glues, adhesives and special sauces used in fly tying, including the head cement, CA glues, superglue, vinyl cements and epoxy, and all have their place depending on what you're tying.

    But for most fly tying, like trout dries, wets, nymphs, and streamers the head cement (or Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails) will work better for you. It's easier to apply with a bodkin to get into small spaces, and soaks into the thread. You generally want it to be thin so it soaks into the thread, and if you want a glossy head on some flies, several thin coats are better than one thick one.

    Superglue tends to get into materials, and can be a little more of a mess to work with. But it would be a good choice if you were tying foam bass bugs, to put a dab on a thread body before you push the foam in place to lock it to the shank. You might also use it for gluing doll eyes to a spun deer hair head on a bass bug, and it probably wouldn't hurt to use when locking the dumbbell eyes in place on a clouser for example.

    Epoxy is used on some saltwater flies to form a specific shape, and can be helpful to use on heads of large flies like 2/0-6/0 instead of head cement on flies for toothy fish.

    In most cases, it's the thread tension that holds everything in place. Three good wraps are better than 10 poor ones and gobs of glue. It's tough to get a feel for the proper amount of tension at first, and if you're like most of us you'll break it midway thru some flies as you get the feel for how much tension you can use especially on the thinner stuff.

    If you're having problems getting stuff to stay in place, post the pattern and the problem. Lot's of folks will chime in with suggestions and tips they've learned probably the hard way from going thru the same learning pains we all go thru.

    Hope this helps.


  3. Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    On trout flies I seldom, if ever, use any glue or cement. For some freshwater streamers and saltwater flies I use epoxy, softtex, silicon caulk and other concoctions to protect the thread wraps from toothy fish or to hold a specific shape to the fly.

    Like peregrines already siad, concentrate on good technique and even wraps.

    "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." John Gierach

  4. Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    Thanks for the responses. I should have included detail that I fish saltwater so the flies are relatively large. I use superglue on eyes for clousers and epoxy on polar fiber minnows. I was wondering if there are pros/cons to super glue vs head cement when it comes to securing the whip finish on a clouser (for example).

  5. Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    Try using a drop of z-poxy on the Clouser wraps...
    "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." John Gierach

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    What he said.

    i use 2 thin coats of 5 min epoxy on the heads of a lot striper and bluefish stuff like clousers and heads of stuff like deceivers when I want to cover stick on eyes on a thread head.... as well as for stuff like surf candies etc. A turning wheel helps to avoid bumps from sagging. It takes 5 min to set up, but 20 min to cure so it can sag if you aren't paying attention. You can make your own turner for cheap out of a disco ball, micro wave turn table, or rotisserie motor.

    Some folks, like Bob Popovic swear by Tuffle Eye which is a special light wave (not UV) cured resin used in dentistry, but the initial set up is expensive at around $80 for the light plus a starter tube of resin. After that it's not bad in terms of cost. The advantage is that it sets up instantly so no need to turn, no stink, and stays clear without yellowing. Epoxy will tend to yellow after coming in contact with sunlight, not that it affects catching.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    I use all 3 at some point in time. I also use rubber cement. Thing is its all in what you are doing. For the flies I tie (which are bigger and for fish with lots of teeth) I often use epoxy or this stuff called hard head. The two dry about the same and give a strong, hard finish on things. Only thing is you must know how it is going to dry. The hard head that I use tends to take longer to dry but dries thinner. Several coats are needed and can kinda be a pain. Epoxys can take forever to dry if you did not mix it right or if you did like I have tried, get a 30 sec epoxy I dont recomend it. Now with super glue I tend to use it on the under sides, or at some place in the fly as an anchering point. Trouble is super glue can become brittle or flake off easy. I've had both happen. For super glue I use Fish'n Glue. Very good stuff and it bonds skin in seconds and has no odder when dry. I have found that a fly will last longer when the base thread is secured by a thin glue then the head is made from epoxy or a head cement. Though its more of a to each his own main thing is to secure what your tieing. One last thing, its also all in what your after and fly type. For big fish that will prob destroy the fly at one hit epoxy is a good idea. I fish mainly for pike in clear water and some bass. Both have yet to show signs of not likeing the way an epoxy/head cement looks. However, I have used rubber cement. Be very carful on what kind you use on this stuff. Some can stay very flexible after dry. This allows for a give in the matterial if needbe but for my apps it just dont work or hold up.
    <*))))>< Fish with teeth ... If I ty it a fish will hit it

  8. Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    Thanks all! Speaking of epoxy, does anyone have trouble with air bubbles? I use 2-part Devcon 5 min epoxy and mix it as gently as possible. I still end up with bubbles and it drives me nuts! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    FYI - I mix equal parts on a smooth piece of plastic using a small piece of wood. No rough surfaces to incorporate air into the mixture.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    Loon Head Cement, or Sally's Hard as Nails works good to me....I would rarely use anything different, and they are reasonably priced.
    As long as I get a bite, I don't want to leave!

  10. Default Re: Head Cement or Super Glue?

    Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but I found this thread today while searching the web for information on Fish'n Glue. I noted below that MrEsox uses and touts it (at least he did in 2008).

    I am a primitive angler, meaning that I fish for largemouth bass in the southwestern USA. However, perhaps I am worthy of your assistance because both of my sons have somehow lost their way and grown up to become flyfishing devotees. Initially that parental rejection was devastating but now I find that it's not really so bad because the elder one is custom building a G Loomis flipping stick for me!

    Anyway, I am wondering if MrEsox or someone else who haunts these forums could advise me as to whether Fish'N Glue is still available in the UK or elsewhere and if so from whom and at what price? In the USA this stuff, which I love for several bassfishing applications, is recently out of production and apparently no longer available anywhere even as overstock/remainders.

    I signed up for this forum today just so I could ask for your help.

    Newbie comment: the posts in this forum (I have now looked at many glue-related threads here) are so very much more polite and helpful (and drily humorous) than the average bass angler post to which I am accustomed! Kudos to your community for its approach to this mode of angler interaction.

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