Reviving tying wax

unclealec

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Good morning all
I seek advice from one who is both a celebrated fly tier and a Grade I tightarse.

I have come to the conclusion that the disaster area sometimes called "the dubbed body" on my flies could be improved if my wax had any degree of tackiness.
At the moment it is so hard that I suspect my wife of having tried to cook it.
From research I am minded to melt it in an improvised bain-marie, mix in a couple of drops of olive oil, then pour it into waxed paper bun cases to set.

Any experience out there? Any hints and tips? Any suggestions as to suitable receptacles?

Don't say that new wax is only a couple of quid a stick; I know that, but I have a compulsion to recycle existing rather than buy new. I still use Rimfly reels.
 

PaulD

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Dubbing does not rely on the material 'sticking' to the thread, dubbing is the outcome of the dubbing fibres being twisted around the thread. There is no technical need to buy or fashion 'sticky wax'.
 

unclealec

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You may well be right, but my first requirement is to soften the wax I use for a number of reasons. A distant memory from when my wax was young tells me that waxed thread makes for easier tying.
A side effect would be the chance to try "touch-dubbing" so that I can avoid the bell-rope that is my twisted seal's fur.
 
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flathead

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One way to soften hard wax is to break off a piece about shirt button size and mould it in your fingers and keep it in the palm of your hand....we had to do that with the old veniards hard wax.

You only need to use a small piece at a time...I have used to same lump of wax for the past 30 years or so.
 

wrongfoot

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Thanks flathead; I will investigate. I think mine is old Veniards. When I say old I mean old.

I added cobblers wax (a hard pigment, rosin and parrafin wax blend) to my some of my veniards (which is a beeswax parrafin wax blend I think) and melted it together to get a darkening wax into my tyings.

The cobblers wax is quite hard so I softened the mix with a few drops (NB. very little this few drops was diluted across 3 cakes of wax) of mineral oil. I avioded a seed or plant based oil as I didn't want to have it turn rancid. I don't know if that was over precautionary.

Seemed to soften the stuff back enough, but might be all in my head... :oops:
 
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sofasurfer

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I bought my one and only lump of wax from Veniards about 45 years ago. It's hard as rock. You don't need to soften it, pulling the silk across it generates heat which melts the wax onto the silk.
 

unclealec

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Yeah; that was my theory, until I noticed that the so-called melted wax brought about by pulling the thread through at speed, wasn't at all gooey, just dry and flaky. Also, my thread of choice (given that I am allergic to buying things) is my selection of Pearsalls Gossamer Silk, which all too easily digs in to the wax block and snaps.
Anyway, plenty of advice and ideas to go at - thanks to all responders.
 

jimmcl

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Peel or break a small lump off and drop it into some hot (not boiling) water. Give it a minute or so and it'll be good to go. If you wrap it onto your forefinger when tying, that will keep it soft & malleable.
 

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