Rubber Cementing Streamer Wings

OK folks, I thought I would share an update on the use of Rubber Cement, Elmer’s specifically, for use on cementing streamer wing components together as pioneered by Carrie Stevens in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. Carrie was a milliner by trade, and she began tying flies in 1920, after being gifted with some long shank hooks, bucktails, and feathers by Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler, a family friend and fishing guide client of her husband, Wallace. Shang gave Carrie the materials and encouraged her, probably saying something like, “Why don’t you give this a shot?” The rest is history. Carrie’s Gray Ghost streamer, nearly eighty years after its creation, remains as the pinnacle streamer fly above all others created before or since. It is still sold in fly shops and fishing stores across the state of Maine and New England, because it catches fish. The Gray Ghost is likely to remain where it is, in its proper place of unchallenged prominence as the most famous streamer fly ever created.

Gray Ghost Streamer, from Streamers365.com, tied by Don Bastian. Photograph by Daren MacEachern, owner of Streamers365.com.

Gray Ghost Streamer from Streamers365.com, 2012. Photographed by Darren MacEachern, site originator and owner of Streamers365.com. Interesting to note, the head on this fly was painted, as opposed to my proprietary method later developed to band the heads solely with actual thread colors. I say proprietary because I do this differently than Carrie Stevens did. The wing color on this fly is very similar to some of the bronze-colored hackle feather examples of Mrs. Stevens own Gray Ghosts that are photographed in the book, Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies, 2000, Stackpole Press, by Graydon and Leslie Hilyard.

Carrie cemented her wing components together; wing hackles, shoulders of various feathers, and jungle cock cheeks, using a type of cement or thick varnish. Mike Martinek, Jr., of Stoneham, Massachusetts, was probably the first modern streamer tier to implement cemented wing components into his replications of Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. Mike was mentored by Austin S. Hogan when he was a young man. Austin was the first curator of the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont, besides being a noted fly tier and angling historian. On one occasion, Mike and Austin deconstructed four of Carrie Stevens’ flies. A complete set of Austin’s notes on Mrs. Stevens’ fly tying and assembly methods, consisting of typed text, along with pencil drawings and notations, was included as part of the museum display in Manchester, titled, “A Graceful Rise” which featured fifty women prominent in the history of fly tying and fly fishing. I noticed the notes during a visit to the museum and took photographs of them in June of 2012.

Colonel Bates, from Streamers365.com, 2012. Photo by Darren MacEachern.

Colonel Bates, from Streamers365.com, 2012. Photo by Darren MacEachern. This fly also has a lacquered head. I prefer using only thread now to accomplish this.

Studying these notes has been enlightening, and has been instrumental in my personal progression of replicating Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. My years of fly tying experience, combined with the information from the Darrel Martin / Mike Martinek Carrie Stevens 2001 article in Fly Rod and Reel, and bits of information I gleaned from Mike Martinek and a few other tiers over the years has contributed to my present state of finally being satisfied that I am no longer leaving out any details when replicating Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. I tied my very first Gray Ghost when I was in high school, about 1968 or ’69. Some tiers are not as detail-oriented as I am, or as interested in being historically accurate when replicating other fly tiers patterns, but I choose to replicate Carrie Stevens’ patterns as close to her design as I can; I wind the ribbing counter-clockwise as she did – most photos I’ve seen of Carrie Stevens originals with clockwise ribbing were reversed images, besides it makes no sense to think she was not consistent with this important component. I also replicate her elongated, banded heads; I believe the head shape and banding is a tribute to her pattern design, especially since she used a selection of thread colors for the bands, and they were clearly a color-coordinated component of her patterns. I first banded the heads on some of her patterns in the 1980’s, then after a time discontinued it. Furthermore, when Wendell Folkins bought her business in 1953, she wanted him to replicate the head bands to designate the patterns he was tying as hers. I have also gotten very careful about making sure all the components; underbelly and under wings – peacock herl, silver and golden pheasant crest, and bucktail, are all equally as long as the wing of the fly. That is an often overlooked aspect of Carrie’s tying standards.

Jungle Queen, from Streamers365.com, 2012.

