MATCHING SET OF FEATHERS
FLY TYING FEATHERS
FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
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MATCHING PAIRED SETS OF FEATHERS
Matched sets of feathers are more critical in some applications than others. When tying feather wings on a fly it is important to use matched feathers. If you were tying a Classic Atlantic Salmon Fly intended to be framed as a piece of art, then you will need to be extremely critical with perfection as the goal, but if tying a fly for general fishing purposes, then just do the best possible without going overboard.


Set of matched Peacock Quill Feathers.
Notice the stem curvature on these Peacock
Quills are opposite directions. Peacock Quills
and the more exotic feathers are usually sold in
matching pairs.

When tying a feather wing fly that use slips of barbs, such as from goose shoulder, turkey tail feathers or Peacock Quills, then you will be most concerned with the curvature of the feathers and length of the barbs. If using a complete feather for the wings on a fly, then you need to spend some time and make sure they are perfectly matched.

MATCHING PAIRED FEATHERS
Almost all feathers can be matched. The stems of feathers have a curvature and when tying feather wings, you want to match feathers from the left and right side of the bird that have opposing curvatures.

Paired Goose Shoulder Feathers
These Goose Shoulder Feathers have been matched
in pairs of different colors for use in a wedded feather
wing. It is important that the curvature of paired feathers
are opposing each other, but with goose feathers, they
don't have to be perfect matches. They should be similar
in size and barb length. Notice the slip of barbs that have
been cut from the blue Goose Shoulder Feathers that
will be used in the construction of a set of wedded
feather wings.

GOOSE SHOULDER FEATHERS
When using goose shoulder feathers for wings, you don't actually use the complete feather, but will cut slips of barbs to be used for the fly's wing. Goose shoulder feathers are one of the more common feathers used for wings, as they are cheap and readily available at any fly tying shop. When searching for matched pairs of goose shoulder feathers, the most important factor will be selecting feathers with the opposite curvatures. With matching goose shoulder feathers they don't have to be perfect, but should be similar in size and barb length.

Goose Shoulder Feathers
In this package of Goose Shoulder Feathers
all the feathers were from the left side of the bird
with the same curvature. When tying a set of wings
you need matched feathers with opposite curvatures.
The positive of this situation is that all the feathers are
good quality and we can buy more packages of the same
colored goose shoulder feathers and eventually find
matched sets. Maybe the next package all the feathers
will have opposite curvatures.

When buying a package of goose shoulder feathers there are usually about half a dozen feathers. There should be three matched pairs, but more often than not, there will be more feathers with curvatures from one side of the goose than the other. We usually buy several packages of each color and will get a couple matched pairs of feathers.

For more specific and detailed information on selecting the best Goose Shoulder Feathers, then check the Wedded Feather Wing pages

WEDDED FEATHER WINGS

PHOTO HERE
These Flies Uses Complete feathers for the wings

Ringneck Pheasant Feathers
These matched sets of Ringneck Pheasant Feathers
could be used as wings or sides. Matched sets of
feathers should be the same size and shape with
almost the exact patterns. The length and taper
of the stem should be the same. The curvature of
the stems are opposite from each other and when
placed back-to-back they flatten out and produce
a straight line with each feather applying equal
tension against the other.

COMPLETE FEATHERS FOR WINGS
When using a set of complete feathers for wings, they should to be as close to perfectly matched that is possible. With feathers that will be tied back-to-back against each other, there will be tension between them. If the feathers are not exactly matched, then there will be an unequal tension between them and the feathers will eventually shift position.

TESTING IF FEATHERS ARE MATCHED
We paired a couple hundred sets of feathers before realizing they were not actually matched. They had opposite curvatures and looked like perfectly matched sets. We constructed several flies using these sets of feathers and they looked great. But as days, weeks and months went by, the wings would eventually start to shift position. We presumed it was because they were not tied properly on the fly, but it was actually because the feathers were not perfectly matched.


Hold the feathers back-to-back against each
other. They should flatten out and when looking
down the stem, they should be straight.

After you have paired up feathers that look like perfect matches you should test them to be positive. The first test is to hold the feathers back-to-back at the tie-in point. They should flatten out with equal tension from each feather. The feathers should have straight lines. The second and definitive test is that while still holding the feathers back-to-back, flick them with your finger. With a perfectly matched set of feathers they will hold their positions against each other. Flick them several times from different angles and matched feathers will still hold their position.

