Jump to content

ClassicFlyTying.com Sponsors
Hand Made Salmon Hooks
Ronn Lucas, Sr.
www.ronnlucassr.com
(503)654-0466
ronn@ronnlucassr.com

Photo

DISSECTING A VINTAGE FLY


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#21 ted patlen

ted patlen

    marstons mills, massachusetts....cape cod

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,075 posts

Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:38 PM

tremendous!

that is exactly what should be done , although the original looked superb and i wouldn't have cut that particular one up, however sacrificing one to find any tying methods was justification. you dis-assembly when coupled with the photos is one of the best tying aids i have ever read.


those beautiful things were made to catch fish and withstand the rigors of casting, water, teeth etc. high quality professional tyers had to tie quickly and their products had to be better than the norm or they just would not have sold. varnish was used extensively (and documented by many writers ). i am re-reading francis francis and his explanations of the tying of trout and salmon flies always stated varnish as a cementing agent AFTER the wing/operation was in place.

peter...i strongly believe if they had superglued they would have used it...it would have cut their tying time down by an hour or so. the professonals tied flies by quantity. they made a few dozen bodies then the wings ...a step by step procedure...the varnish needed time to dry, remember they didn't have the flies hanging from a vise with 14/0 thread wrappped around the feathers...5/0 or 6/0 silk was half hitched or held in "catch" so the wax was very important but varnish was also used when they put the fly down for a while. wouldn't you do the same thing now? varnish, lacquer whatever has always been used some of it was intentionally thinned, some left thicker for them to have a fast drying, deep penetration cement and NOT use it just doesn't make sense.

this HAS TO be pinned. exceptional study guide !

i will be away for a few days but can't wait to return to this thread. i have a few questions and i know i'll have more come to mind.

exciting and very important thread..

thank you
ted

did you notice any reversing of the thread especially when the sides were attached?...




#22 rick512

rick512

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts

Posted 22 July 2009 - 03:16 PM

Ryan -

One of the things I'm surprised about is the thread I think I saw you unwind from the hook. How thick was it? I don't think it was comparable to our 6/0.

Rick


#23 flyryan

flyryan

    Ryan Houston

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,470 posts

Posted 22 July 2009 - 03:52 PM



did you notice any reversing of the thread especially when the sides were attached?...
[/quote] i found some unusual wraps attaching the gut but that was all, the sides were tied in at the same time as the the main wing bunches and comprised a layer over the gp etc

Ryan Houston

 

to see the rest of the flies i have tied just visit  facebook page and browse my photos or galleries

https://www.facebook.com/Classic-FLIES-A-Z-766762363375794/

 

https://youtu.be/g8qFgPJD00c

 

https://www.facebook.com/RyanHoustonSalmonTroutAndPikeFlies?ref=hl


#24 flyryan

flyryan

    Ryan Houston

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,470 posts

Posted 22 July 2009 - 03:54 PM

QUOTE (rick512 @ Jul 22 2009, 04:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ryan -

One of the things I'm surprised about is the thread I think I saw you unwind from the hook. How thick was it? I don't think it was comparable to our 6/0.

Rick
i found at least 2 different types of thread both thicker than 6/0 sort of reminded me of sewing thread

Ryan Houston

 

to see the rest of the flies i have tied just visit  facebook page and browse my photos or galleries

https://www.facebook.com/Classic-FLIES-A-Z-766762363375794/

 

https://youtu.be/g8qFgPJD00c

 

https://www.facebook.com/RyanHoustonSalmonTroutAndPikeFlies?ref=hl


#25 Peter Kealey

Peter Kealey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts

Posted 22 July 2009 - 07:50 PM

QUOTE (flyryan @ Jul 22 2009, 04:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i found at least 2 different types of thread both thicker than 6/0 sort of reminded me of sewing thread


Ryan

I had a look at the thread that the gut was attached with. I "believe" (probably shoot myself in the foot with this) that it was Pearsalls Naples thread. Orange was a popular colour of choice and I remember reading somewhere that in the Pearsalls range of threads one of the strongest threads in both Gossamer and Naples was Orange.

I believe (probably shoot myself in the foot with this again) that it was to do with the dye process.

Cheers Pete smile.gif

#26 ibian

ibian

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 45 posts

Posted 22 July 2009 - 08:56 PM

That's so cool, Thanks for the history lesson.
Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation.