Jungle Queen, from Streamers365.com, 2012. This pattern is identical to Carrie’s Yellow Witch. Note the head on this fly is not banded. Photo by Darren MacEachern.

Prior to 2011, I tied all my streamer patterns in typical ‘Eastern fashion.’ I had never cemented streamer wings until the early summer of 2011. Another tier suggested it, and with some reluctance I tried it. The initial result was satisfying, particularly on the rather unruly golden pheasant tippet shoulders, since I was tying my first Big Ben streamer. Once I found out how easy it was to mount previously assembled wings, I kept right at it. I would have used Flexament for this but my bottle was thick to the point of being totally unusable. My hometown has no fly shops anymore, so at the local hardware store, I saw and decided to try Elmer’s Rubber Cement. It was only three bucks, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

Herb welch originated the Black Ghost, but Carrie tied other popular patterns originated by other tiers of her time; she added her unique method of construction ad banded heads to all her flies. I want to start replicating some of these patterns as she did, in her style.

Herb Welch originated the Black Ghost, but Carrie tied other popular patterns originated by other tiers of her time; she added her unique method of construction and banded heads to all these flies as well. I want to start replicating some of these patterns as she did, in her style, down to the last detail. Carrie and Herb were practically neighbors, he sold her flies in his shop at Haines Landing. The Black Ghost pre-dates Carrie’s Gray Ghost; according to Hilyard’s book, by about six or seven years. The first mention of the Gray Ghost is on one of Carrie’s invoices in 1933 or 1934.

To overcome concerns about durability expressed when I announced that I was going to use rubber cement for cementing streamer wings, I soaked a completed wing assembly in water for thirty-six hours, then shook it hard – three-hundred, wrist-numbing shakes. It held together. Elmer’s is great for this because:

1) It does not bleed through the feathers. I invite anyone to inspect any of my cemented-wing streamer flies and find evidence of bleed-through cement. It ain’t there!

2) It sets up fairly fast, but it can be ‘worked’ – in other words, the cement remains soft enough to position, reposition, and align, if necessary; the neck hackles, shoulders, and cheeks.

3) The fly / wings does not come apart, even when soaked in water and shook violently, as my personal test proved, to simulate casting and fishing.

4) It is inexpensive.

5) It is readily and widely available, Walmart, CVS, Jo Ann’s Fabrics, your local hardware store, etc.

6) It has no obnoxious odor.

7) If need be, components can be disassembled and reassembled without problems (like when I accidentally get the order of wing hackles wrong, oops).

The Supervisor, originated by Warden Joseph Stickney, from Streamers365.com, 2012.

The Supervisor, originated by Warden Joseph Stickney, from Streamers365.com, 2012. This is another popular pattern tied and sold by Carrie Stevens. Mr. Stickney was not a fly tier, but had other tiers bring his creations to life for him. Photo by Darren MacEachern.

Last weekend at the Arts of the Angler Show in Danbury, Connecticut, I had the pleasure of tying beside fellow tier, Peggy Brenner, from New Hampshire. Peggy was featured in the Graceful Rise exhibition, and she has taken lessons from Mike Martinek. She’s a good fly tier, tying streamers and Atlantic salmon flies, and she also has a business of selling her flies.

This is where the point of this article, the rubber cement bombshell finally hits the target. This is great news, and validates more what I have been saying about the use of rubber cement for cementing streamer wings. Last weekend Peggy told me that her husband bought her a water tank with a pump to create current, so she could “test” flies for action, performance, etc. Peggy informed me that she inserted into her tank, on a section of leader, a Carrie Stevens streamer pattern, that had wings she cemented with Elmer’s Rubber Cement. Not over night. Not for a couple days. But for three weeks! Peggy said whenever she checked on the fly, it was just swimming and fluttering merrily along. When she finally took the fly out, it was fine and in perfect condition, the cement held. Three weeks of total immersion in a water tank; twenty-four seven, that is a total of five-hundred four hours. Do you know how many fishing hours that translates into? Given the fact that most of us fish a fly for no more than an hour or so at a time, and maybe only a few times per year, if not lost to a big fish, a submerged log or rock, or an errant back cast, and provided the hook did not rust, said rubber cemented streamer fly could be passed along from generation to generation to generation and still have fishing life left. But by then, the thread might rot, or some other component would fail. My point is that rubber cement is a great and durable cement for cementing streamer wings.

