Welded Loop Creation - update: - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Welded Loop Creation - update:

Welded Loops: Part 1

There are a few different ways to make your own welded loops on your fly lines. Here are 2 of those methods:

I had just got this Rio Scandi head, and it came without any factory made loops. The line has a floating body (green), and intermediate section (darker green), and finishing with a type 3 (S3) sink tip (brown).





Rio also give the line specs on the box, and handy if you need to cut the head to weight-match for the rod you are going to use it on. As I will be using it on a Loomis GLX 14’ #8/9 rod, not head cutting was required.





The head does come with braided loops in the box, but as I don’t favour this method, these will be going spare!





The spool is opened, and a length of another line (fluo pink floater #9 – running line section) is made available.





Some scissors, and some lengths of shrink tube, and a cigarette lighter make up the rest of the loop making kit.





The rear end of the shooting head is cut obliquely with scissors





Select about a 2” length of the correct diameter of clear 2:1 shrink tube, and place the end of the line into it





Place a loop of the pink line into the tube, so you can know where to cut this.





After cutting the correct length of the pink line for the loop construction, cut each end of this obliquely, and place the loop inside the shrink tube, such that the main shooting head line lies between the two arms of the pink loop, and ensure that the orientation of the obliquely cut ends face the green line, such that when welded, the welded external coating completely covers the core of the line.





to be contd ….

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

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post #2 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Part 2

Welded Loops: Part 2

Start the heating carefully with the lighter flame (there are other ways to heat the loop for this welding – a heat gun with a 500 C setting, or the ceramic bladed electric hair straighteners as used by the fairer sex), and after the initial heat shrinkage, ensure that the correct orientation of the loop is maintained.





It is important not to overheat the lines or loop during the heat welding process, and this is done by waving the flame gently under the loop in the shrink tube, and not allow any burning of the shrink tube or underlying line, as the core of the line may be weakened or damaged. You can tell when the line coatings start to melt as the loop within the shrink tube starts to become limp, and bends – take the flame away then, and with the coating melted, simply roll this section between your fingers to allow the loop to meld together smoothly. This rolling in the fingers also allows you to roll the loop section straight as it cools, leaving the welded loop straight when the weld is almost complete.





The slightly discoloured shrink tube is then split with fine pointed scissors starting at the loop end, and then carefully stripped off the cooled weld by simply pulling.





The loop end of the completed weld.





A similar process is used for the other sinking tip end of the line. Instead of adding a loop of another line, however, and to reduce the bulk of any weld, in this case the end of the sinking tip is simply folded upon itself within a section of clear shrink tube, after cutting the end of the sink tip obliquely again.





Showing the free end of the line, with the obliquely cut end facing the main line so that, when welded, there is a smoothe and complete outer coating to the weld, with no core exposed.





The loop end.





The weld almost complete.





The proximal end.





to be contd ….

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

Take only photographs, retain only memories, leave only a good impression of yourself, perhaps just footprints.

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post #3 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Part 3

Welded Loops: Part 3

The loop end.





Stripping off the shrink tube, as before.





The completed welded loop.





The proximal end.





The loop end.





The welded loops completed on the spooled line.











Whilst there may be areas which are not completely welded & the coatings fused , only discovered after you remove the shrink tube, you can repeat this welding process for those areas as necessary.


I hope that showing this method has been helpful to some.


Mike
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If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

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post #4 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 07:57 AM
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Looks Great Mike

The only comment I've heard when welding two different lines as you beautifully did adding a loop to the butt section is to try to use lines from the same manufacturer as the plastics are similar and will melt at the same temperature. Mixing manufacturer and therefore plastics may be problematic.

I've converted all my braided loops/mono loops to welded also.

Steve
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post #5 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 11:02 AM
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welds

I've been using the back end of an Airflo line (polyurethene) for loop material and welding it to pvc lines. I've yet to have a failure. PU having a lower melting point than does PVC, necessitates care be taken to insure the PVC is hot enough to weld without over heating or burning the PU or the shrink tube.

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post #6 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 11:46 AM
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I haven't tested mine

on that 20 lb + steelhead yet....but hope to soon
I read (on a similar thread) here that loops in T 14 were a little more difficult. As added security I just left the shrink tube in place.
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post #7 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 11:56 AM
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very nice.

Very nice job on the loops. I was just wondering what type and size of shrink tube you are using. I can only find colored stuff with glue in it in my area.
Thanx,
Brian
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post #8 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 12:06 PM
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Guideline Fly Fishing

is a sponsor here. Jack was in the process of putting together a kit that included a heat gun,etc. Getting the right stuff from him will probably save you time and hassles. On the other hand, if you have a large electrical supply store close you may be in luck.
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post #9 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 12:37 PM
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Available

The kits are available and shipping. The shrink tube in several sizes is available also. See your favourite GUIDELINE-Steelhead Anglers dealer.

