One of the essential tools all fly tiers should have on their
bench is a quality pair of scissors. Actually as you can afford
them several pair are a better idea. But, until your ship finally
docks, or you hit the lottery, one really good pair will do.
Tiemco, Dr. Slick, Ice and several other manufacturers all make
a quality scissors for between 15 and 25 dollars, and they are
well worth the investment. Several European manufacturers produce
products that sell for better than sixty dollars in this country,
if you can afford those and wish to indulge yourself, by all means
After you have put your hard-earned dollars out to acquire these
necessary implements, it is a good idea to take care of them, and
provide for their security. Depending on the make up of your
household this may mean no more than placing them in your Styrofoam
block after a tying session, or it could mean locking them in the
safe to keep others in your house from cutting their toe nails with
them. This is particularly damaging to any scissors, especially a
precision pair like we use in tying.
The only thing in fact that toe nails have in common with fly tying
is the employment of toe nail clippers to cut lead wire, ribbing
wire, heavy mono, and those sorts of single stranded material that
will instantly spring your scissors, especially if you use the tip
of the scissors to do the cutting.
If you absolutely insist on using your scissors to cut these materials,
please use the extreme rear of the scissors, and then be careful with
heavy materials, chenille is deceptive, it is tougher than you might
think. With toenail clippers being sold everywhere for less than a buck,
I have no idea why you wouldn't want to use them!
The same holds for deer and other hairs. If you cut hair with
the tips of your scissors, you will I guarantee spring a delicate
pair. Instead use the rear of the scissors, closest to the hinge
to cut hair, and cut only a sufficient sized bunch to tie your
fly. Most of us in fact have at least two pairs of scissors. One
we use specifically for very delicate work, the other, or "general
purpose", we use for hairs etc.
Synthetic materials play absolute havoc with all scissors. This
stuff has the ability to dull scissors faster than cutting your
mother-in-laws hair. It is just plain nasty stuff. A third pair
of heavier scissors is really in order here.
When you travel with your scissors, a small piece of surgical
tubing placed over the points will insure that they remain in
good shape during your journey. You might further place them
in a small zip top bag with a piece of foam on either side to
make a sort of sheath that they may snuggle into for added
Last but not least, loan out your wife before you loan out
your scissors, you have a better chance of getting her back
in the same condition you loaned her out in than you do with
a pair of good scissors.
If you have not yet bought a quality pair of scissors yet,
do so. They are a pleasure to use, and properly employed and
cared for, they will last several lifetimes as well.
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this
material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas
too!~ George E. Emanuel
(Chat Room Host Muddler)