I found this especially enlightening and gratifying since the grapevine told me that another fly tying instructor was pooh-poohing my use of rubber cement for streamer wings in their classes. I tell my students what works for me, and what others use, but I’m not going to, nor can I force anyone else to do what I do. I just try to give my best and present the most accurate information I can according to my experience.

BYR Smelt, from Streamers365.com, 2012. Photo by Darren MacEachern.

BYR Smelt, from Streamers365.com, 2012. Photo by Darren MacEachern. The BYR (pronounced by-er) in the pattern name is an acronym for Blue-Yellow-Red in the wing. This is one of my original streamer patterns, but it is totally assembled with Carrie Stevens cemented wing component methods and her style of layering the throat in a process toward the head.

When I get a new camera I’ll be busily filling in the gaps of blog posts that I’ve missed. I’ll have to think about doing a step-by-step of the cementing process, even a video.

I had a comment from a reader that prompted an explanation of my cementing techniques; I decided to add this information to the article to help folks understand my methods and personal tricks of cementing streamer wing assemblies.

For now, and my method is a little different than Leslie Hilyard’s; he cements the jungle cock nail to the shoulder feather, then cements this completed section to the cemented-together hackles. I generally start with the inside feather; some of Carrie’s patterns contain six hackles in the wing; three on a side. I put the lesser quality (if any difference) of the feathers on the inside, that is when they are the same color as on the Gray Ghost, Canary, etc. I dip my bodkin in the rubber cement about 5/8″ to 3/4″ for larger size streamers. Smaller hooks would require less. I probably cement 25% to 30% of the front of the wing, just a bit less than the total length of the shoulder, which Carrie Stevens determined to be 1/3 of the wing length.
Sometimes I swirl the bodkin tip a bit in the bottle to make sure I get enough cement on it. I apply the cement on the top side of the feather along the stem line, holding my bodkin parallel to the stem, and then slowly draw the bodkin off the butt end, while rotating it in my thumb and finger. This rolling action makes the cement slide off the bodkin to lay evenly along the stem. Then I pick up the next feather and align that evenly and press it into place, making sure the tip ends are even, and the stems are perfectly aligned at the shoulder joint. Same process is repeated for a third wing hackle, as on the Firefly, Jitterbug, General MacArthur, etc.
Carrie Stevens didn’t just put a dab on near the ends of the feathers, she cemented a significant portion of the feather length; and she also cemented the (inside of the) wings to the body at the front of the hook shank, cementing both sides together. My method cements the feathers similar to hers and creates the “tight, bulky front end” of the fly that was part of Carrie Stevens’ bait fish design. Though I don’t cement the wings together unless one or both are unruly.
I apply cement to the top of the second (or third) wing hackle as before, then press the shoulder in place. I generally use my Tweezerman non-serrated tweezers to do this, as this allows a more precise handling, positioning, and final placement of the feather. Same with the jungle cock, though I generally demonstrate multiple handling methods to my students and observers. A light touch after each feather is added secures the feathers in place. I have also laid a pair of scissors or hackle pliers on top of the just-cemented wing assembly to add a bit of weight to make it set.
Contrary again to Hilyard and some others, I prefer to trim my butt ends fairly close, not clipping them after the wings are tied to the hook. And like I have been advocating ever since I started teaching tying of classic wet flies, I trim the butt ends of the stems at a sharp angle, not a straight cross-cut. This tapers the end lengths of the individual feather stems so you can wrap over them and smoothly bind them to the hook and make a smooth thread base for the head. See also:

https://donbastianwetflies.com/2013/01/13/carrie-stevens-and-rangeley-style-streamers/

I’m happy to say I’m feeling great, healthy, and not even on any medications; a far cry from a year ago. Barring some unforeseen or unexpected circumstance, I will be at the International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset, New Jersey on November 23 and 24. I’ll be happy to demonstrate and try to answer your questions about tying classic wet flies, historic 19th century trout, lake, and bass flies on snelled or gut-loop eye blind-eye hooks, or Carrie Stevens streamer patterns or her methods.

