Leisenrings method revisited

A great place to discuss various patterns and tying methods for wingless wet flies, Yorkshire spiders, Flymphs and other patterns tied with soft hackles.

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DOUGSDEN
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Leisenrings method revisited

Post by DOUGSDEN » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:18 pm

Gentlemen,
If you remember just a short while age in a thread far away, I mentioned making a couple of Clark style spinning blocks and trying them and not liking them. Well, I changed my mind.
I pulled the block down from the top shelf in the closet in the den and sat down with the Pearsalls silk and wax and a bag of my favorite tan fur and had at it. After throwing a half dozen wild looking bodies in the trash can, I discovered that it's all about the distribution of the fur along the silk. And a dark piece of construction paper between the brads helps with getting it right too. Now, after a dozen or so flymphs (which don't look too bad really), I'm no longer mad at my spinning blocks. Just a little miffed at myself for not seeing how easy it was earlier. Old dogs doing new tricks? Yea, that's me!
As a side note, I tried Pete Hidy's suggestion about spinning a flymph body on your thigh. What a disaster for me at least. The spinning block really makes it alot simpler. And also, getting the new spun body from the block to the hook shank. Wow! It was like trying to tie a small snake to the hook...head first! I know that Leisenring and Hidy used to store the bodies on celluloid cards and that allowed the the wax to "set" against the silk and fur. This would prob. help in the undue twisting I am experiencing. Does anyone have any really cool suggestions?
Dougsden
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by Old Hat » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:15 pm

To be honest, I see the knee and block methods as a neat part of history and an enjoyable endeavor to take part in that era. However, for practical purposes, I almost always employ the dubbing loop off the hook for larger flies and the split thread method for smaller flies. There is a tool Mitch's Bobbin or something along those lines that has a loop hook built into it. It works nice but throws 3 strands of thread into the loop and this lends the thread to overpowering the dubbing on smaller flies. Makes a very durable body however. With all the techniques Doug, there is some practice involved. Knowing how much dubbing, laying it out to get the taper you want in different densities, orienting the dubbing fibers to best achieve the look you want before you lay them to be spun in the loop...all takes practice, experience, patience, and personal preference. One thing I will lend is I like to spin the dubbing lightly onto a strand of the loop or split thread if I want a tighter wrap. If I want the bushy look, I will pull out small amounts of dubbing from the source and proceed to pull the dubbing apart with my fingers to get most of the fibers, especially the longer fibers, to somewhat align, so that when they are placed on the strand of thread, the majority of the dubbing is running perpendicular to the thread. Sometimes I will use both methods on the same strand to get the taper I want.
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by Soft-hackle » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:29 pm

DOUG,
I believe Hidy used a piece of flat rough leather between the nails to take the place of the pant-leg, and after getting Jim Slattery's explanation of the friction involved in this dubbing method, and his belief in the importance of that friction, I understand the need for it. The dubbing block I have that was made and given to me by Ray Tucker, has this piece of leather.

As for me, I still use the pant-leg method despite all the dubbing loop tools available.

Mark
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by Ruard » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:12 am

Hi Doug,

I am experimenting with dubbingbrushes too. Using my blok with copperwire and normal tread. I store my threadbrushes on a piece of cardboard with little grooves on both of the short sides. This way they stay as they come from the block.
When I tie one brush on the hook, I first loosen one side of the brush and let the other end in the groove. The cardboard hangs down and hold the brush as it was. Once tied one end in I can easily loosen the other end and turn this end up again a bit and make the body of the fly.
Try to make some pictures tomorrow with some flies (tomorrow will be today).

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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by Jim Slattery » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:46 pm

Hi Doug,
For the pant leg method here are some tips. First is the pants. What kind are you wearing when you are tying this technique? Jeans make it a SOB + the blue or what ever color they usuauly comes off and sticks onto the thread. I suggest Khaki dockers type pants. I like the St. George brand at Walmart. They are cheap and you won't havt to worry about the wax stain that you will get at the knee.
Next is are you using the proper wax? I suspect you are.
The amount of dubbing applied is crucial , too much and you will somewhat loose the interplay between the dubbing color and silk color also you will have to make too many twists to get the dubbing right. Remember Leisenring suggest 2 to 3 such "rolls" If you are using an exceptionally wirey dubbing more rolls will need to be made.
After each roll tug on the thread to distribute the twists along the loop, otherwise they may bunch up.
I have found that the fatter end of the tapered dubbung loop shoud be by your thumb, the business end of the equation. This is where the torque is.
After you are done rolling the body and you pick it up off your pant leg stretch it and give it a twist with your finges to tighten it up.
Don't let loose of the thread at anytime until it's on the card. If you do several bodies at once by the time you are done the first one will have enough set.
When applyng the loop to the fly be sure to keep the loop twisted, usually every turn or turn and a half give the loop a twist to keep it tight.

