Stripping Peacock Herl....

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John Dunn
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Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by John Dunn » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:17 pm

Hi all
I know this is a old subject ( Stripping Peacock Herl ). I am not fond of using Bleach , Nair hair remover I thought somebody would have a better idea? Any thoughts.

Regards
John Dunn
"The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing while you are still able." - Sparse Grey Hackle
narcodog
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by narcodog » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:38 pm

Pencil eraser, back of a single edged razor blade, your thumb nail.
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redietz
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by redietz » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:50 am

narcodog wrote:Pencil eraser, back of a single edged razor blade, your thumb nail.
I second pencil eraser. Note that there's a direction to the flue on the herl; rubbing only works in one direction.

I used my thumb nail until the first time the herl broke and inserted itself under my thumb nail. Not quite as bad as bamboo splinters, but nearly so.
Bob
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John Dunn
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by John Dunn » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:02 pm

Thanks for the help, I have tried (Pencil eraser, back of a single edged razor blade, your thumb nail.)which none of them strikes my fancy. The wax idea sounds like it might be practicable, I really like quill bodied flies with the segmentation with the two tone quality in the body.

Thanks again

John
"The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing while you are still able." - Sparse Grey Hackle
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by narcodog » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:35 pm

Thre is one more method, not as much fun or satisfaction, you can buy them. ;)
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by letumgo » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:27 pm

It is funny how things stick in my head. I remembered reading a description of a herl stripping tool in Leisenring's book, but had forgotten about it until I saw your question.

The following description of a Peacock Stripping tool as described in the 1946 Edition of "The Art of Tying the Wet Fly" by James Leisenging (Pages 27 & 28):

"Before your Peacock Herl quill is ready to be used as a quill body you must strip it, that is remove the tiny fibers which are on the black edge. The best way to my knowledge of stripping quill came to me from my fishing partner, Mr. Albert Kraft, at true angler ant a fine flytyer. One day while driving to the Poconos to tempt some of those educated brown trout with out flies, after several miles of the usual conversation two fly-fishermen will carry on, I said "Pete, don't you know of anything new to talk about?"

Why yes, "he answered, " I know of a new way to strip peacock quill." He then told me to get a fine sewing needle, a fairly thin one, and stick it into the end of a small, thin piece of wood for a handle. This is best done by gripping the needle with a pair of pliers in order to force it securely into the wood. Insert the needle eye-first into the wood about 3/8 of an inch, leaving about 7/8" protruding. This is your quill stripper. Now take a piece of smooth cardboard such as the ones politicians had around at election time and lay it on the edge of your work table. Take up the small end of the peacock herl quill, grip it in you hackle pliers in order to turn it side to side easily, and lay it on the smooth card. Take up the quill stripper tool now and press it firmly down on the peacock herl quill near the hackle pliers, being careful to hold the needle squarely across the quill, not at an angle.

Now simply pull the quill through under the needle, keeping an even pressure with the needle against the quill. After that, turn the quill over and repeat if neccesary, and it is ready for use, thoroughly cleaned and undamaged. I do not know where Pete picked up this useful trick, but it is a very good one and I am certainly glad to know about it."


The book includes a photo of the tool (between pages 4 and 5). Basically the herl stripping tool looks very similar to modern bodkin. A small round wooden handle with a thin needle sticking out of the end of it. The needle is roughly 1" long. According to the description in the book, the herl is drawn between the stripping tool and a piece of cardboard stock. By pulling the herl against the grain of the little fibers, they are stripped off the herl and the needle helps prepare the herl by flattening it during the stripping process.

EDIT - I just tried making a herl stripping tool and found that very thin needles are prone to snapping when applying pressure to them. I would recommend using a needle which is thick enough so that it doesn't easily snap when pressure is applied to it. I then tried my normal bodkin and it strips herl like a charm. Very cool technique! Now I need to learn to tye quill bodied flies. ;)
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by redietz » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:30 am

letumgo wrote: Take up the quill stripper tool now and press it firmly down on the peacock herl quill near the hackle pliers, being careful to hold the needle squarely across the quill, not at an angle.
Does this mean that the tool is parallel to the table? I'm not quite visualizing this somehow.
Bob
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by letumgo » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:36 pm

Yes, the tip of the needle is pressed down on top of the herl parallel to the surface of the cardboard sheet. The herl and needle are at 90° to each other, but both are essentially laying parallel to the surface of the card board. I will try to take a picture this evening to show the process.

EDIT - When I said "not at an angle" I was meaning that the needle is parallel to the cardboard, not raised up at an angle relative to the sheet.
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by letumgo » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:47 pm

Maybe these photos will help...
2009_1118_211249A.JPG
2009_1118_211020B.JPG
2009_1118_211818C.JPG
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Re: Stripping Peacock Herl....

Post by redietz » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:15 am

Thanks, Ray. Now it's clear.

I may have to give it a try.
Bob
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