Thanks to Darren MacEachern for the use of his photos of my flies. I decided to use them since he does great work. And maybe you’re tired of seeing my pictures. Tight threads everyone!

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27 comments on “Rubber Cementing Streamer Wings

  1. Terry Chapman says:

    Gorgeous flies as usual Don! Glad you’re feeling good; keep it up. My favorite fly has to by BYR Smelt; I’m a sucker (sic) for red in any fly!

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Terry;
      Thanks for your comment and glad you enjoyed the patterns, picking my BYR Smelt as your favorite over Carrie Stevens patterns, that’s very nice…and I won’t tell her! 😉 Thanks again for your comment!

  2. Kelly L says:

    Don Bastian, I hope you know, you outdid yourself right here. BRAVO!!! The history, testing, outstanding flies, and your attention to detail, have made history here. This is why I am a faithful follower of your blog. Now, the only thing missing is the recipe for your BYR pattern. If you happened to add the other recipes below, in your spare time, that would be an added plus. A dear friend of mine started tying this style of streamers recently. I told her, get yourself some Elmer’s Rubber Cement. I use this as well, and I had heard you used it. I heard it of course, from David Mac. I knew if you two were using it, I’d have to try it. I have had amazing results with that rubber cement. This blog today is a must save, for me. I am tickled pink over this outstanding subject. You nailed it, absolutely nailed it!!! 🙂

    • Don Bastian says:

      Thanks Kelly!
      It’s just something I threw together. 😉 I wrote in an e-mail to a friend, that I used my “brain files” here, didn’t look up anything…and as I added Darren’s photos of my streamers, I thought it was good because they show a progression of my tying, the lacquered heads vs. the later ones, etc.
      The BYR Smelt pattern recipe was on Streamers365.com, and I think I actually posted that on here too, with the recipe. If you try my search tab, type in “BYR Smelt” and hit “enter” you should find it. If you can’t or still want the recipe, let me know, I have it filed, I can always cut & past it to this article. Thanks for your very kind comments!

      • Kelly L says:

        Donnie, David got that tip from you, and he told me, when I just started doing Rangeley style streamers. I too wondered about how it would hold up in water. I have never had a fly to fail, with the rubber cement trick. But your added info on the testing, gave me further confidence. Some people don’t like the idea of glue in applying wings. But for this style, if CARRIE DID IT, I feel like it is more than acceptable, even preferred for this style of tying.
        Your comment made me laugh. “It’s just something I threw together”. Sounds like a cook her spent hours over the stove, and when the happy recipients gave glowing comments, the host says, it is just something I threw together. It made me laugh. That BYR fly is incredible. I am going to have to try that one in the future. I have a whole LIST of flies to tie as it is. The list is growing by leaps and bounds. I don’t have a great memory to say the least, but this is an outstanding pattern, and I bet it fishes well too. This blog has been a treat for me to read. Don’t thank me for visiting it. I thank YOU for taking the time to jot down your thoughts. It has been interesting, and helpful. I have enjoyed it immensely.

      • Don Bastian says:

        Hi Kelly;
        I didn’t like the glue idea in fly wings either. Or not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t see the need or reason. But I learned differently, I learned the truth; and the logic and reasoning and facts behind the truth. There’s nothing wrong with it (cementing wings), though not in classic salmon flies. Carrie Stevens, as a milliner, simply applied her experience of gluing feathers together for ladie’s hats, etc., to her construction of streamer flies. She was self-taught, and I say this in the nicest way – she didn’t know any better. But she made history, and some that is not likely to be repeated, regardless of whether other fly tiers support cemented streamer wings or not.
        “Throwing it together,” I meant that I intended to spend about 5 – 10 minutes writing a bit of the rubber cement info, but it just kept growing, I was inspired I guess, because the words and ideas just flowed.
        I’m glad you like my BYR Smelt pattern. I have not yet fished it, but it’s got to be a good pattern. Next time I go to Maine I’ll wet some of those for sure.
        Thanks for your comments!
        And I’m glad to have made you laugh, we all need more of that. :mrgreen:

