Head cement

Anything fly tying...
Posts: 4323
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Head cement

Post by catskilljohn »

I was buying some stocking stuffers for the wife and my daughter the other day, and I came across black nail polish. I thought, why not buy black instead of clear, since you mostly want a black head anyway? Sometimes with heavy wax on the thread, the clear doesn't hid the wax, and you end up with a mottled head. Anyway, I bought it and love it, why didn't I think of this before? CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

Posts: 667
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:25 pm

Re: Head cement

Post by SgtMajUSMC »


Good catch! I wonder how the black and red nail polish compares to the old Cellire (Sp. ?) lacquer that used to be the standard for finishing salmon flies?

Lots of cool colors available...lots of possibilities for steelhead flies, too, esp the purples and blues.

Great tip!

Thanks, John!



Posts: 1477
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:29 am

Re: Head cement

Post by narcodog »

I have been using Sally Hansen's 08 glossy for sometime it has some metal flake in it. I thought it was black when I bought it. I thinned it down and I use where I want some glitter like on wooly buggers instead of beads. :P

User avatar
Posts: 5183
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:20 pm
Location: Catskills

Re: Head cement

Post by Eperous »


As Tim noted, good tip.... ;) That said, I've never really used any nail polish for head cement on flies, but I have to admit my most difficult problem in applying my head cement has been insuring I had enough cement thinner on hand so I could keep tying... :o After I put the tying vise away last winter, good fortune shined down on me and in the mail I received a bottle of Dr. Logik's Thread Varnish, which I am looking to using this off-season, though my tying thus far has been side-tracked of late, in other words - I haven't started yet... :oops:

BUT, maybe this is an fine alternative to the black Testors flat enamel that I use on the heads of streamers; does the nail polish come in yellow also for eyes? :?: :)


User avatar
Joe Fox
Posts: 762
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:16 pm
Location: Roscoe, NY

Re: Head cement

Post by Joe Fox »

Nail polish works fine. Some have a lot of shine, but there are a lot of people who like that. I like a matte appearance. My fav lacquer that now appears to be a thing of the past is Griffs (for clear) and Lagartun (for black and others color).


Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Head cement

Post by wiFlyFisher »

CJ, here is a stocking stuffer you wife and daughter should get for you instead of nail polish. It can hold a lot of beadheads and these cool little, personalized wood fly boxes are only 15 buck delivered...


See.. http://www.rivertraditions.com/wood.html

Posts: 667
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:25 pm

Re: Head cement

Post by SgtMajUSMC »

I've used Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails clear nail polish for head cement for a long time. 1 coat is fine to finish a typical fly head, 2 coats make a nice shiny head, as on a streamer.

Once it thickens I use it to glue together streamer wing assemblies.

For streamer eyes, check out "Tulip" T-Shirt paint. Cover the complete eye (iris and pupil) with some Sally Hansen's, as above. Works like a champ.

Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:52 pm

Re: Head cement

Post by shakey »

one hint for using black nail polish that i'm sure you all know,is to use clear SH first,then black,then clear.that way the black doesn't run into hackle or white wings,etc.

sort of the same idea as tying with white thread then switching to black for the head.

Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: Head cement

Post by troutingintas »

When I buy nail polish to use as head cement, I also purchase some nail polish remover (acetone) as a thinner.

Jerry G
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:42 pm

Re: Head cement

Post by Jerry G »

Every once and a while this discusion as to what should be used to thin nail polish comes up. It has been my understanding that nail polish removers contain some things that will dull the gloss effect that we may be looking for with the heads on our flies. Don't know for sure as I have not gone that route. I have though read that pure Acetone is what we should be using. Now a word of warning as this isn't good stuff to be inhaling. I have though found a pint bottle of 100 0/0 pure Acetone at out Walmart store a few years back for about $5.00. It has thinned my bottle of clear nail polish several times. Be careful though as a few drops will likely get you to the consistency that you are looking for.

Regards, Jerry

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests