Making your own dubbing is something most fly tyers want to try out. It’s not just for economical reasons, but more for the desire to get a blend with certain properties. I use quite a bit of fox hair in the patterns I tie for clients. I will sometime save the underfur to create a custom blend which matches the hair. The underfur on it’s own is dull, but by adding a little bit of UV pearl ice dubbing, some seal or both, I can get a customized mixture with the properties I’m after.
Cheech uses a beard trimmer to quickly get the hair off of a pelt, and mixes the hair with other dubbing in a coffee grinder. There are a few different methods of mixing the dubbing such as the hair dryer method, water jar method, coffee grinder method, compressed air, pet grooming combs, Hareline dubbing mixer and hand mixing. Which one you use depends somewhat on the length of the fibers you plan on combining and the type of fibers.
I usually mix up more than needed, and package the extra into a ziplock bag. Make sure that you keep track of the ratios that you blend together so that if you need to mix up more material in the future, you won’t have to guess.
Specific to this video is the use of the beard trimmer. I have to admit that I’m also struggled getting the hair off the pelt in any quantity, and will be getting a trimmer to use for the tying table. I really love the idea. Cheech also shows how to match the fiber size, an important detail that will ensure you get a nice even blend. Have any other tips on blending dubbing? Let us know in the comments.