  3. streamertyer says:

    Back when I first started tying these, Don, I used Dave’s Flexament, which I imagine is similar to the Elmer’s. Once I came into contact with Mike Martinek, he told me to use a bottle of Sally Hansen’s (or other nail polish), left uncapped about a week or so until it became thickened. I have used this ever since. Not sure how any of the Flexament flies would have held up, as I either lost them to fish or burned them (these were very early attempts) :-), but the nail polish seems to hold up quite well, as flies I have in my box that are several years old and have been fished can attest.

    One key point in the to glue or not to glue argument that always seems to get glossed over or ignored, particularly by the non-glue sect, is the practical aspect of gluing the shoulder to the wing. Anyone who has fished these flies any decent amount of time with unglued wings can attest that the shoulder, jungle cock cheeks and wing feathers will ultimately become rearranged with repeated casting and (hopefully) repeated fish. In other words the shoulder slips behind the wing and vise versa. Not gluing also allows for increased chance of tippet getting in behind the shoulder as well.

    I suspect a lot of tiers wish to tie these for ‘presentation’ and their aesthetic value more than fishability, thus I often hear the glue mentioned as a ‘cheat’ or unnecessary. Again, anyone who really knows the background of Carrie Stevens AND has fished them in earnest knows that there is much more to this than just assembly. In addition to the reasons stated above, a properly tied, aka, glued or cemented Carrie Stevens pattern has a distinct motion more indicative of a real baitfish, more so than a non-glued version. The glued version, with its more solid/stationary front-end, exhibits a very realistic tail-wag and just plain fished better than one tied without.

    Keep sniffin’ glue!
    Chris D.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Chris;
      Thanks for popping in here! And thank you very much for your comments! In case anyone does not know, Chris Del Plato is the owner / moderator of The Streamer List, a site for all fans of the long flies. Check it out:
      http://www.streamerlist.com/
      I used to be in the non-glue camp, couldn’t see it, but when I started cementing the wings I found it is actually a more fool-proof method to get the wings on right the first time with no hassles. Secondly, once I learned Carrie’s technique of layering the throats with multiple applications of bunches of feather fibers (I use schlappen), building up the fore end – belly section of the fly, I thought, “This is a highly imitative technique that adds bulk to the front head-shoulder part of the fly, simulating the actual shape of minnows.” Then when I saw Austin Hogan’s notes on her tying methods, he remarked about the heavy throat section, “It is possible Mrs. Stevens had the shape of a baitfish in mind.” Bingo! Carrie Stevens was pretty ingenious in her creation of these flies. Her fishing guide husband had to have had some input and impact on her fly creations and imitative baitfish designs.
      Chris, thanks for sharing your insights and experiences. You are another guy who is very knowledgeable about streamers, history, origins, fishing methods, etc. Thanks again for your comments!

  4. will says:

    Don, I tried this after reading something you wrote on the subject probably during 2012… but becuase it was on the bench, I did it with clear cure good hydro UV cure. If applied lightly around the stems, it worked great! Since, I’ve found “welding” streamer wings to be a big positive and have really enjoyed employing that strategy. This post furthers my thoughts… but you may have made me go buy some rubber cement for the history of it!

    Thanks!
    Will

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Will;
      I’m glad you have been having success with cementing streamer wings. But to clarify, I did mention this in my post, Carrie Stevens did not use rubber cement, but some other type of varnish. Someone told me the name of a product they thought she used, but I forgot it already. Oldtimers Disease! :mrgreen: Thank you for your comment, I just wanted to clear that up, in case you were thinking the Elmer’s was “historic.” 🙂

      • will says:

        I missed that Don and was thinking perhaps the elmers was or at least, the rubber cement was… I’m happy with the UV resin so Ill stick with it… but may try rubber cement now and again for the heck of it. Thanks!

  5. Mary Kuss says:

    Great post, Don. Thanks!