#27 Bud Guidry

Bud Guidry

    Ragin Cajun

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPip
  • 13,395 posts

Posted 22 July 2009 - 10:56 PM

the reason i made my earlier sarcastic remark about the varnish was from my own observation chopping apart old flies. i cut 15 or 20 apart and found only 1 or 2 that didn't have some sort of finish to seal all together, it wasn't hardened wax either, you could clearly see a clear yellowish and often black glassy substance holding the materials together, the thread and silks used at the head seemed waxed but they were then bonded into or with the fibers like some may have used a solution that was thinned considerably to soak thru the whole head area. i have no clue what it was but it wasn't harden wax,

i have always suspected things were not as they seemed or as i had read, when i began tying this was a big learning experience for me. i was purchasing loads of materials and old flies on ebay. chopping some flies for the hooks and keeping some as a visual aid. those i chopped didn't fall into the guidelines i had read about discribed in the books i was being led to. some were but many weren't tied at all as discribed. even found a couple that had been varnished under the butt sections and one fly that seemed to have had the head formed by a small glob of dark brown or black wax then thread was wrapped over this glob and finished. i remember a statement Mclain made to me long ago, when i first began tying, we were having a conversation about blacker, he said "don't always believe everything you read" today i know why john said this to me. you have only to read blacker to understand, or rather "not understand"

i strongly believe the tyers of today are much more accomplished than the tyers of yesteryear. flies for the fisherman have become flies for the art in todays world,
it takes much more skill to build a fly for art than a fly to fish. the old masters were given the opertunity to develope, threading new ground and laying the foundations we walk on today. but we should never believe they were the best and always will be, there are tyers today who can whip circles around those old masters. as ryan has demonstrated in this thread, there are guidelines we all follow in the art of fly tying, guidlelines set forth by our peers but never believe there isn't room for developement and technique . many times it's said all has been done and that may be true but there are many ways to skin a cat. to the beginners here i say, don't ever feel your breaking rules by applying cement to the head of a fly. no one can dispute the skills of Mr. Chute. but i watched him apply cement off the tip of a bodkin to the tail and tail vieling area on a fly he was building at a show in sommerset new jersey. was he cheating? it never crossed my mind, i think he was using his smarts at tying these flies and as teddy mentioned. if those old dogs had had superglue 100 years ago, you'd see it in their flies.


i've sat at tables at shows and tied wonderful flies, hundreds of people walking by and not a tube of glue to been seen around. but when i'm home i seal the heads of my flies with head cement. after i tie in the wing i apply a small dab to hold everything in place, i don't care if anyone knows this. they used this technique long ago, why should i restrict myself to doing things differently, if you think i can't do it without the glue, then i invite you to come watch me tie at any show or place i'll be tying. it's all the same fly people, but i'll tell you as Mr. Chute tells his audience, you can put my fly on the end of a line and it will catch a fish, over and over




respectfully


Bud

RAmidbuck.GIF
MY FLY PATTERN DATABASE

 

FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE OFFICIAL CLASSICS PAGE SLACKERS CLUB
HONORARY WINNER OF THE 2011 BIGGEST SLACKER AWARD

http://flyfishline.com/art_gallery2.php

My mind belongs to this forum
My heart belongs to my family
My soul belongs to my flies


#28 Sebastián Letelier Calvo

Sebastián Letelier Calvo

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 148 posts

Posted 24 July 2009 - 09:02 PM

Ryan many thanks for your time and for share this is very interesting

Best Sebas
www.sebastianletelier.cl

#29 roycestearns

roycestearns

    Advanced Member

  • Validating
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,480 posts

Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:14 AM

Ryan, You've done a great job in recording history in photos and in text. Thanks.

#30 lawrence

lawrence

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 43 posts

Posted 12 August 2009 - 12:17 PM

Ryan
nice step by step photos,are you going to do step by step re tying?
Laurie


#31 jonharrang

jonharrang

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 03:59 PM

Hello,

It hurts me to see such a lovely old antique torn apart but the information gleaned from this exercise is quite valuable and not otherwise attainable. I have always wanted my flies to look more like this one, now I have some new insights on how the true masters did it!

