Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

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tie2fish
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by tie2fish » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:38 am

Molded plastic is too "impersonal" for me -- I love the looks and heft and feel of wood. It seems only fitting to make spun bodies of natural materials intended to imitate natural creatures by using a natural material. Tying flymphs utilizing a plastic spinning block suggests heresy IMO. JL didn't (and JS doesn't) even use a block for crying out loud.
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by zen leecher » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:40 am

I too use the heavy hackle pliers method. I let thread dangle off the edge of the block, hook on the pliers and spin them. Once they are spun up good, I lift the thread up from the block. Instant whatever you call that twisted dubbing body.

I would like to see what type of body the crank method would produce. If I wasn't curious I wouldn't have so much fly tying and fishing items that sit on the shelf. Some work good and some seemed like a good idea. I imagine there's a few other "testers" out there.
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Re: Osage Orange Block v. The D00bber

Post by swellcat » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:08 am

Molded plastic is too "impersonal" for me -- I love the looks and heft and feel of wood. It seems only fitting to make spun bodies of natural materials intended to imitate natural creatures by using a natural material.
Agreed.

To the extent fishing is an occasion for deracinated modern humans to reconnect slightly with the natural world, a flimsy, plastic doohicky doesn't necessarily facilitate that experience.

Of course, this is an arbitrary value judgement: I'm not positing wood blockery as a purity test.

Actually, for me, the only true blocks shall be constructed of Osage orange. Handcranks, if present, shall be carved from mesquite. 8-)
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by William Anderson » Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:05 pm

tie2fish wrote:Molded plastic is too "impersonal" for me -- I love the looks and heft and feel of wood. It seems only fitting to make spun bodies of natural materials intended to imitate natural creatures by using a natural material.
Agreed. This most likely played a role in the obscure and short-lived availability of this little gadget. It does not hold any of the charm of a more traditional block and certainly restricts the nuance that someone trying to achieve such a specific body for a specific purpose would require. For me the quality of the wooden block is synonymous with the nature of the flymph. To whatever degree you take time and pride in the craftsmanship of your spinning block, it still holds to the original intent, married to the activity of building flymph bodies and tying flymphs in particular. I still fuss with alterations and variations on the block, but the overall design is the same.

Having said that, I must also say a very heartfelt thank you to John Shaner for the generous gift and for his desire to share it with this group. It's an oddity and speaks to the importance of the technique in the decades after Pete Hidy passed and before the flymph revival in the early 2000's.

I'll share the quote Leisenring chose for the opening of the AOTWF.

"The skill of technique is more than honesty; it is something else wider, embracing honesty and grace and rule in an elevated and clear sentiment. It is made up of accumulated tradition, kept alive by individual pride."
- Joseph Conrad, 1906

It's lofty, as Conrad's writing could be, but JL meant to inspire. I put it on the back of my business card, hoping it doesn't seem too pretentious, but it has definitely guided and challenged me as I continue to build blocks and offer them to friends and strangers around the world. It's hard to put something like that on a card and attach it to a block that doesn't meet a certain standard. It's certainly something to aspire to when I'm tying as well. At least it's a goal to shoot for. JL was an exceptional metal craftsmen and no doubt took the challenge for himself in his work.
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by letumgo » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:20 pm

Finally, a dubbing block which won't give me slivers. An efficient smooth surface, with the sparkling personality of an engineer. I'll give you five bucks for it! :D (kidding/humor)

I love this post and the follow-up comments. Long live the wooden dubbing block. Thanks for sharing these photos with us. This is a very cool piece of flymph history.
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by fflutterffly » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:53 pm

I enjoyed this post. How cool The Dubber is, but I love the feel and results of the traditional block. It is dear to my heart because a forum member made it for me. So you can have your platica and I'll keep the beautiful handcrafted model.
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by redietz » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:43 pm

Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber: I don't think it will ever be as good as Godzilla vs the Smog Monster.

I'd have to agree with everyone else's comments on this. The plastic is an interesting concept, but not nearly as practical as the wooden block.
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by Old Hat » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:45 pm

Just a wonderful thread all together. What a great find!

I run the gambit of methods. From my Norvise to a dropped loop to a "Clark's block" to my knee. I enjoy the tradition, and the method I use just depends on my mood at the time. I will add, that I most enjoy just making them on my knee. There is one aspect to making them on your knee that the block and other methods don't provide. The "twisting" of the thread loop happens from both ends toward the center at the same time as opposed to starting at one end and moving to the other end. This gives the strand a more natural cigar taper without the fuss of laying the dubbing down in a taper. Just something I've noticed. I don't think the fish notice all that much, as I don't think it makes a functional difference how the stands are made. It's the joy of tying that all the different methods serve.
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by Mataura mayfly » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:19 pm

fflutterffly wrote:I enjoyed this post. How cool The Dubber is, but I love the feel and results of the traditional block. It is dear to my heart because a forum member made it for me. So you can have your platica and I'll keep the beautiful handcrafted model.
You lucky girl...... all I have are the crappy ones I made myself. :lol: ;)
Actually, I tell a lie. I have a wonderful piece of timber sent to me by Doug, it is shaped for a traditional spinning block, but sans the pin- thread holding slits and any finish required. I really must get around to finishing that block out and sharing it with the gang.

William, I appreciate the effort someone went to to think the design of the "Dubber" up and to actually have the thing made in saleable volumes!
I mean the North American market for fly fishing/tying equipment must be huge when one sits down to think about it- just ask Orvis or LL Bean what it is worth to them per annum?
But this particular piece? You perhaps only have to look as far as the membership numbers for this forum versus a more general fly fishing forum to realise it might be a fairly niche market for such tooling.

It is cool. Kind of unique, great curiosity value and captures the fact that when these were made, there was some serious thought being put in to spun fly bodies by someone...... your job is to find out who.

In my eyes, they will not be re-introduced following Johns discovery and your subsequent sharing. Compared to the manufacturing set up costs versus a handmade wooden block and consumer demand, the profit margin would just not be there.
I do however, like the tapering background to the main thread base channel of the Dubber. It would give a nice reference to keeping your dubbing materials laid in a tapered shape before the twisting begins.

Neat piece of history. Thanks to John for the discovery and sharing thereof and to you for bringing it to the forum. ;)
"Listen to the sound of the river and you will get a trout".... Irish proverb.
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Re: Clark's Spinning Block vs The Dubber

Post by Tom Smithwick » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:54 pm

What Old Hat said about the desirability of twisting from both ends got me thinking, and I started to dream up a little machine. The thing would have counter rotating pulleys at either end with a hook at the center of each to attach the thread. It would be hand cranked, with a dubbing block in the middle that could be moved away after the first couple twists to allow the fur to spin freely. I am willing to start scrounging up some parts if anybody thinks it's a good idea. (I am not thinking of going into business, just developing a prototype for my own amusement.)
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