Alternative for jay blues.

splinters

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I've decided I have too much time on my hands. So I thought I might try a bit of dyeing. I don't enjoy splitting jay to wrap it so I'd like to have a go at a blue alternative. Suggestions for a beginner please. Grizzle, partridge, guinea fowl? I've read Midlandflyfishers sbs and gathered the hardware up but I need a recipe for a close..ish colour and a source if you have one. Thanks in advance.

Simon.
 

doobrysnatcher

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have you tried scottp he seems to always use alternatives to bluejay and gives exact amounts for colour mixes
and ties a class fly also
try with captn fishy he should steer you right also he also dyes and ties a mean fly
 

Cap'n Fishy

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I've decided I have too much time on my hands. So I thought I might try a bit of dyeing. I don't enjoy splitting jay to wrap it so I'd like to have a go at a blue alternative. Suggestions for a beginner please. Grizzle, partridge, guinea fowl? I've read Midlandflyfishers sbs and gathered the hardware up but I need a recipe for a close..ish colour and a source if you have one. Thanks in advance.

Simon.

You can use any of those - hen grizzle hackle, grey partridge and guinea fowl. Largely down to individual preference as to what gives you the look you are after. If you want to wind it like a hackle, then grizzle or partridge will be better than guinea fowl, unless you want to tie large flies, as the guinea fowl fibres are on average longer. The black and white (to become blue) markings on the guinea fowl are much more defined than on the grizzle hen and partridge, though. I guess you could try a nice genetic grizzle cock and get a good result. Never tried it.

The thing to watch is the colour. The blue in jay is pure blue - no turquoise. However, using grey feathers, which all of those are, really, tends to knock the colour away from pure blue. I dyed some grey partridge kingfisher blue for Richfish, and the base pushed the final colour away from kingfisher (which is quite turquoise to start with) and towards teal!

Here it is, along with trilobal nylon dyed kingfisher (and a piece of white belly deer hair dyed 75% turquoise:25% blue)...


So, if you want the blue closest to the true blue in jay, I would use Jacquard 'Brilliant Blue'. This is a cock cape dyed with it...


However, some folk prefer a bit of turquoise in their jay subs. Veniard actually market guinea fowl dyed teal blue with the intention of it being used as jay subs - even though the colour is nothing like the blue in jay feathers. How queer!

Here is a sample of trilobal nylon dyed with Veniard 'Teal Blue'...


I admit, I don't bother to try and wrap jay - just tear it off and tie a beard hackle with it.

Some options - grizzle hackle with some turquoise...

4728.jpg

Guinea fowl - heavy on the turquoise...

Goats-etc_2975.jpg

Guinea fowl - more towards blue...

Goats-etc-May18_2983.jpg

The real thing as a beard hackle...

SilverInvicta_3991.jpg

I often just use guinea fowl as a beard... :eek:

BroraFlies10May19_1437.jpg

Col
 

Wee Jimmy

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To be honest,I don’t think any of the alternatives come even close to what we get with proper blue jay either in colour or the texture of the feather.

For bumbles instead of winding the BJ as a hackle,I prefer to pull a bunch of fibres from the stem of the feather and tie them forward over the eye of the hook.Let them spin around the hook shank as you do this,almost as if spinning deer hair. Just sweep them back and whip finish after the rest of the dressing is completed.
 

splinters

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Thanks guys. Col, I've seen the Veniard guinea fowl and don't like it. Your stuff is streets ahead. I really like photo number six, guinea fowl-more towards blue. Is that just brilliant blue or is there any turquoise in it?
Jimmy, don't discourage me, I know it's an alternative rather than a replacement. But like I said, I've got too much time on my hands. I almost started on the wifes to do list yesterday. That would be a dangerous precedent so close to the new season.

Simon.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Thanks guys. Col, I've seen the Veniard guinea fowl and don't like it. Your stuff is streets ahead. I really like photo number six, guinea fowl-more towards blue. Is that just brilliant blue or is there any turquoise in it?
Jimmy, don't discourage me, I know it's an alternative rather than a replacement. But like I said, I've got too much time on my hands. I almost started on the wifes to do list yesterday. That would be a dangerous precedent so close to the new season.