The fisherman in me suspects that the reason the crow was tied in after the butts was so that it would force the feathers to stick up a bit and have more play and visibility in the water. That's something I had not seen before and definitely worth trying! And encircling the hook with the IC rather than just on top and on bottom ensures that they are highly visible from any angle. (Note: Dave McNeese ties in his body veilings for steelhead flies such as the Red Wing in this fashion, it makes perfect sense from a fishing perspective!)

Note how the Indian Crow in this old fly closely resembles the way the IC tail & body veilings look in the old illustrated color plates (i.e. Kelson). I have long heard it said that the artists drawing the flies for those books were just being "fanciful" and actual salmon flies don't (or can't) look that way, but here we see that it really can be done!

It is a good habit to leave the tag ends of all materials long...this exercise shows how they can be "recycled" even more than a century later!

For me, a pretty fly is only one part of the overall equation. It must also be durable, built to last, and look good in the water. Here we see how it really should be done.

I do not see any jaw/vise marks on the hook, indicating that it was likely dressed in hand. Makes this tier's work all the more impressive if you ask me.

Thank you for this valuable contribution to the salmon fly tying community. With a little luck I will be able to dress and fish some patterns dressed in this fashion yet this fall!

ps - Contrary to what some folks have posted on this site, there is no way to compare the tiers of today with those of 100+years ago. It is absurd to say that the tiers today could run circles around the old timers, or vise versa. They were in the business of mass production, quickly building sturdy flies intended to be fished. Contrast that with today's salmon fly dressers - we spend hours agonizing over each and every detail with the goal of perfection so we can post the pictures on the internet and then have all our friends tell us what a fine job we did. Afterward we frame them and hang them on the wall. I am not saying this is a bad thing, only that it is an apples to oranges comparison. The salmon flies of yesteryear were fishing tools; The flies of today are an art form.

Thank you,

Jon Harrang
Redmond, OR USA


#32 waynev

waynev

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 112 posts

Posted 27 December 2009 - 08:52 PM

Observation 3/4 length gut as expected from a fishing fly,
was there any varnish on the gut to hook layer?

#33 flyryan

flyryan

    Ryan Houston

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,470 posts

Posted 29 December 2009 - 11:47 AM

QUOTE (waynev @ Dec 27 2009, 08:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Observation 3/4 length gut as expected from a fishing fly,
was there any varnish on the gut to hook layer?
i think it was more likely heavily waxed and as this ages and dries it sets hard

Ryan Houston

 

to see the rest of the flies i have tied just visit  facebook page and browse my photos or galleries

https://www.facebook.com/Classic-FLIES-A-Z-766762363375794/

 

https://youtu.be/g8qFgPJD00c

 

https://www.facebook.com/RyanHoustonSalmonTroutAndPikeFlies?ref=hl


#34 IanUK

IanUK

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts

Posted 10 August 2010 - 12:28 PM

Ryan
very interesting ,the tag i find strange with no thread but have seen it once before about 15 years ago when i took one apart , i always felt it was bad and a weak part of a fishing fly
Ian

#35 JimCanuck

JimCanuck

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:21 PM

QUOTE (Bud Guidry @ Jul 22 2009, 06:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
it takes much more skill to build a fly for art than a fly to fish. the old masters were given the opertunity to develope, threading new ground and laying the foundations we walk on today. but we should never believe they were the best and always will be, there are tyers today who can whip circles around those old masters.


I disagree. You looking at it from the wrong standpoint.

They did not build flies to look good for another fisherman. They were not fishing in their rivers and streams to attract another fisherman with fancy flies and not bring home any fish that day. They were fishing in their rivers and streams to catch fish to take home for supper. As such, they needed flies that worked for their intended job. For one their wives would have been very upset if their husbands went fishing all day and did not bring home dinner, and going to pick up take out didn't cut it. laugh.gif

Who is the better tyer? The tyer who, using observation, replication, and experimentation to develop flies that work for what they are meant for (ie to catch fish). Or are the tyers who who uses tyed flies as a display that will never be used for their intended purpose?

A great analogy, that fits well with fishing as a whole. Who is the better chef, the one that makes a plate that looks pleasing and tastes great, or the person that makes a plate that looks prefect, but is a little on the awful side when you take a bite out of it?

