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.
Hareline Dubbin’s Custom Dubb Kit
Compressed Air Dubbing Mix
Youtube Channel: Fly Fish Food
Youtube Video: DIY Dubbing
You can put away the coffee grinders, compressed air and hair driers, Hareline Dubbin now has a kit for the ever adventurous fly tyer with their Custom Dubbing Kit. I’ve been blending my own dubbing for years simply by selecting a few strands of this and that and mixing by hand, but it is only good for a small batch, and hard to recreate. The Custom Dubbing Kit comes with a selection of dubbing, instructions, a carding brush and a carding plate (dubbing board). This is perfect for mixing up about a bags worth of blends at a time, and it allows you to create a consistent blend with materials distributed evenly throughout the dubbing. If you need more, I suggest investing in a carding drum and be sure to weight out the components and write them down so that they can be re-created down the road. Brian Wise has posted a short video about the kit and shares some ideas on what to blend and how to do it. Mix in a little ice dub with wool, make a custom blend of yellow, blue red and black for your favorite stonefly pattern or even add rubber legs (Shaggy Dub) into the mix. Save the underfur from your fox tails to blend into a killer dubbing.
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Dubbing assortments are an easy and convenient way to store your collection of dubbing materials. Store bought assortments are great, but why not take it a step further, and create your own. You get to choose the colours, and the types of dubbing to store in your dispenser.
I have been a big fan of using dubbing blocks or dubbing dispensers for quite a while now. Almost from the start of my tying obsession, I had been fascinated with the variety of dubbing available on the market. When I first started tying, the off the shelf assortments were perfect for me, but I soon grew out of them, and found myself knee deep in dubbing. I went down to a local hardware shop, and bought a box to store my dubbing in, and soon the box was a mish-mash of dubbing. I now prefer to keep the types of dubbing I use separate from one another. I have a dispenser for rabbit dubbing, another for diamond dubbing, and so on.
I like to use the plastic containers with 18 compartments in them to create my dispensers. They come with all the necessary separators, and travel easily. I have used a 48 compartment box in the past, but quickly found it to be quite unmanageable. It didn’t come with all the separators either, so I had to steal some extras from other boxes I had. For this project, I bought 3 – 18 compartment boxes, and the entire range of diamond dubbing available from Great Canadian Dubbing (45 colours including several holographic dubbings). The final project would give me 3 boxes, 2 full, and one half full.
Start out by getting all of your materials in order. Remove the tabs from the separators, and trim off any excess plastic with a pen knife. It will make the insertion of the separators easier.
Continue reading DIY Dubbing Dispenser – Darren MacEachern