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BilletHead Fly rod Fries step by step build

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     I was contacted by a forum member asking questions about how I build my fries. I thought I would do a build for those interested. Similar but different than my poppers I did a work up of a year or two back. Going to be picture heavy so bear with me. Don't want to leave anything out and leave you all guessing. This will be for the smaller fry. Inch and three quarters long. Size up hooks and balsa block for a bigger one if you wish. We will start with materials. You can use a popper hook Mustad CK74SS if you want or I have been messing the last few days with a Gamakatsu B-10S. The B-10s have a wider gap than the popper hooks. I an liking that. A wire form for the trailing tail. I use a lead spoon wire pre made. Bought at bass pro. Balsa wood. I use two pieces 1/2"X 3/8", 1 and 3/4" long sandwiched together. Material photo, snip one eye off of the wire form. You can see the gap difference in the two hooks, both size #1,

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    Chuck up the hook, wrap one layer of thread, I am using 6/0 uni from front to back. Lay on the wire form and give a few wraps forward to secure it.  Hold up your balsa blank and pull and adjust the wire form for proper length. If you are using a prop leave enough space behind the blank, if no prop jam it in tighter but leave room to install the tail piece,

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    When you are at desired length give the thread wraps a drop of super glue on both sides. Spread it around and give a few more complete wraps of thread forward and back. Whip finish. Here is a popper hook and the one we will be doing,

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   Three sandwich balsa blocks with matching hooks,

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   More later from the BilletHead

 

 

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Love this! I scraped off your popper build into a place where I store things. Will do the same with this. It's a lot of fun to do. Now, if I ever fished....

Maybe we could trade a pond trip for a duck hunting trip. I found a duck hotspot tonight:

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No fancy gear required. Just pull up a chair, drink a beer, have some chow, pump up your Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time... 

(Just looking for a reason to post the duck pics; 😄carry on)

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   Dang :rolleyes:

I sure wish I had a cement pond like that for hunting and testing my creations. Is it stocked with fish? Watch out for otters cuz they will wipe the fish out. Be sure that the BB gun has steel shot in it to be legal and don't shoot your eye out,

  PS don't drink that water while swimming.

 BilletHead

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     OK lets glue these suckers up. Lay your hook and wire extension where you want it on the blank them press it into the balsa side some leaving an imprint. This will keep it from slipping when fitting the other matching side,

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   Lay the other side on and press again setting the hook imprinting the hook on each side.,

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   Without glue clamp the sides tight and leave it there a few seconds. If you are doing a batch do them all.

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  Here you can see the mirror imprints,

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   Take one side and put a small small amount of super glue in one of the imprints. Lay in the hook and press to glue,

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   Test fit the other side. If you are satisfied then put another small amount of super glue on the rest of the blank. Again I stress small. You really don't want excess glue squeezing out on the blank. It will soak into the wood making it hard to carve and sand. Match sides and clamp again,

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   Here is the glue I use. Get it at grizzly woodworking. 2oz bottle goes along ways if you are going to make a bunch,

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   Next we will start carving the blank,

 BilletHead

 

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       After your glue sets. I give it a few minutes. Open your clamps. If it helps do some marking on the blanks . Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't but just starting it can help you. Just a rough draft,

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  Tie to start carving. I use a small exacto. Keep it sharp. Either change blades often of sharpen often. I have a diamond hone and then drag on a leather strop to keep blades lasting longer, Start taking off sharp corners,

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Then taper the sides,

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 Round off corners again,

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This is where I begin to start sanding some. 120 grit will hog off wood pretty quick so take your time. Start forming this way,

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Then start sanding the corner edges . Watch for symmetry on each side. For and aft,starboard and port.

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Change to 220 grit and work more getting to the final shape you are looking for. Leave plenty of wood on the front and tail end. Try not to sand to a point on each end. Finish up  again with 400 grit,

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    The body is done. Painting is next,

BilletHead

 

 

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Really is an awesome thread.  I absolutely love wood working and also small scale painting... Just wish I had the time... I need to pick up some balsa and hooks as I've had an idea in my head for making some topwater beetles for a while utilizing balsa instead of foam.

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    Lets start painting your fry,

 We are giving it a white base coating. This acrylic craft paint is cheap. You can spend from fifty cents on up to a buck and a half a bottle and it goes along ways,

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  Give it a coat. This first coat will soak in and raise the grain. No worries we will sand again,

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  After drying another sand of 400 grit paper,

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  I repeat this painting one more time and then sand again. After that there is an optional step. I do this to strengthen the soft balsa. I know it will be coated with a final epoxy finish but I do it anyway. Use your super glue and a toothpick. With the side of the toothpick spread a thin layer of superglue and let it dry,

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When dry one final sanding with the 400 grit sandpaper. It will slightly scratch your finish and help the final paint and epoxy adhere to,

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   Now we will get ready to get artsy,

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  BilletHead

 

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    Going to paint this one by using dots. Called stippling or as I remember from art class in high school pointillism. I learned a bunch from this site,

http://www.flytier.com/stippled.pdf    Takes some time to load but well worth the read.   Some of my tools for this method,

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    For the Mrs. I will be doing a pink and purple fry. Being a breast cancer survivor she likes the pink of breast cancer awareness and purple of being a survivor. We will be doing a tight pattern of dots. I will mask off the first part with a strip of painters tape,

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  We start by doing pink dots spaced out without touching,

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  Let dry a bit and start dotting between the dots,

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 Again after drying some one more time. I know we can just paint it solid but what fun would that be? Leave some white showing,

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  When dry remove tape and reinstall another strip slightly behind that,

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  Repeat like above with purple and remove tape and do some scattered dots being it all,

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  Now lets paint on some eyes. Using larger dot making tools we will use three colored eyes. Since we are working on a rounded side you will have to work your roundish eye on that curved surface,

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   Add your other colors,

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     Sign the bottom of your work. Looks kind of plain but it will really pop when we coat it with epoxy but we will do more painting before we do that. 

BilletHead

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A fly only a devoted husband could love 😄

I've loved stippling ever since you told us about it a while back. I think it's a great technique. Can't say I've got it down as good as you, but I've got some poppers that look pretty with green on top, white on bottom and stippling to blend. I've got a bunch of old drill bits and other stuff that I use. 

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