  6. Darin says:

    Don,

    While this post is directed towards streamers, what are your feelings on using rubber cement for complex, multi-layered wet fly wings (e.g., JC eyes mounted on the side of a goose quill wing)? Not nearly as complex as the streamers, but would there be a benefit to such a process?

    As always, thank you for the continuing education. Thanks for the great article.

    Darin

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Darin;
      Funny you should ask that…since my present bottle of Flexament dried out, I began using the rubber cement to repair split jungle cock nails. Last weekend at the Arts of the Angler Show in Danbury, I was tying some Black Prince wet flies, the Lake Fly pattern from Marbury’s book. It has a large jungle cock cheek. Some of the JC nails needed splits repaired, and when I placed them on the fly the cement locked them in place on the goose quill wing. They looked great, and this worked well for that. I have also cemented whole feather wings, such as on the Cheney, and I mentioned that in my post on the Cheney Bass Fly, and also the Polka flies, Orange Polka, Polka, etc. So to answer your question, this process can be used and does have benefits on other flies besides streamers.
      Thank you for your comment and compliments! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and found it informative!

  7. John Sanders says:

    Don,

    It is always a good day when I get one of you emails. Thank you. I was very happy to read that your health has improved and that you are feeling better.

    I have a question about using the rubber Cement on the streamer flies. When and how do you apply the cement? Do you apply to the individual feathers or when the feathers are combined in a group?

    Thank you,

    John Sanders

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi John;
      Thank you for your compliment on it “being a good day” when you get one of my e-mails. That’s very nice, thank you! When I get a new camera I’ll be busily filling in the gaps that I’ve missed. I’ll have to think about doing a step-by-step of the cementing process, even a video.

      For now, and my method is a little different than Leslie Hilyard’s; he cements the jungle cock nail to the shoulder feather, then cements this completed section to the cemented-together hackles. I generally start with the inside feather; some of her wings contain six hackles; three on a side. I put the lesser quality (if any difference) of the feathers on the inside, that is when they are the same color as on the Gray Ghost, Canary, etc. I dip my bodkin in the rubber cement about 5/8″ to 3/4″ for larger size streamers. Smaller hooks would require less. I probably cement 25% to 30% of the front of the wing, just a bit less than the total length of the shoulder, which Carrie Stevens determined to be 1/3 of the wing length.
      Sometimes I swirl the bodkin tip a bit in the bottle to make sure I get enough cement on it. I apply the cement on the top side of the feather along the stem line, holding my bodkin parallel to the stem, and then slowly draw the bodkin off the butt end, while rotating it in my thumb and finger. This rolling action makes the cement slide off the bodkin to lay evenly along the stem. Then I pick up the next feather and align that evenly and press it into place, making sure the tip ends and stems are perfectly aligned at the joint. Same process is repeated for a third wing hackle, as on the Firefly, Jitterbug, General MacArthur, etc.
      The same tier who gave me grief about using the rubber cement in the first place also tried to tell me I put too much cement on, that is, along too much of the feather length. However, Carrie Stevens didn’t just put a dab on near the ends of the feathers, she cemented a significant portion of the feather length; and she also cemented the (inside of the) wings to the body at the front of the hook shank, cementing both sides together. My method cements the feathers similar to hers and creates the “tight, bulky front end” of the fly that was part of Carrie Stevens’ bait fish design. Though I don’t cement the wings together unless one or both are unruly.
      I apply cement to the top of the second (or third) wing hackle as before, then press the shoulder in place. I generally use my Tweezerman non-serrated tweezers to do this, as this allows a more precise handling, positioning, and final placement of the feather. Same with the jungle cock, though I generally demonstrate multiple handling methods to my students and observers. A light touch after each feather is added secures the feathers in place. I have also laid a pair of scissors or hackle pliers on top of the just-cemented wing assembly to add a bit of weight to make it set.
      Contrary again to Hilyard and some others, I prefer to trim my butt ends fairly close, not clipping them after the wings are tied to the hook. And like I advocated in my 2004 wet fly DVD, I trim the butt ends at a sharp angle, not a straight cross-cut. This tapers the end lengths of the individual feather stems so you can wrap over them and smoothly bind them to the hook and make a smooth thread base for the head.