Every time I demonstrate this technique to a shop or angler it is life changing

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post #10 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 01:41 PM
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shrink tube

I tried it this morning and found that it is much easier if you use the clear heat shrink tubing so you can see when the line is welded. Also the thin wall heat shrink tubing worked best for me. I had tried it before with other tubing and it didn't work for me.

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post #11 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newsteelyman View Post
Very nice job on the loops. I was just wondering what type and size of shrink tube you are using. I can only find colored stuff with glue in it in my area.
Thanx,
Brian
I'm not sure as to the make of the shrink tubing, and for sizes, I have obtained 1.6mm through to 6.4mm diameter, with the shrink ratio 2 to 2.5:1

The clear is obviously best, as you can observe what's happening during the heating/melting process.

I have purchased it online (eBay) from trusted UK sellers in 5m lengths per diameter.

Mike

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post #12 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 03:33 PM
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Mike,

Thanks for the excellent demo. I'd heard about welding loops, but hadn't ever seen it.

Rick
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post #13 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 09:50 PM
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Funny I was reading this on the guideline site last night..Appreciate seeing it up close...excellent post...I'll be ordering some up on Monday!!!
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post #14 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 10:19 PM
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Heat Shrink Tube Diameter

Quote:
Originally Posted by newsteelyman View Post
Very nice job on the loops. I was just wondering what type and size of shrink tube you are using. I can only find colored stuff with glue in it in my area.
Thanx,
Brian
Depends on thickness of the lines you are welding. 3/32", 1/8", 3/16" are probably the most common. I've mostly used 1/8" when making loops on the ends of lines, but larger diameters may be needed for thicker lines. You need to be able to relatively easily slip the lines into the heat shrink tube and roll them around to be the right orientation, but without much looseness.

Fry's Electronics in Wilsonville, OR carries a variety of sizes and colors, including clear. Norvac Electronics in Beaverton does also, and according to another post on a related thread, they ship.

As for the temperature of the heat gun, I thought it was 500 deg. F, not C. Line coatings melt at 200 - 300 deg. F is my understanding, so you don't want a super hot gun. Harbor Freight sells a two speed gun for $10 with the lower setting being the correct on. I heard HF also sells nozzles that neck down the heat exhaust, important for controlling the part of the weld you are working on without heating the loop or exposed line.

On that point, it helps to protect the loop and line if you use slightly longer HS tube, enough that the loop can be completely inside the tube and is less likely to be damaged by errant heat, same with the line. About 1/2" works well.

I had trouble peeling the HS tube off afterward (with the fine point scissors digging into the line coating) and went for scoring the outside of the tube on both sides with a razor and then inserting fine point scissors to start a cut on both sides, and then pulling the halves apart. Gotta be real careful not to score so deep as to cut through the tubing, tho.

But I saw a guy using a seam ripper yesterday to put holes in rabbit strip for threading on string leeches and that gave me the idea of trying seam rippers on the heat shrink tubing. Need to try it. I think they may still be too fat to fit in there.

Rick

Last edited by Rick Kruger; 02-15-2009 at 08:55 PM.
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post #15 of 151 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 04:51 AM
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Unhappy A Discouraging Word

First, Mike's post was a splendid set of photos, clearly illustrating a process better than I can ever remember seeing in the Spey Pages.

My problem is with the physics of the welding process itself. Welded loops are so sleek and professional looking. But consider this: the braided core, probably the source of the majority of strength in a fly line, isn't even joined to itself! Welded loops are simply plastic melted into plastic. And don't you suppose that melting and recongealing affects the plastic at the molecular level - and probably not in a good way!

Here's another rude question: would you join a leader butt to a fly line by melting an inch or two of the line tip and mono butt together, then letting it cool? Would you trust such an attachment against a substantial fish?

Me, I'll continue to make line tip loops and some splices as old-fashioned served (with fly-tying thread) connections, with 1/2" to one inch of the line end stripped of its core. I trust those connections because I've tested them with increasing strengths of mono tied to a tree then pulled to failure. These old-fashioned loops and splices break 35 pound mono, time after time. Will somebody please do similar tests with welded loops?

The time to find out how sound this attractive new loop system is, is in the present - not in the future, against that 20 pound-plus steelhead (which, in these days of decimated runs, will probably the last one you'll ever encounter).
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