Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

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Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby fly_fischa » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:43 pm

Hi all, as you all know pearsalls looks like it will be hard to come by in the very near future :cry: as mentioned in Jim's post. I'm a Semperfli pro tier and have recently experimented with Semperfli's pure silk and thought I would post my findings.
A few things to note are that I normally don't use a dubbing block and this is only my second time I've spun bodies on my Clarks dubbing block. You may have a different experience than me but this is simply my unscientific unbiased experiment that might spark some thought or debate, so please don't be shy.

Here are a few different ropes I spun up a few days back...
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Left to right, semperfli puresilk orange/muskrat, semperfli puresilk purple/coyote, semperfli puresilk pale olive/camel, semperfli puresilk pale olive/gray awesome possum, semperfli puresilk pale olive/cream awesome possum

Some closeups;

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Some more spun bodies using both pearsalls primrose (left/thinner) and Semperfli pure silk (right/thicker)
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As you’ll have noticed by the last photos compared to Pearsalls Gossamer it’s a lot thicker! In terms of using it for this application, I’d say I personally wouldn’t tie anything smaller than a 14.

I treated the pure silk exactly the same as my pearsalls experiments in the past, used the same wax and ended up carding and leaving the bodies carded for 1-2days. I found that the thread ends of pure silk unravelled a lot more than Pearsalls, so much so I’m not sure there’s much advantage to waiting a day before using the bodies?

It’s also a 3 strand/ply silk like pearsalls. I don’t know whether the thickness has much bearing on the translucence as I found it to be much more opaque than Pearsalls. For spiders I wouldn’t use it as thread unless the ties were bigger than 12’s, it’s too thick for my personal taste. There are a few options to tie smaller, I’ll get to that later…

It comes on a normal sized spool which is nice.

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12 wraps of pearsalls gossamer with a 3 turn whip finish left
12 wraps od semperfli pure silk with a 3 turn whip finish right

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As above, the wet version

You’ll notice by referring to the long tag that the pure silk has a tendency to fray/break apart. The pure silk flattens out easily but the stands are still a lot coarser than pearsalls. In terms of the finish of the silk it is not as slick and the edges are a bit fuzzy when closely inspected.

Some of the flies that were tied with the above bodies

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sz 16 hook, pure silk tied in from the eye to the back of the hook using 30D nanosilk (very thin thread) to keep things slim and build a consistent underbody. The pure silk has been flattened uncorded before winding forward and whip finishing. If you blow this image up you’ll see the fuzz I’m referring to, bear in mind how magnified this image is, it’s quite a slim body but the strands are still more noticeable/corded looking than pearsals.

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The same body wet

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sz 18 hook, pure silk tied in from the eye to the back of the hook using 30D nanosil to keep things slim and build a consistent underbody. The pure silk has been flattened uncorded before winding forward tying it off and finishing the fly.

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The same fly wet

I quite like the fact that pure silk is more opaque and colour fast when used as a core in a dubbing brush and when used as ribbing.

I’ve also used it on some of my dries recently and will include the experiments as thry can equally be applied to wet fly patterns.

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Pure silk tied in at the back of the thorax over bound to the tail

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pure silk waxed and lightly touch dubbed with muskrat

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give the bobbin a good spin to cord a dubbing rope and tighten things up a bit

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The end result

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the wet version

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capture a long strand of pure silk in the middle of the strand with a single turn at the tail tie in point

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carefully dub one strand, I used muskrat in this instance

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Grab both ends with hackle pliers and spin up a tight body, wind forward…

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The wet version

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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby tie2fish » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:06 am

Marvelous post, Karsten! Represents a lot of work and thought, plus a bunch of excellent photography. With regards to the bulky nature of the Semperfli silk, have you considered removing one strand and tying with two?
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby fly_fischa » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:40 am

Thanks Bill,
You bring up a good point you definitely can use two strands and thin it down. That's the other method I forgot to mention. Personally, I don't like having to thin silk down to make it useful for smaller flies. Maybe there's a bit of Yorkshireman in me. :lol: All jokes aside I find the process of thinning it down fussy and wasteful, but it definitely works.

