Alberto Calzolari’s Blog for fly fishing

Black Japanning and hook protection

Black Japanning and hook protection

The freshly made stock of Black Japanning is still cooling down in its jar and I am thinking I have survived once again to this experience. Furthermore I did not burn down my house or my neighbour hedge.

For those who don’t know what the Black Japan is: it is a black smelling stuff used to coat hooks for classic salmon fly tying. See my other post about hook making to get more infos.

This small production is going to last for a long time as I am not doing the stuff for commercial purpose and it should be sufficient for myself and few friends.

Thanks God, because the difficult task is not getting the famous recipe but actually doing the mixture and playing with something that is highly flammable, it stinks and looks like incandescent magma ready to transform you in one of those guys once buried by ashes and lapilli in Pompei, during the eruption of the nearby volcano.

For the formula of the Black Japan you go straight in touch with Aaron Ostoj and get the recipe. It’s good to know that 100% of the proceeds for the recipe sale will go to charity.

I repeat, getting a bottle of Black Japan is not an easy task: first, you must find all the ingredients and somehow one of them is quite difficult to be purchased in Italy. Then you must be prepared to play “The little happy chemist” or “The little unhappy fireman”, depending on how things goes. You must deal with grumbles coming from (choose) your mother, wife, relatives, neighbors, etc…

And once you have your bottle ready you still have to do a big job to get your hooks reshaped or made from scratch, filed, polished and cleaned, before you attempt any coating.

But it’s not finished yet, once the hooks are coated you still have to bake them to harden the film of Black Japan. And once again this can be a smelling operation where you’ll deal inevitably with grumbles from (choose) your mother, wife, relatives. Your neighbour, this time, won’t give a damn about what you’re doing in your own oven.

Anyhow, if everything goes right then you’ll have beautifully black coated hooks ready to be squeezed between the jaws of your vise. The term jaw is really appropriate. It reminds me the toothy mouth of a shark. And indeed, in case of precious hooks, the force applied to keep them in position could leave no escape, exactly like a shark’s jaw. Scratches, chips and other damages can be the result of too much pressure used to tighten the hooks.

And it goes even worst in case you use automotive paint or other stuff to coat your precious hooks.

You can surely use the usual recommended protection on the jaws such as pieces of plastic and other materials but, do you really have a 100% guarantee that your coating will be safe?

I was dealing with this kind of issues for years and I probably went through most of the vises available in the market today. Yes, even the most expensive one.

One thing I understood, the solution does not depend only on quality, name or fame of the tool. It has to do more on vision, ideas and thinking out of the box.

The day Franco Cottarelli told me about his idea of the T-Rex I immediately thought we were on the right track. He was already producing his vises since years and I had no doubt about the quality and innovation of his products. I had been using the Traveller for most of my trout flies for years.

To cut a long story short, today the T-Rex is not just an idea but it is something real that works and that it is used, with satisfaction, by many fly tiers around the world. The T-Rex is the ideal for classic salmon fly tying, or for big flies, such as steelhead, pike, bass or saltwater.

But again, with just few accessories and in few seconds you can transform it in a standard vise for trout flies and even in a tube fly vise.
Actually you have 3 vises in one. You combine this with a high quality of materials used, with perfect craftsmanship and with a hand made production entirely done by one man in Italy and you won’t be surprised to know that some tiers called it the Ferrari of vises.

Well, give yourself few more minutes and check my page in this site about the features of the Cottarelli T-Rex. Then, if you wish, take your pc and write me for infos.

If you want to know more about the Traveller I suggest you to visit this page on The Fly Base.

The web site is great and I discovered there is one review on the Traveller that is worth of reading. And the pictures, wow, they are simply amazing.





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