Simon.

Like I said, Simon - I have no idea why Veniard make their 'jay subs' pure turquoise, when jay is pure blue. :noidea:

Keeping in mind that jay is 100% blue...

I think that image 6 is a blue/turquoise mix. Jacquard do:

100% Blue

Turquoise

Those are the two that I use in my blue mixes.

The thing do do would be to experiment with a few feathers in various mixes of the two to get the colour you are looking for. You can pick up packs of guinea fowl off Chinese eBay sites for pennies... sold for dress and hat-making. Gives you plenty to play about with. ;)

Col
 
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splinters

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Thanks Col, dye duly ordered. I've got shed loads of feathers to play with. Btw I'm halfway through Stan Headley's book. Great pictures.

S.
 

Wee Jimmy

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Good luck with the dyeing Simon,the more you dabble,the more fascinating it becomes...:thumbs:
 

splinters

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Ok, the dye has arrived and my workshop benches have acquired a new stain. Col's link were out of the turquoise but these people had it so I ordered from them. Rainbow Silks : Silk Painting, Textile Decoration, Creative Embroidery, Felting and Knitting Supplies
Initial results tell me I'm using way too much dye, need to dial it back a lot.
75% turquoise 25% briliant blue....





75%blue 25% turquoise....




Both 5 minutes in the dye.

The difference is ...tiny

Next batch 50% weaker and I can see a difference. I went with the 75% turquoise 25% blue.





A few other feathers, just to see.

Grizzly


Partridge.


Teal.


I found some red dyed guinea in the drawer so chucked it in as well. The camera doesn't capture the purple sheen at all well but I'm no photographer. The feather looks nice.




There's a long way to go but so far so good. I've learned that it's very easy to waste dye by adding too much. I need to find the lower end of dye strength. If the dye is too strong the colour change happens so fast I can't control it.
This will fill a few evenings. Thanks again to all who responded.

Simon.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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There's a long way to go but so far so good. I've learned that it's very easy to waste dye by adding too much. I need to find the lower end of dye strength. If the dye is too strong the colour change happens so fast I can't control it.

Sorry, Simon, I could have given you a bit of advice there.

I find for feathers, a concentration of 3% w/w (weight for weight) is about as much as you will need. The volume of water doesn't matter so much - it is just a vehicle for the process. The feathers will take up the dye until they are saturated. Saturated colour may be too strong - as you are finding. So, go with 3% w/w. You should then find that when the feathers have taken up all the dye, the water will turn almost completely clear. If you are pouring heavily coloured water down the sink, you are wasting dye.

So, you need to know what is 3% w/w...

I use a set of these...

Smart Weigh GEM20 High Precision Digital Milligram Scale 20 x 0.001g Reloading, Jewelry and Gems Scale: Amazon.co.uk: Kitchen & Home

I save the tops from plastic milk bottles to use as weighing boats.

An entire 1 g packet of feathers such as Veniard sells their grey partridge by is 1000 mg.

So, if you were wanting to dye an entire pack, you only want 3% of that in dye, which is 30 mg. That's about equivalent to a 'pinch' of salt. And if you want to do a 75:25 mix, you are looking at 22.5 mg of one and 7.5 mg of the other. That is very small amounts, so I tend to keep a supply of small tubs and make up pre-prepared mixes - say 300 mg of one and 100 mg of the other (then give them a good old mix together, label the tub and put aside for future use).

And that is for an entire pack of 1 g of feathers. If you are only dyeing a dozen or so at a time, you want even less than 30 mg total dye. I use a lab spatula like this...

cole-parmer-0636911-ptfe-coated-lab-spatula-w-1-5-flat-taper-x-1-25-flat-round-ends-1-pk-0636911.jpg


If I'm just doing a few feathers, I will be adding no more than the amount of dye that is picked up on the finer-ended tip of the spatula... less than a coke-dealer would pick up with the inside of his pinkie nail. :whistle:

Hope that helps,
Col
 

splinters

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Righto Col, I've got a scale very like that for weighing my rod glues. 3% weight for weight duly noted.
Thanks again.
Simon.
 
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