Bronze Mallard Feathers
Matched pair of Bronze Mallard Feathers
Out of four packages of Select Bronze Mallard,
only found one perfectly matched set of feathers.
When placed back-to-back with each other, these
feathers are straight and hold their position.

When purchasing packages of select pairs of matched feathers, it will cost a little extra, but are usually worth the extra money. Different companies will have different definitions of the term select. It might only refer to the selection of better quality feathers, but not necessarily matched pairs.


Matched Set of Gray Single Eye Feathers
We would remove the fluffy barbs and use
the complete feathers as the main wing.

Most exotic and more expensive feathers are usually sold in matched pairs.


Matched Sets of Lady Amherst Tippets
These sets of matched tippets have been placed
back-to-back against each other and are almost
perfect matches. It would be hard to find
better matched sets, but if you want to go to
extremes it could be possible.

LADY AMHERST TIPPET FEATHERS
When matching sets of tippet feathers start by selecting feathers of the same size with opposite curvatures. Then select tippets with similar shape and bars. If the tippets look like a good match, place them back-to-back and they should hold their position. Then for the real test, while holding the tippet stems at the tie-in point, flick the feathers with your finger a couple times. If they still hold their position it is a perfect match.

STORAGE OF MATCHED SETS OF FEATHERS
Storage of your carefully selected matched sets of feathers is straight forward. You can put the matched set of feathers in individual plastic bags. Then store the plastic bags in a larger container being careful not to compress the feathers. If you check the photo below with the matched sets of jungle cock nails, notice that we taped the stems on cardboard backing with a glossy finish that won't absorb the oil from the feathers. Instead of using tape, you could apply a drop of glue at the base of the feather stem and it will usually hold them securely in position.


Matched Sets of Jungle Cock Feathers
Even Jungle Cock Feathers should be matched.
Factors such as curvatures, size and color
will need to be taken into consideration.

JUNGLE COCK NAIL FEATHERS
Jungle Cock Nail feathers should to be matched when used as a set. Start by selecting jungle cock nail feathers that are similar in length, size and stem thickness. Then match sets of feathers with opposite curvatures. If they look like a good match, then test them by placing the feathers back-to-back and they should hold their position. The ultimate test will be that while holding the feathers at the tie-in point, flick on the tips with your finger. If they still hold their position, then they are considered a perfect match.

Tarzana Steelhead Fly
Tarzana Steelhead Fly
A matched set of jungle cock nail feathers used
for the main wings of this steelhead fly. It was
critical to use a perfectly matched set of nail
feathers. With an unmatched set of feathers,
they will shift position.

Matched Hackle Feathers
These hackle feathers were selected for use on a
Carrie Stevens Streamer fly. The main concern when
selecting hackle feathers to be used as wings will be
matching stem length, barb length and feathers with
opposite curvatures. They should be matched close
as possible.

MATCHING HACKLE FEATHERS
It would be very rare to match sets of hackle feathers, but if you were tying a Carrie Stevens Streamer Fly for display purposes, then would want matched hackle feathers. Another example is the above photo of a Tarzana Steelhead Fly that uses hackle tips for wings.

Alexandra Fly
Alexandra Fly
Matched Peacock Sword Barbs are used
for the wings. Most people don't consider
about matching peacock sword feathers
and barbs, but they have definite curvatures.

MATCHING PEACOCK SWORDS
When using Peacock Sword Barbs you would take them from feathers with opposite curvatures. The main concern when matching peacock swords will be the curvatures and that the barbs are about the same length. While it is hard to tell the barbs on the above Alexandra Fly were matched, but if only barbs from the same peacock sword were used, all the barbs would curve the same direction and would look off center.

PHOTO HERE
Golden Pheasant Crest Feathers
The top set of Golden Pheasant Crests are a
matched set. Notice the curvature of the tail
and topping are the same. Compare the bottom
Golden Pheasant Crest feathers that used a short
crest feather for the tail and a long crest feather
is used for the topping, but the curvatures are
very different from each other. When tying flies
it is standard to use a shorter crest feather for the
tail, but extreme professionals would use matched
Golden Pheasant Crests.

