Dyeing wingless wets.

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Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby daringduffer » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:18 am

The following taken from "W. Blacker's Art of angling, and complete system of fly making, and dying of colours." when I was looking for something else which will surface in another post.

To be found here:http://books.google.se/books?pg=PP11&id=-I_lJlWnv_gC&ots=fibGr2k7v9#v=onepage&q&f=false



Provide a small crucible, or pot, with a handle, to contain one quart of water. Before you dye your pighair or mohair, you must scour it in urine and water of equal parts, allowing half an hour to boil ofT. Have a small piece of clean wood to stir each of your dyes. Before entering into the particulars of dyeing your stuff or hackles, it is necessary to give an idea of the primary or principal colours, which are Jive in number, viz. blue, red, yellow, brown, and black, each of these can furnish a great number of shades, from the lightest to the darkest; and from the combination of two or more of these different shades, arise all the colours in nature.


Fill your crucible three parts full of soft river waler, put it on a slow Are, at the same time, put in a teaspoon full of paste blue, to be had at the dry-salters. Stir it well; when it U more than lukewarm, take a table spoonful of cold water, drop into it twelve drops of oil of vitriol, put this in your blue dye, and then put in a quarter of an ounce of pighair, hackles, or mohair, (previously scoured) remarking, at the same time, to wet your stuff in hot water, and wring it before putting it into the dye. Boil it slowly fifteen or twenty minutes, take it out with your piece of wood, and immediately immerge it in a pan of cold water, (as oil of vitriol will not stand the air). Dry your stuff, and your colour will be fine.


Put into your crucible, water, as above, boil in it two handfuls of Brazil wood with your stuff, (a quarter of an ounce of pig-hair or mohair) half an hour, then take it out and cool your dye with a little cold water, before you put in the oil of vitriol, (quantity as above, or a little more if required,) then put in your stuff; let it simmer slowly one hour on a slow fire; take it out, immerge it immediately as above ; wring or dry it; your red will be lasting. If you would have a beautiful claret, add first to the red wood, or Brazil wood, half the quantity of logwood; and, in the second boiling, put in the size of a pea of copperas, dissolved in a little of the liquor, with a bit of pearl-ash the size of a nut—boil it one hour as above. Be careful to cool your liquor before you put in the oil of vitriol in all cases.

Oil of vitriol is so useful a thing in dyeing, that, by the help of its acid, you may produce any lasting colour.


Water, as above; put in one handful of bruised Persian Berries, and boil them one hour, then add two table spoonfuls of turmeric. Put in your acid, and then your quarter of an ounce of mohair, hackles, &c, let it boil half an hour—immerge it in cold water— your yellow will be brilliant. By adding one table spoonful of Brazil wood, you have a beautiful orange.


Water as before; boil a good handful of walnut rind, and a very small quantity of red wood, and the size of a wallnut of logwood, half an hour, put in your mohair, a quarter of an ounce (cooling your liquor before the acid is put in), boil it half an hour longer, and your colour will be lasting. If you would have a cinnamon or yellow, fiery, brown, &c. first dye your pighair, mohair, or hackles yellow. Add to the ingredients according to the quantity of your stuff.


Water as before; boil two handfuls of logwood, one hour; add a little shumac and elder bark. Boil these ingredients together half an hour, when your hair may be entered and boiled half-an-hour. Take out your hair; cool your liquor; dissolve a bit of copperas the size of a Spanish nut, put it iuto your liquor, adding a little argil and soda. Boil it half-an-hour; take out your mohair occasionally, as the air contributes to its colour, and your black will be the colour of a raven's feather.

The mixture of Blue and Red produces a Purple — boiled together, adding oil of vitriol as before.

The mixture of Blue and Claret produces Wine Purple.

The mixture of Blue and Yellow, produces Green* of all shades.

The mixture of Blue, Reel, and Yellow, Bright Olives, darkened with Logwood—apply Oil of Vitriol, as above.

You may produce any shade you require by the different mixture*.


Water as above; bruise one table-spoonful of Cochineal to a powder; add a tea-spoonful of crystal of tartar to the water, before your Cochineal goes in. Boil your mohair also in the tartar and water, then take out your mohair or pig-hair, put in your Cochineal, with a tea-spoonful of the composition liquid ;* boil the stuff half-an-hour, and your Scarlet will be beautiful.

(The Oil of Vitriol must be kept from this dye.)


Take half-a-pint of spirits of nitre, add to it an equal quantity of clear river-water; dissolve in it, little by little, a quarter of an ounce of white salt ammoniac, (because spirits of nitre alone will not dissolve block-tin); add one drachm of saltpetre, dissolve halfan-ounce of block-tin, made small, by casting it into cold water. These small grains of tin are put into the dissolvent, one by one, letting the first dissolve before putting in others. This keeps in the red vapours, necessary for the gold colour of your liquor. (This mixture is to be had at the Dry-Salters under the name of grain spirits.)


Boil a tea-spoonful of alum in half-a-pint of water; add a piece of logwood the size of a nut, and of copperas the size of a pea; dip in one hundred of gut one minute, and you will have the desired colour.

Wash your feathers in spirit of turpentine, to keep them from the moth: camphor, also, preserves them from that devouring insect".
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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby narcodog » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:24 am

Ha, very interesting. :D I like the verbiage. I'll have try and find some soft river water.
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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby tie2fish » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:40 am

What's the date on this, dd? Obviously BV (before Veniard).
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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby daringduffer » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:28 am

tie2fish wrote:What's the date on this, dd? Obviously BV (before Veniard).

Probably 1855. Have a look here:http://www.flyfishinghistory.com/blacker.htm

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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby flyfishwithme » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:43 am

Good stuff. DD, get Mark to place this in our reference file if you can.

Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby wsbailey » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:23 pm

I have tried several of Blacker's dyeing recipes. He was a good colorist but his methods were a bit rough and ready for me. I use a .01 gram scale and measure liquid in ml. For a tutorial on using natural dyes here is a link: http://www.feathersmc.com/articles/show/54. On the same site under, body materials - dubbing, are pictures of some of the stuff that I have dyed using natural dyes. Bill
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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby daringduffer » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:58 pm

It makes me happy to see things like this. Beautiful colours. How come I did not know I needed that stuff too?

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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby hankaye » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:03 pm

Was (on the cover), March 1842.

I also did a quick Goo-Goo search of oil of vitriol... ='s sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Nasty stuff. When I drove over the road I hauled Hazardous Waste. When the Government shut down some of the old dye makers we had to pull the smelly stuff to 'secure landfills' for disposal. ONLY when the temp's were below 40 deg. F. Otherwise the smell was too much to bear. "chuckle" Never bothered me ... unless I was stopped.
One may want to do a Google to see what other items he was dabbling with.
The recipe for scarlet looked like he was making Ammonium Nitrate… :o

just sayin'
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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby wsbailey » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:56 pm

Here is a link to Blacker's 1855 edition: http://www.archive.org/details/blackersartoffly00blacrich Bill
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Re: Dyeing wingless wets.

Postby Soft-hackle » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:03 am

Hi all,
This thread has been moved to the reference sub forum under links. Hank has noted a number of things about old chemical recipes we should be careful about. Years ago, all sorts of chemicals were used which, in today's modern world, are very cautiously utilized.

As for me, dying materials is better if using safe natural dyes or chemical fabric and other dyes developed for dying fly tying materials. If you learn color mixing, you can use the regular dyes to develop any color you want.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty.” Edward R. Hewitt

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