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Fly Tying Quick Tips

A Better Source for Copper Wire


wire rib on a spool Arrrrgh! Unless you know something I don't, it's just a matter of time before your copper rib winds up looking like this. What if I told you that you've got a free lifetime supply of copper wire laying around the house that you're probably just going to throw away? Now how about if it totally solved the messy wire problem?

Chances are you have a broken appliance or worn out extension cord just waiting for the trash. Before you toss it to the curb, grab the cord! It's filled with hundreds of feet of neatly twisted wire that's perfect for fly tying. a good source for ribbing material
wire strippers To get at the wire, start by cutting the cord into 6" sections. This seems to be about the right length to tie a single fly. Long enough to be easily handled but not to much waste ('cause you'd hate to waste free wire!). Remember not to use your good tying scissors for this task! If you've got a 2 strand cord you'll need to separate the 2 halves next. Now take a pair of wire strippers and strip the coating from 5" of the wire, leaving about an inch to hold the strands together. If you accidentally pull all the coating off the wire don't worry. Just hold the bundle together and wrap one end with a piece of tape. Done!

free copper ribbing wire
You now have a nice neat package of copper wire. Just pull a single strand out of the bundle and you're ready to tie. You'll also save wear and tear on your expensive fly tying scissors. Different cords will yield different wire gauges. Typically, a 2 strand appliance cord will have very fine strands, while exterior extension cords are thicker. The better the cord or appliance quality, the more wire the cord will yield. You're not limited to just copper. Speaker wire will often contain silver wire, and high end audio cable can contain fine gold ribbing. Before you know it, you'll have a lifetime supply of ribbing wire in all colors and sizes.

One last tip... I typically only strip one or two 6" pieces of cord at a time. This keeps the wire from tarnishing over the years.

Fly Tying Tip By: Brian Doelle.

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