MATCHED GOLDEN PHEASANT CRESTS
Not too many flies require matched Golden Pheasant Crests, but there are professionals who want the flow of the tail and topping of the fly to have the same curvature or a pattern that calls for multiple crest feathers to be used in the topping. When matching crests feathers you would be concerned with using the same length feathers and the curvature of the stem. We will get into more detail on the subject of matched Golden Pheasant Crest Feathers at a later point in time.

Peacock Wing Quill Barb Patterns
Peacock Wing Quill Barb Patterns
When designing a set of feather wings use barbs
with similar patterns. The above slip of barbs look
similar, but are different enough that it could effect
the overall appearance of a set of wings. Barbs with
more black will give the fly a darker appearance.
Most fly tyers probably would not notice the
difference, but when demanding perfection,
this would be a consideration.

MATCHED BARB PATTERNS:
The pattern on the feather barbs will have variations. Some sections might have more dark areas, while other sections are lighter, which might be noticeable when comparing individual wings from a set of wedded feather wings.

Wedded Wings
A Set of Wedded Feather Wings
This pattern represents an American Flag
and was designed for use on a Fancy Steelhead
Fly or Classic Atlantic Salmon Fly.

WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
When designing a set of wedded wings, the quality of the feathers need to be scrutinized more than normal. Barbs need to be married completely to the tips and the barb length will be important considerations that need to be factored in when selecting feathers for wedded wings.

WEDDED FEATHER WINGS

FEATHER CARE AND STORAGE
Some general advice about cleaning and storage of feathers.

ANATOMY OF A FEATHER
Description and parts of a feather

BUYING AND SELECTING FEATHERS
What to look for when buying feathers. As a beginner we bought a lot of worthless and damaged feathers. This page will help in the selection of good quality feathers.
 

MATCHING FEATHERS
How to match and pair feathers when tying feather wings on a fly.

FLY TYING FEATHERS:
AM-GOLD PHEASANT
ARGUS BODY FEATHERS
ARGUS HEN QUILL FEATHERS
ARGUS PRIMARY TAIL FEATHERS
ARGUS SECONDARY WING
BANKSIAN COCKATOO
BARRED WOOD DUCK FEATHERS
BIOTS (GOOSE / TURKEY)
BLUE EARED PHEASANT
BLUE EDGED MANTLE BODY
BRONZE MALLARD FEATHERS
BUSTARD FLORICAN FEATHERS
BUSTARD KORI FEATHERS
CHATTERER
CHUKAR SKINS
COQ DE LEON
COTINGA
CRANE FEATHERS
CUL DE CANARD (CDC)
DUCK QUILLS
EMU FEATHERS
GADWALL DUCK FLANK
GOLDEN PHEASANT SKINS
GOLDEN PHEASANT CREST
GOLDEN PHEASANT TAIL
GOLDEN PHEASANT TIPPETS
GOOSE SHOULDER FEATHERS
GRAY PEACOCK SINGLE EYES
GUINEA FOWL FEATHERS
HUNGARIAN PARTRIDGE
INDIAN CROW
JAY
JUNGLE COCK
KINGFISHER
LADY AMHERST CENTER TAIL
LADY AMHERST TIPPETS
LEMON DUCK FEATHERS
MACAW TAIL FEATHERS
MALAY PEACOCK SINGLE EYE
MALLARD SIDE FEATHERS
MALLARD WINGS
OSTRICH HERL
PARROT FEATHERS
PEACOCK FEATHERS
PEACOCK HERL
PEACOCK NECK FEATHERS
PEACOCK QUILL FEATHERS
PEACOCK SWORD FEATHERS
RINGNECK PHEASANT
SCARLET MACAW
SILVER PHEASANT
STARLING SKIN
SWAN FEATHERS
TEAL FEATHERS
TURKEY FEATHERS

WOOD DUCK FEATHERS

HACKLE FEATHERS
Hackle feathers are a complete subject in themselves and these pages will sort through some of the confusion.

MARABOU FEATHERS
Marabou are fluffy feathers that have a breathing action in the water.

FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
http://www.flytyinginstruction.com
Fly tying equipment and materials
reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

FLY TYING FEATHERS
MATCHING SET OF FEATHERS