Jim

#36 Dave Carne

Dave Carne

    You can't aim high when hunting midgets

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,302 posts

Posted 14 January 2011 - 07:50 AM

QUOTE (JimCanuck @ Sep 17 2010, 03:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I disagree. You looking at it from the wrong standpoint.

They did not build flies to look good for another fisherman. They were not fishing in their rivers and streams to attract another fisherman with fancy flies and not bring home any fish that day. They were fishing in their rivers and streams to catch fish to take home for supper. As such, they needed flies that worked for their intended job. For one their wives would have been very upset if their husbands went fishing all day and did not bring home dinner, and going to pick up take out didn't cut it. laugh.gif

Who is the better tyer? The tyer who, using observation, replication, and experimentation to develop flies that work for what they are meant for (ie to catch fish). Or are the tyers who who uses tyed flies as a display that will never be used for their intended purpose?

A great analogy, that fits well with fishing as a whole. Who is the better chef, the one that makes a plate that looks pleasing and tastes great, or the person that makes a plate that looks prefect, but is a little on the awful side when you take a bite out of it?

Jim


Cobblers - there were exhibition/competition tyers in those days too - there is far greater skill in tying a full dressed to its idealised perfection (WITHOUT resorting to glue and other unacceptable cheats) than simply 'knocking up' something for fishing - however a good fly should have push, soul and MUST be fishable (I hate contrived looking flies - feathers should be allowed to behave like feathers).

The best tyers of the 'golden era' were of course all ultimately aiming to tie a fishable fly - but the whole full dressed craze of the later Victorian period has more to do with 'kings new clothes' and impressing other fishermen than it does with 'observation, replication, and experimentation' (not unlike the current tackle craze and similarly was championed by the personalities of the day as say a new spey rod launch gets today)... Its a fact (even recorded by Kelson in the Salmon Fly) that when they fished with equal vigor the much simpler spey flies far outfished the complex full dresseds.

Dave

PS Having seen A LOT of originals - whilst some are utter gems (by people like Rogan) - many are an absolute mess - the level of skills today amongst the very best tyers (even though they tend to tie much bigger and sadly usually with synthetic thread) far outstrips the majority of tyers in the past (with obvious exceptions as mentioned).

#37 Pipat

Pipat

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 17 January 2011 - 08:47 AM

Thank you ^^

#38 flyryan

flyryan

    Ryan Houston

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,470 posts

Posted 22 October 2011 - 10:08 AM

http://s1186.photobu...mview=slideshow

this is the link to the stevenson dissection and retie slideshow

Attached Files


Ryan Houston

 

to see the rest of the flies i have tied just visit  facebook page and browse my photos or galleries

https://www.facebook.com/Classic-FLIES-A-Z-766762363375794/

 

https://youtu.be/g8qFgPJD00c

 

https://www.facebook.com/RyanHoustonSalmonTroutAndPikeFlies?ref=hl


#39 flyryan

flyryan

    Ryan Houston

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,470 posts

Posted 22 October 2011 - 10:38 AM

http://s1186.photobu...mview=slideshow

heres a link to a slideshow of a vintage mixed wing dissection interesting that all the fibres came from one feather side and were tied on in 3 bunches plus the horns which were actually 3rd on and then another bunch

Attached Files


Ryan Houston

 

to see the rest of the flies i have tied just visit  facebook page and browse my photos or galleries

https://www.facebook.com/Classic-FLIES-A-Z-766762363375794/

 

https://youtu.be/g8qFgPJD00c

 

https://www.facebook.com/RyanHoustonSalmonTroutAndPikeFlies?ref=hl


#40 angler andrew

angler andrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,569 posts

Posted 22 October 2011 - 12:01 PM

Hi Ryan I applaud your bravery on here,id not be able to Dissect a fly like this although theres a huge difference in dissecting a fly and merely chopping the thing up for materials ect.
Good that someone mentioned the illustrations that so many folk seem to think were just fanciful artwork,Can you imagine someone as meticulous as Kelson making do with something that bear no resemblance to his flies?

I like your rebuild as well Ryan,I tied my first evr fly like this having read in Kelson and PT that the wings are made this way ie left on right,right on left,I actually thought I was going nuts when I was told this was wrong!

Anyway great little thread and good that it will be pinned I reckon.

Andrew.
another possible inductee into the slackers club