Matched Wet Wings
- Place the outside surfaces of the wing sections together, so that the ends and the top edges align perfectly.
- To match the widths, use a dubbing needle to remove surplus fibers from the lower part of the wider section, as shown.
Matched wet wings are most commonly made from primary or secondary wing quill feathers, though suitable tail feathers (or even body plumage) can also be used. Traditional matched wet wings are tied concave sides together.
The following photographs show how to prepare and tie on matched wing slips. For matched whole-feather wings - I use jay as an example here - proceed as follows. Choose two stiff jay covert feathers (see first photograph under "Jay Hackles" in Chapter 5). With inside surfaces together and longest-fibered edges nearest the shank, check wing proportions and remove surplus. Flatten stalk waists, then tie on and finish off as usual, taking one or two turns of thread behind wings if required.
- Form a body, and a hackle if required. (S)
- Select a matching pair of undamaged left and right feathers. The ones shown in these photographs are wing quill feathers from a wild duck.
- Cut out two matching sections from the center (or slightly lower) parts of the left and right feathers. Note: Duck wing quill fibers are thicker toward the quill; when cut they tend to separate, and so are more difficult to control and marry. If possible, avoid tying in this part of each matched wing.
- Adjust the wings for length (see "Proportions of a Fly" in Chapter 2) and, holding the prepared wing sections in your left hand (still with the outside surfaces together), tie them on using the wood-duck (tails) method. (S)
- Trim off the surplus, in layers, and finish off the fly.
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