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Dubbing needle holder

Keep your dubbing needles bright, clean and sharp by taking an empty 35mm film cassette container, packing it firmly with steel wool, and using the needle to make the requisite number of holes in the lid to hold the dubbing needles. It helps to weight the bottom of the container with some lead foil (see tip on this subject) to add stability. The constant insertion of the needle into the steel wool cleans off any residual varnish etc which may be on it, as well as sharpening the point.

Lead foil

If you have a friendly dentist, ask him if you can have the waste lead foil used in the X-ray plates. This is fine gauge foil, and is usually about 40mm x 30mm or 30mm x 20mm (depending on the size of the X-ray plate). The "dimples" on the foil are easily removed by flattening with the handle of a toothbrush or similar. The resulting mini-sheets can then be cut into strips and used for slim weighting of hooks. For patterns such as shrimps, the foil can be cut into a triangle, securing the base points at either end, and wrapping the apex round the shank, giving a tapered hump. An improved method of doing this is detailed in the November/December 2000 issue of "Fly Fishing and Fly Tying".