U.V cure resins.The introduction of these product to the world of fly tying has made a major impact. They hold 1 great advantage over epoxy and that is the cure time. Each one cures in a matter of seconds. Other advantages are no mixing. No in between time to get the resin on and cure it. Because you use uv light to cure the product, you have limitless time to shape, spread and coat your creations.
I use these products for making cases on nymph backs, doing "epoxy back flies", and for coating fly heads.
One of my patterns in particular uses the resin over the entire back of the fly. I used this pattern to test out each of the resins. I fished the pattern with each product on them for 4 weeks straight,(total 12 weeks) and got results that I want to share with everyone who cares to read my blog. I will cover price to product quantity, performance, ease of use Ie containers and applicators, and availability.
There are 3 competitors in this market of new interest to fly tiers. They are loon uv clear fly finish, bug-bond multipurpose uv cure resin, and clear cure goo aka c.c.g. I think everyone knows of the company loon. Loon as you already know or may not know is an excellent company. There products are well researched and come at good prices. Bug-bond is a relatively new company. Based over seas in the U.K., from what I can tell they are only in the u.v. game. Clear Cure Goo, is also a relatively new company. They popped up in recent years and are being pushed hard as a U.S. based company. They push there product mainly as a salt water fly product. But they also promote fresh water applications.
Here are the numbers for cost and quantity. All prices are full retail price. And I listed them in order for most product for the best price.
Loon- 59.15 ml for $22.88- Loon does not have a kit available. There light retails for $34.95 but you can find it cheaper. So your looking at a possible kit of $57.83.
Bug-bond- 20ml for $25.50 at white water flies. There kit goes for $47.95. The kit comes with a 20ml bottle and a u.v. light. Bug bond also makes a power light. It is much more powerful than the light which comes with the kit. They call it there uv torch. It retails for $57.73 and I believe is only available in the U.K.**** update, white water flies now carries the torch light, you can even get it in a kit.****
C.C.G.- 10cc/10ml syringe for $13.50. They have a 15ml bottle for $17.00. There kit retails for 49.99 and it comes with two syringes so you get 20mls and you get there light. There light retails separately for $30.00.
Summary- Its quite simple to tell that Loon crushes the competition with 59.15ml@ $22.88. compared to bug-bond at 20ml@ $25.50 and c.c.g. at 15ml@ $17.00.
Loon- $0.39 a ml
Bug-bond- $0.79 a ml
Clear Cure Goo- $0.88 a ml
Here I will cover ease of use and availability
Loon- The resin is very easy to work with. The bottle is large and is easy to handle. It sits perfectly up right and is easy to have on your bench. A brush of okay quality is included as well as a cap to make the bottle a squeeze bottle. The brush works well for large jobs, and the squeeze bottle adapter is very convenient for the small jobs. Both the brush and the squeeze bottle applicator screw on to the bottle. Loon can easily be found on-line and in many fly shops across the country.
Bug-bond- Bug bond resin itself is very easy to work with. The bottle is a small to medium size bottle that is easy to work with and easy to keep upright on your tying bench. The bottle itself is a squeeze bottle applicator. You simple snip the tip and your ready to start. The brush is a screw on cap for the bottle, and the squeeze bottle tip is apart of the bottle and the cap screws on securely to cover. They also make a brush applicator that is an okay brush. And it is the same as the loon. Bug-bond is a product of the U.K. so its availability in the U.S.A. is very limited. Although a quick search on line and you can find it, with free shipping to boot. I am unaware of any actual store front fly shops that carry bug-bond here in the U.S.A.
Clear Cure Goo- Clear cure makes several different consistence of resin. Each one is easy to use and work with. The syringe are very uncomfortable to use and next to impossible to store or keep on your bench. There bottles are small. They are easy to use, store and keep on your bench. They have several different application bottles, there is one with no applicator, the method would be to use your bodkin. They make a squeeze bottle applicator, which is nice and easy to use. They also make a brush applicator bottle. The brush is the same story as the loon and bug bond. The syringe and the squeeze bottle have a little rubber cap to cover the application tip, it does not screw on. C.c.g. is taking the country by storm. You can find the product very easily on-line and and many fly shops are starting to carry the product.
Summery- Loon's bottle has it all in one, and is easily found. Bug-bond's bottles either come with a squeeze (very nice) or brush, and is not so easily found here in the U.S.A. C.c.g. syringes are very inconvenient. There bottles are nice and you either get a squeeze bottle(nice) or the brush bottle or no applicator bottle. The rubber caps to cover the tips are easily knocked off and do little to keep excess goo form oozing out.
Here I will cover the performance of each product. I cured each product with there own light and fished the pattern fly for 3 weeks straight. Bouncing bottom the whole way in the rocky streams of eastern pa and western N.J. (yes, it got snagged and yes I went swimming. Brr was that cold in the winter)
Loon- Loon cures is fully cured in under 8 seconds with there power light. It adheres to nearly anything. Goes on clear, cures clear with no residues. In my fly testing loon performed flawlessly.
Bug-bond- bug-bond cures fully in less than 5 seconds with there torch. 10 seconds with the standard light that is included in the kit. It will adhere to almost anything. Bug-bond when cured has a slight residue left behind. It is not sticky and will evaporate in a short time. About the time it takes you tie another fly. In my fly testing bug-bond performed flawlessly.
Clear Cure Goo- C.c.g. cures in less than 10 seconds with there light. It will adhere to almost anything. C.c.g. when fully cured does leave a residue behind. It's slightly tacky, so dubbin particle will adhere. It doesn't seem to dissipate in any quick fashion. This is true for both the thin and thick. The flex cured with a slightly oily residue, not sticky at all, very similar to bug-bond residue. In my fly testing c.c.g. had problems. The flex came clean off the nymph. Both the thin and the thick turned white after only a 2 days.
Summary- Loon performed great, as well as Bug-bond. C.C.G. didn't do so hot.
I hope this helps anyone who is interested in purchasing u.v. cures. My results say much about the companies and there product. While I do like bug-bond a lot, I will be sticking with loon clear fly finish. That is if I ever finish the bottle. 59.15 ml has lasted me many dozens of flies and I think I may have finally put a dent in the bottle. As for c.c.g. I say buyer beware.
Additional info- I have continued use of the u.v. resins. Still working on finishing that loon bottle! I recommend with all the resins you give them more cure time. The times i listed above are all manufacture cure times. I have found that each one does take additional u.v exposure to fully cure.
1/18/12 I have a bottle of bug bond thin on the way, and will be purchasing the c.c.g. hydros to test out through the next couple of months. I will report back the details.