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Full feather tutorial by Mr. Mike Townend

full feather Mike Townend JC placement tutorial

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14 replies to this topic

#1 peterdc


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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:33 AM

Hi guys


I had the honor to see Mr. Mike Townend at work on the bffi. As promised he made a full featherwing with the aim to make an SBS on one way to handle a full featherwing. The pattern tied is a don star, that means there a lot of JC to tie in. We go into deep on this, I even made a short movie to show the procedure for handle this.


1.   the first step is tying in tag/but/tail. We don’t go into this as we assume that this is familiar for everyone.


Attached File  SBS_01.jpg   6.23K   399 downloads


2.   The whole body is made from silver oval tinsel, there will be 6 bodyparts, every part veiled with 2 jungle cock’s back to back. Make the first bodypart (or should I say the last) and then place the upper and lower JC’s.


Attached File  SBS_02.jpg   6.8K   531 downloads


Above is the aimed result. Once the appropriate length of the JC is determined the hardest this is to determine and achieve the correct tying angle. To bring the JC in the correct angle, and also stay in this angle, Mike is using tweezers that’s heaten up shortly by a lightner. Keeping the JC for a few seconds on the right angle is the ‘trick’ to keep them like that. When the angle is like we want it to be we are gonna gently open both JC’s, this will make it possible to place the covert between the JC’s afterwards. Because a short movie tells more than thousands words I’ll added a movie of this process.


link to movie


3.   This way the whole bodypart is build. Every next tie-in of the JC must be shortly longer to create the aimed taper. When all JC’s are tied in and the whole body is finished the thread is changed to black thread.



front view of the fly.


Attached File  SBS_03.jpg   6.47K   525 downloads


It’s hard to see on the picture but due to the space there’s created between the nails the feather fits between them.



4.   The wing that will be used here is a macaw covert, the hardest thing when tying full featherwings is keep the profile low enough. Most of the time are the feathers to high what result in bulk on the hookshank when tied. For this reason a lot of tiers are cutting on the downpart of the wing to avoid that. It is very hard to accomplish that whitout leaving noticeable marks. Mike is using a method introduced by Steen Larson, to reduce the with of the wing he eliminates a few fibres sequential.


Attached File  SBS_04.jpg   6.66K   517 downloads



Only on the last third of the feather Mike removes 2 fibers on equal distance on both side of the rachis. This way the overall with of the feather will be fairly reduced without cutting on the outer edges. Below the result, the upper feather is original, the lowest is after removing the fibers. the result is clearly visible.


Attached File  SBS_05.jpg   7.69K   556 downloads


5.   When satisfied with the width of the wing we go further by tying it in. first flatten the stems with pliers and tie the wing along the JC’s, don’t try to get it inside.


Attached File  SBS_06.png   400.78K   561 downloads


6.   Only when the wing is placed as preferred the first row of the nails are get from underneath the wing with a needle.


Attached File  SBS_07.png   385.86K   594 downloads


7.   When all done this is the result.


Attached File  SBS_08.jpg   9.55K   568 downloads


8.   Next steps are tying in woodduck, chatterer, topping and horns. With this as an end result.


Attached File  SBS_09.jpg   12.57K   591 downloads


9.   The final step is cutting the ends and make the head. Because Mike didn’t have enough time to do this on the bffi I had to do this last stage. I did my utmost best not to ruin this beauty.


Attached File  SBS_final.jpg   22.1K   478 downloads



I also made a PDF-file available for download. 

Attached File  sbs donstar.pdf   13.03MB   137 downloads


I wanna say a big thanks to Mr. Mike Townend that was so friendly to make this stunning fly for me. Through the whole process he was very patient… I wasn’t there all the time. A lot of the time I was hunting on every stand to find some cool stuff, just like everyone I’m always searching for new and if possible some rare stuff. But I didn’t hear Mr. Mike complaining, not even once,… ever stage he was patiently waiting for me to come by for the shooting. For me it was a very pleasant experience to witness the making of this piece of art. The end-product is shining on my desk right in front of me and very soon I will do it justice by give it the frame it deserves.


Thank you Mike!







#2 whiskeyjin


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Posted 26 February 2014 - 12:06 PM

Great works Mike and you peter !!

Nice to see Mike tying in video and great information(tip).

Thanks for sharing Mike and Peter.

I'm really enjoyed this post !!





#3 phil j

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 01:16 PM

brilliant post peter and mike ,   saw this getting made   was great to watch        the heat trick is just brill 






#4 BSH


    Bogdan Shivrinskiy St.Petersburg, Russia

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 02:18 PM

Mega stuff!

Bogdan Shivrinskiy


#5 Jeff Dickey

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 02:58 PM

Great SBS.  Never tried the heated tweezer trick - will need to give it a go.



#6 jgogg


    Jim Goggans

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 03:21 PM

That is some great information.  Nothing better than learning some new (for me, at least) ideas for making the flies.  Many thanks!

Darwin award winner of flytying

#7 dave08


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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:22 PM

thanks mike and peter-awesome tutorial and the heated tweezer trick is should make things easier

David Elzea

#8 ruhan


    Ruhan Neethling

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 05:18 AM

Thanks for sharing this Mike and Peter.  A few things I will definitely take forward, especially considering the journey I am on at the moment....

#9 angler andrew

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:16 PM

Despite his hooligan nickname from Jens I've never met anyone as easy going and with so much patience as Mike. This fly is quite Bloody ridiculous in as much as you're not allowed to make a fly like this in a day not without super glue anyways,congrats on a super Traherne looking modern fly it's a real Belter I reckon!
another possible inductee into the slackers club

#10 BCBound


    Scott Norris, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 08:24 PM

Thanks Mike, thanks Peter!

I have a couple questions, if they are obvious please excuse my ignorance. It is afer all the end (nearly) of my work week so my brain is a bit like peat moss.

What exactly does the heating of the tweezers do to the JC?

In picture 7, it looks like the stem for the far side wing feather is tied slightly on the near side of the hookshank, while the near side wing feather appears to be tied down onto the hookshank. Is this done simply because that was the placement required in order to keep the wings centered and together? Or is there something there that I am missing?

Thanks again guys, lots of effort put into this.

Scott Norris

The sunken pool is nice and cool....

#11 Speyfly89


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Posted 28 February 2014 - 01:06 AM

Sweet thanks.guys question are The stems crossed for the macaw?
"The swing is the thing, the tug is the drug" unknown source


#12 Miketownend


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Posted 28 February 2014 - 07:19 AM

Hi Scott & Kevin


I have demonstrated the wing placing a few times.  This shot they are crossed but it did not alter the wing one bit and after I realised I had a laugh and just continued.  


Regards Mike

#13 BCBound


    Scott Norris, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 07:39 PM

Thanks Mike.

That's what I was thinking when I saw how true the wing was sitting on the hook.


Scott Norris

The sunken pool is nice and cool....

#14 Bud Guidry

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:45 PM

haaaaa, another guy I see who uses heat to manipulate feathers. we were suppose to keep this a secret mike. been using heat to racus for years





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My heart belongs to my family
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#15 lukas


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Posted 14 April 2014 - 05:21 PM

Just found this as ever from the man

Lets fish the Clyde

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