      Thank you for your comment! I decided to post this response into the article as well, because you raise some good questions that I think my readers will find helpful. Thanks again!

  8. Peter Simonson says:

    Don,
    The cementing approach has an improved realism of the motion of the fly in the water, especially when the cement is applied to be on the order of the length of the JC nail or a little shorter, as you point out. I am a little concerned about the long-term effects of rubber cement, however. In general, it is not a good archival material. Rubber oxidizes over time turning yellow – why it is not recommended for mounting photos, for example. You and your readers have probably noted that foam rubber yellows and gets brittle after many years – one reason it should not be used as backing in a Riker mount. I use Flexament, but of course we have no ideas what goes into Flexament… See you at Somerset.
    -Peter

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Peter,
      I guess time will tell about the rubber cement. Perhaps being on the inside of the feathers, it’s somewhat protected from the air and UV light. Someone else wrote me a while back to say he is using the Beacon Craft Glue for cementing streamer wing components. I’ve used that and like it for assembling frames and even my card-stock wet fly collectors cards, and also, it’s all I use on my Carrie Stevens Collector’s Editions streamer sets. I have not tried the Beacon cement on feathers; I’m just not sure how it would work. I know there would be little to no repositioning of components if they were at all out-of-place because of its adhesive properties.
      Thanks for your insight and comments!

  9. Joel stansbury says:

    The Beacon Craft Glue’s problem is it is Instant GRAB! It is acid free and waterproof, but once it grabs hold, that is it, as Don says. I only use it for mounts and frames also. But it is great stuff otherwise! They just didn’t have Fly Tiers in mind when they invented it. Don’s blog will someday be the History book, because there won’t be any paper books anymore.
    Cheers, Joel

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Joel;
      Thanks for your comments! I’m glad you’ve been converted to the Elmer’s Rubber Cement! It does allow for “fudging” – ha, 🙂 shifting of the components if necessary. It seems to hold well…Thank you for your kinds words of appreciation and support. Appreciate it my friend!

  10. Joel stansbury says:

    Don, you are right about it leaving room for ‘fudging’. Now that I have been using it for a while, I can honestly say it beats the heck out of SH. The wings when dry are much more flexible when you tie them in also! They are much easier to adjust. The Veverka streamers that I recently posted to my Facebook page were all done with Elmer’s and were a lot easier to tie than years ago when I used SH. I sincerely thank you for making an old man’s tying a lot easier!
    Cheers, Joel
    P.S. Check out the Veverka Streamers when you get a chance, the Ouananiche Sunset came out better than I thought it would.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hey Joel;
      I am very happy that you are pleased with the Rubber Cement! Hey, for me, it was an accidental find. I didn’t plan to use it, but I needed something and my local hardware store – that was the only option. I’m glad you weren’t too old of a dog to learn a new trick! 😉 Thank you for your comment and vote of approval!

  11. Steve L. says:

    Hi Don,
    I’m going to try Elmer’s when Sally runs out..
    I have used Sally for years and now it’s time to try something new and old..
    Thanks for the great advice and those ties are Beauties as always..

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Steve;
      Sounds like another Elmer’s Rubber Cement convert…! You won’t be the first one! I’m quite sure you will be delighted with the results. Thank you for your comment and for your compliment on my tying! Appreciate it!

  12. Greg P. says:

    Do you glue “on top” streamers?

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Greg;

      I do not normally cement top-mounted streamer wings, but I have done it on more than one occasion. I made about a dozen Black Ghosts once, and I wanted to use up the less-than-desirable feathers from a saddle hackle pack. I used every feather, literally, some with damage, some thin and wispy, some long and skinny, etc. But what I did was add more until the wing looked right. Normally the pattern uses four hackles in the wing, but I used anywhere from 5, to 6, and even 7 on a few. I cemented all those feathers to make wing assemblies, and while I was at it, I also added the jungle cock cheeks as well. These were fishing flies, and even the JC nails were less than perfect. It worked out great!

      The wings were cemented together entirely, not just lefts and rights. Good question! Thanks for asking!

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