Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

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Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby letumgo » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:46 pm

As I was forming the dubbing brushes for my swap flies, I thought there had to be a better way to grab the silk strands and hold them when being twisted together. This is the simple tool I came up with. Not much to it (bent piece of very stiff piano wire), but it works nicely. The wire has been bent in a very sharp 180° bend, and then crimped so that the edges of the wire are firmly pressed against itself. There is a slight twist, so that the short end of the wire forms a narrow Vee slit. The two ends of the silk thread are slid into the Vee, and pulled until the are snugly held by the wire. This makes it very easy to twist the silk dubbing brush, without getting wax all over your fingers and loosing twists each time you change hands. It allows me to keep my hand out of the way, and see the twisting process. I can then hold the dubbing brush down parallel with the block, so the the dubbing block and dubbing are in contact, during the twisting process (using friction to change shape of finished dubbing brush - the importance of this step is open for debate - but that's the theory and I'm sticking with it). It's a very simple tool, but it does the job. Figured I'd share, in case anyone cares to make their own.

You can find piano wire at music stores and hobby shops (used for model building).

Image
Image The holes in the dubbing block are 1/2" apart
Image (thread ends grasped in vee)
Image
Image

When you're done twisting the silk dubbing brush, the ends can be tugged out of the vee, as the dubbing brush is inserted into the holding card.
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby chase creek » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:14 pm

Great idea, Ray. Looks worth trying. I love homebrew solutions.
I've been using a small English type hackle pliers. After the top thread is placed over the bottom thread and dubbing and into the notch, I pinch the 2 ends together in the hackle pliers. Then I lift the thread from the notch and, with the thread still around the post, hold the block at an angle (post end up) and spin the hackle pliers. As the thread is spinning, I can pick out any fibers or clumps that
don't belong. I think Bill does it much the same way.
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby fflutterffly » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:12 pm

Great Idea! Here is another suggestion. Why not grab the two ends with a mini test clip, the same one you might use in holding hackle.
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby letumgo » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:38 pm

Rodger - I got to see Bill demonstrate his technique in Roscoe. He surprised the heck out of use when he up-ended the dubbing block. Cool technique. In this case I am trying to keep the fur in contact with the dubbing block during the twisting process.

Ariel - I've tried that too, but like the smaller diameter of this tool. I get may more rotations each time I rub my fingers together (fingers slide past each other the same distance. but the smaller diameter wire causes it to go thru a greater number of revolutions per).

Thanks for the ideas. Is always nice to hear other ways to get similar results.
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby Hans Weilenmann » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:15 am

letumgo wrote: I've tried that too, but like the smaller diameter of this tool. I get may more rotations each time I rub my fingers together (fingers slide past each other the same distance. but the smaller diameter wire causes it to go thru a greater number of revolutions per).


Ray,

Your tool reminds me of (many moons ago) when I was still doing dubbing loops... my first&last tool for that was a straightened paperclip, with only the inner smallest bend retained. The small diameter of the wire made the twisting operation very efficient.

These days I just spin the bobbin holder 8-)

Cheers,
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby letumgo » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:29 am

Hans - Yup. I still use a paper clip twister for making extended bodies. Works like a charm. I wish my eyes were better. I struggle with your split thread technique. Very hard for me to see and accurately pierce the thread with the tip of the bodkin. It works great, when I can accomplish it, but can be frustrating when I can't manage it.
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby wayneb » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:16 am

I use small hackle pliers and then twist with a rubber band winder for model planes.
winder has a 10 to 1 winding ratio, one turn of handle twists thread ten times.

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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby Hans Weilenmann » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:27 am

letumgo wrote:I wish my eyes were better. I struggle with your split thread technique. Very hard for me to see and accurately pierce the thread with the tip of the bodkin. It works great, when I can accomplish it, but can be frustrating when I can't manage it.


Ray,

Being able to see to split thread is of course a pre-requisite, hard to bypass. There may be one or two things you can try.

The thread really needs to be flattened, as 'wide' as it will go. Pad of finger, with thread running over it, needs to be very close to the hook shank - pretty much touching it, for maximum control and it helps to have your two hands touching so they are stable as a unit. And finally, think about using an alternative needle, one which is flattened, not round. You can find these needles sold for use in sewing machines. Glue one into a handle and try if any easier.

Cheers,
Hans W
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby letumgo » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:53 am

A flattened needle? Do you know what these are called? I need to make a trip to the sewing store to see if they have these. If there is a specific name to ask for, this would help.

Thanks for the additional pointers, Hans. Each makes perfect sense. I will definitely give it another go. Your advice is much appreciated.
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Re: Handy Little Tool (home made dubbing brush twister)

Postby Hans Weilenmann » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:02 am

Ray,

Most if not all of the needles I have seen for fitting into home sewing machines are flattened. Here is an image:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5Q2MZTSYj04/SN8HT9bD9KI/AAAAAAAAAhg/uk-pfkAF_BM/s400/needles.jpg

Just go take a look at the collection...

Best of success,
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