Thursday, May 3, 2018

Don't Lose It, Reuse It - Part I


The old badger hair knot, repurposed 

     "Don't lose it, reuse it!" It's a rally cry of Rocky, the mixed breed, recycling truck-driving pup from the Nickelodeon cartoon, "Paw Patrol." I know this because I have a young child who enjoys the show and the toys. As mind numbing as the show can be for adults, there are some pretty solid messages for both young and old viewers. Lately, I've tried to be more conscious about throwing away less and reusing and repurposing items more.

    Fast forward to the day my trusty Vulfix 2234 Super Badger shaving brush bit the dust. I had used this brush for the past fifteen years, at least. I knew I was long overdue for a new brush, but the badger hair knot could easily be used for tying flies. 

     I tied a handful of flies, with which I will catch trout this season. I picked some "sure winners," like a Rusty Spinner, an Ausable Bomber, and a Cahill-colored Wulff, along with a bucktail-type streamer. I saved the knot. Maybe I'll tie some salmon flies with it, too. 


Not perfectly round, but it will do

     The brush handle seemed like it could be salvaged. I ordered an inexpensive replacement Vulfix while I studied brush reknotting. After lots of reading, I decided to enlarge the socket to accept a larger knot than the original. I ground the hole with a Dremel tool and sanded it smooth. I purchased a new knot from The Golden Nib. I realized I had drilled the hole a little too deep, so I epoxied a couple nickels in the socket to help raise the knot. The nickels actually added a nice weight to the old handle.

Knot loft set with nickels 

     As soon as the new badger hair knot arrived, I epoxied it into the handle. I was shaving with my revamped brush the following evening. Not only was I happy that I didn't throw the handle away, but I was shocked at how much better the recycled brush worked than its predecessor. It was like night and day. I was disappointed that I hadn't thought to get a new brush years ago. With use, over a matter of weeks, the new brush knot broke in nicely and it makes a terrific lather. I actually enjoyed the project so much, I decided to attempt further restorations with vintage brushes. Fly tying actually went on hold while I got my bearings. More on that next week...


The "recycled" brush, now with a 222 mm Finest bulb knot from the Golden Nib





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