This list is ever-evolving and will never be the same for everyone. This is my little lust list at the moment:
I’m in love with spun foam flies right now. From the early Tuscan Bunnies and Gas HED mullets to the Gas HED prawns. And the Ironman (but that is tale for another post). However, using an art knife or similar blade (or scissors!!) for cutting the strips is tedious and tends to be inaccurate, unless you have a surgeon-like steady hand (I don’t), or cut using a steel ruler as guide.
An art guillotine works well, but the next level in uniformity of strip, would be a pasta cutter, as mentioned by Drew Chicone in his book ‘Feather Brain: Developing, Testing, and Improving Saltwater Fly Patterns,’ in which he has a detailed SBS of the original Tuscan Bunny. Dial the diametre, off you go.
The ‘Coca Cola’ in names when it comes to hand-held rotary tools, for which countless different bits are made. This tool is invaluable in shaping your own popper and slider heads (see the SpongeBob SBS here), booby eyes, and cupping out the heads of poppers. You do of course get a variety of bits that might fit into your typical garage variety DIY drill or cordless device. The thing is that specialised Dremel tools usually come in variable speed models which can often range between 5 000 – 30 000 RPM, while you regular drill is (usually) set at about 2000 RPM.
SBS on how to shape your own foam popper/slider heads dropping soon.
Okay, so this is the proverbial exception to qualify the rule. I’ve sprayed a good few surfboards in my life and am a big fan of the can, but while some of the principles apply, there is a massive difference between putting a design on a 5’7 board and a 1-inch popper head. Not even someone with the amazing street art skills of FalkoOne would attempt that with a can, if they had an airbrush.
Okay, so maybe Falko would still knock it out with a can (*I think I just came up with a business plan). But I digress…In short, anyone who’s tried to spray (or marker) a popper head, NYAP body or the like will know they lust after an airbrush. You can do the job with a can, but to get a proper colour grading and have the fade look ‘just so’ there is no substitute for an airbrush.
Nails – as in finger nails… Not what you use to build a deck. Sure a UV light is good for quick-setting of heads and other applications but for a bulk tie of a single pattern or a proper cure of any UV-activated product, this little device is a winner. Fairly cheap from most China shops.
Ewan ‘Ethan’ Naude has evolved his craft (and tying tool collection) to the point where he now uses shampoo to groom the bucktail for his versions of the Hollow Fleye Beast. I’m not 100% sure if it is a specialised salon product from out of the sunset strip in Cape Town, or just good-ole Palmolive. But there you go, another one for your shopping list…
*Next up: INGENIOUS DIY FLY-TYING TOOLS. We’re talking about those cooked up by the master brains of the likes of Jimmy Eagleton, Henkie Altena and others. Have a useful tool you created yourself? Or know of someone who has? Let us know in the comments below>>