Whilst researching at the end of 2004 for what flies to take to Russia (planned trip August 2005 for the first time), I came across Jurij (Yuri) Shumakov's flies:
Perhaps not in that article, but in one of his many other excellent pieces, I saw that he mentioned the use of plastic laboratory tubes (he used to work in a lab) which he had access to, and he experimented with their use for tying tube flies. It was in such an article, I seem to recall that he mentioned pipette tubes, but not exactly how they were used.
These pipette tubes are those that are used for drawing up minute quantities of fluids with a thumb operated switch on a pipetteur (?correct name) such as made by Eppendorf. These small quantities are then transferred to test tubes etc for analysis.
However, after I got hold of some in 2005, I have been experimenting myself, and find that they are very useful, particularly as they are made cone shaped, and will accept a hook at that end without junction tubing. The fine end lends itself very well to the application of coneheads and 'ruffheads' (probaby should now be called ruffnecks!), as well as a small silk head on the templedog style flies.
In the preparation, I have two types of pipette tubes:
Uncut, the upper one is 52mm, the lower 32
Coneheads and tubes
Uncut pipette tubes with applied coneheads
Cut off the tips of the pipettes, so you can more easily work with the silk tying thread (the conehead in only finally applied at the end of the fly assembly
Cut the bases of the pipette tubes with the trusty Swiss knife, leaving the upper tube of 30mm, the lower 20mm. Note that each will be further slightly reduced by the necessary trimming after the conehead is applied, and the end heat flared
A selection of the prepared tubes before tying, the upper 2 with ruffnecks, the lower with coneheads.