Thanks for your thoughts m8, K :)
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby gingerdun » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:06 am

Karsten,
This is so interesting—and beautifully photographed as usual.
Ironically, in a letter to Pete Hidy, Dick Clark, inventor of the spinning block, complained about Pearsall's Gossamer silk, calling it "rope" because it was too heavy for his taste!
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby fly_fischa » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:12 pm

Ha go figure Lance, that's such a cool snippet of info. Calling gossamer rope! :roll: To be honest when I first started tying it was a while before I came across Pearsalls Gossamer and I also thought it was pretty thick/useless for my needs. I guess tying with danvilles flat waxed thread had a lot to do with it. Even though the pearsalls is thin it keeps its shape and is so densely corded, I guess that's why it seemed thicker than it was. The much thicker 6/0 danvilles didn't leave distinct wraps which when ur a newb without a mentor and the internet/YouTube was a more difficult hurdle to overcome. The fact that u can burnish your wraps, flatten pearsalls out and develop better technique by angling ur wraps to create a taper took me a lot longer to figure out! Guess I never was that bright :lol:
Sorry for the ramble Lance :D
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby letumgo » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:50 pm

Karsten,

Meticulous in every respect. I've studied the photos, and descriptions several times, trying to take it all in. Wonderful post. Thank you for the time and effort it took to photograph, and share.

Your creations remind me of William's tying (compliment).

The larger diameter of the Semperfli pure silk would make it an ideal substitute for button hole twist. Perfect for ribbing.
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby fly_fischa » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:01 pm

Cheers Ray, Thank u so much for one of the biggest compliments I've ever been paid (undeserved mind u). Will, Bill, Carl and you are my soft hackle heroes, untouchable by my sausage fingers :)
Good point on the button hole twist and ribbing, one of my good friends Chris Williams also touched on the ribbing, I should have remembered to add it to the post (getting old) :roll:
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby Premerger » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:24 pm

Great post Karsten and superb photography as per usual.
The pure silk certainly does make a bold statement.
Have you considered using it just for the thorax and tie the body with Pearsall's as the master tying thread.
Just an idea.
On a single colour like yellow, it looks nice.
Would make a standout Partridge and yellow.
How hard can it be?
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby fly_fischa » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:37 pm

Tie2fish
Bill brought up a good point of thinning the pure silk down to 2 strands that I forgot to mention. I know that I said I'm not a fan of this method myself but thought I'd do it to make this post/review more complete. Thinning the Semprefli Pure Silk down is pretty straight forward, same method as separating pearsalls strands only easier.
The two photos are of both dry and wet versions tied on the same sz 16 iron in the original post. The major difference is that the entire fly or body in this case is tied using the pure silk, so there are two layers. Underbody travelling from front to rear and back to the front of the hook tie in point finishing with a 3 turn whip finish.

The sz16 example in the original post employed only one layer of pure silk as the pure silk strand was tied in the length of the hook shank with 30d nanosilk (ultrathin 18/0 thread). I'll include the original photos here for easier comparison.

Surprisingly I have to say I didn't mind the thinning down as much as I said, pretty easy. The fuzzy edge is even fuzzier when the plys are separated which I like a lot, gives for a buggier appearance and more irregular look (probably more natural and appealing to the finned variety), mind you were talking minuscule here :) The effect of the 2 strands is far more pleasing in how it flattens out to my eye (less corded looking), so much so I'd be happy to use it on my spiders. Love to hear your thoughts folks? Thanks for reminding me and giving me a prod to try this again Bill, very worth it.

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Sz 16 hook, Semerfli Pure Silk 2 strands, 2 layer, 3 turn whip finish, dry

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Original sz 16 hook, Semerfli Pure Silk 3 strands, one layer, tied in and overbound the length of the shank fr front to rear using 30D nanosilk, single layer of flattened pure silk wound to the eye and finished with a 3 turn whip finish

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sz 16 hook, Semerfli Pure Silk 2 strands, 2 layer, 3 turn whip finish, wet

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Original sz 16 hook, Semerfli Pure Silk 3 strands, one layer, tied in and overbound the length of the shank fr front to rear using 30D nanosilk, single layer of flattened pure silk wound to the eye and finished with a 3 turn whip finish, wet
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Re: Semperfli pure silk... Very photo heavy ;)

Postby fly_fischa » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:39 pm

Thanks for the thoughts Tim, no I hadn't though of that, might have to give it a lash. insert thumbs up emoji here :D
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