Several years ago Fly Fisherman magazine had an article on how to prepare quill sections stronger so that trout teeth don't immediately shred them. When this happens, you lose your wing silhouette and you feel as though you might as well have tied a hair winged fly.
I'II describe this very simple procedure, and then I will mention some other uses that you may wish to try.
First, get some waxed paper and cut into workable sections (8" x 8" should be fine) for later storage in a folder.
Cut left and right duck quills into various widths for different size flies. I find it preferable to put all lefts on one sheet and all rights on another sheet.
Now that you have those neat little piles of quill sections in front of you, coat each section on the underside only, one at a time with Dave's Flex-A-Ment. lmmediately take the coated section and place glued side to the waxed paper. Press down gently and go on to the next quill segment. Allow enough time to dry and store in that folder that I mentioned.
When you are ready to use, place waxed paper on a flat surface. Gently prod under the thicker end of the segment with your bodkin and additionally use your fingers to lift from the waxed paper. You will find a decided and unwanted curve to the feather. Simply stroke the underside from butt to tip a few times in a reverse curve until segment straightens. Repeat this procedure for the other side and apply your wings to the hook in the usual way.
You now have a wing that will prove more durable for two reasons. First, because of the Flex-A-Ment and second, because of the wax that adheres to the underside.One option I use at this point is to apply a thin coat of water base head cement to the velvet side of the wings.
I mentioned other uses, and here they are:
As you use this method and gain confidence in the increased durability of the feathers, you will, no doubt, find some other areas for its use.
I have been doing this for some time and now feel I can recommend the procedure to the chapter.
Walt Punke, Past President of CJTU, Head Fly Tying Instructor for many years, and the man who, with his wife, Flo, had the generosity and courage to host Beaverkill Weekends for CJTU at his place on the Beaverkill, will be moving out of the area soon.
The chapter and I would like to take this space to say thanks for everything Walt, and good fishing.