I have found when tying in this style applying the materials in order while winding the threat to the back of the hook eliminates bumps and humps.
The order of which you would tie the materials in would be like this:
1Thread, leaving a bare hook shank to the eye of the hook , about the size of the head.
2.Hackle
3.Tail
4. Ribbing if used
5.body
Next wind the thread to the hackle if there is no ribbing being used and tie off the body with 2 maybe 3 wraps winding back towards the rear of the hook, basically forming a bed for the hackle to be wound on.
If you are using ribbing end your tying thread the hackle space distance short of the hackle, when you tie off the body wrap forward to the hackle. When you tie off the ribbing you will then be in place tho form the hackle "bed" by tying the ribbing of with turns going to the back of the fly.
If you are using the wax Leisenring suggests you will see that 2 turns of thread is all you need to keep things in place and not have your fly fall apart on you.
Leisenring sugested tying the hackle on by it's base . He also advocated winding the hackle back towards the body and then securing the hackle with 2 turns of thread and then winding the thread through the hackle and applying the whip finish head. If you have planned it right you will have 1 turn of thread and a bare hook shank to apply your whip finish. Nice and neat.
Every turn of thread serves a purpose and not extra "this will hold it for sure" turns are needed. The waxed thread keeps everything in place.
Hope this helps.
Jim
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by DOUGSDEN » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:48 pm

Jim,
This post you gave is incredible! Thank you very, very much! Everything you listed here, techniques, suggestions, etc. is exactly what I have been experiencing. The one situation that I have not been attending to is storing the bodies ahead of time. I usually make them as I go. Therein maybe the problem. By storing them, I can see how it allows them to "set" to the point where they are not so springy or wanting to unwind quite as easily. I am not a speed demon (actually quite slow at it) but I can see that I am going to have to store a few just for the experience and yes, in the long run it would speed the process up alot.
As I make the spun bodies, I can see that alot of factors play into making good ones. The amount of fur and how it's distributed along the silks and also the number of twist are key and you were right on with what you said about these things. Thanks! Experience and great advice like yours is the best teacher!
I had an interesting thought about the wax used to create these patterns. I was reading how Big Jim Leisenring made what he called a "life time" supply of wax in just one sitting. The ingredients are incredible to read. If enough folks were interested, why not have a wax swap?
Or a wax distribution? Wait a minute. Jim Slattery, the wax you sell, is it the same receipe as Big Jim Leisenrings? Or something close? If so, forget the swap. We will buy it from your company! I like that idea better. Jim, what's your thoughts? In the meantime, I'm going cruising around your web-site. I like the improvements!
Dougsden
Fish when you can, not when you should! Anything short of this is just a disaster.
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by wsbailey » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:17 am

If you do have a swap I make several kinds including cobbler's wax. Bill
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by Jim Slattery » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:38 am

Hi Doug,
I have 2 waxes. One is the J Harrington Keene/ Leisenring wax and the other is something I stumbled upon. The latter is great if you have the thread in a bobbin. It's not quite as adhesive as the Leisenring wax and won't gum up your bobbin as bad. The Leisenring wax is what I use when tying Flymphs. I tie all of them without using the Bobbin . I find that when I switch back I loose some material control and have to put on an extra turn or two to secure some materials, mainly because I don't wax the thread.
Jim
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by narcodog » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:17 am

I can vouch for Jim's bobbin wax. It is a great wax, I need to see about getting some of the Leisering wax. What I had before I just could not get it to work. The bobbin wax comes in BB size pellets, just warm it in your fingers and it's ready to go. In fact I used some last night.
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Re: Leisenrings method revisited

Post by DOUGSDEN » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:42 pm

Thank you one and all. The responses have been great! Any others? I love this site!
Dougsden
Fish when you can, not when you should! Anything short of this is just a disaster.
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