Provided by Andy Snedden
The following tutorials are designed to provide an overview of the use of our TuffleyeTM resin system. These are not meant to be an absolute ‘How To” as the methods described are only examples and not the only way. You are limited only by your imagination and the methods presented here may differ from those employed by many experienced tiers. Moreover, the patterns presented were chosen to illustrate different application techniques. You may not find the patterns applicable to the type of fishing you do, or flies you tie, but the techniques will carry over to your favorite patterns. We have included the pattern recipes, in case you like the patterns and wish to try them.
The Core and Finish resins differ in their viscosity; the Core is quite thick (similar to cold honey), while the Finish is much thinner (similar to thick head cement). The cured Core is also very hard, while the cured Finish is (very) slightly flexible. You can use either resin alone or in any combination (i.e Finish over cured Core or, Core over cured Finish). TuffleyeTM Core is a high quality acrylic resin. In it’s cured form it is very bio-compatable and safe. However, like most chemicals, care and caution need to be exercised when using. Do not allow uncured TuffleyeTM resins to come in contact with your eyes, mouth, open cuts, etc. Soap and warm water is recommended to wash it off if this happens. Keep TuffleyeTM resins from bright lights and store in cool dark areas when not using.
Once cured, there is a residual slippery layer on the surface of the hard resin. This is a bonding layer that allows subsequent layers to fully bond to the layer below. If you are applying a second layer (of either resin) you don’t remove this slippery layer – just apply your second (or more) coat(s) and cure with the TuffleyeTM curing light. When you are finished with the fly, the slippery bonding layer is best removed with a paper towel and alcohol (denatured alcohol from the hardware store paint section is the least expensive but any alcohol will do). Once you clean off the bonding layer you will notice that the resin surface has lost some shine. If you place the fly in water it will appear clear and shiny so you don’t need to do anything at this point, except go fishing. Nonetheless, most of us like nice shiny flies in our fly boxes so we apply a coat of Hard as Nails (or Hard as Hull) to the TuffleyeTM surface of the finished fly.
It is important to use the TuffleyeTM curing light correctly, to fully cure our resins. Hold the light as close as possible to the TuffleyeTM and hold it steady. Don’t wave the light around like a ‘magic wand’ trying to cover the entire surface with blue light. Hold the light steady in one spot for 15- 20 seconds. For larger flies you can cure both sides of the fly by holding the light steady on the opposite side for another 15 – 20 seconds. The curing area of the TuffleyeTM light is about 1/2 inch or 15 mm. We suggest you try curing a small drop of resin on a piece of paper (the back of a business card is perfect) in order to practice getting a proper cure. If TuffleyeTM is cured correctly it will be very hard (and clear) such that you can not dent it with your fingernail (make sure to remove the slippery bonding layer when finished).
Our resins come out of the syringes with a slight yellow tint. Once properly cured, they will become noticeably clearer. The resins will continue to clear for a couple of days. You can facilitate this by placing the flies in a lighted area such as a window. Unlike two-part epoxies, when properly cured TuffleyeTM resins will remain clear.
It is important to produce a solid head (or body) and not just an ‘egg shell-like’ coating. This can be difficult when using ‘pillowy’ fibers such as Poly-Bear, Polar-Aire, etc. The TuffleyeTM core doesn’t flow into these fibers very well. To ensure you have a solid head, many tiers find it best to start with Finish and build up the head by injecting the resin into the fibers. Once this layer is cured you can add successive layers of core or finish until you have the effect you want.