building a set of wedded feather wings, sometimes it takes more time
selecting the feathers and the best barbs to be used. Because it is so
important to select the best barbs, a good proportion of this page is
dedicated to the selection of the feathers and barbs used when
constructing a set of wedded feather wings.
Selecting Barbs from a matched set of
Goose Shoulder Feathers. Cut barbs from
the same location along the stem of each
feather. The selected barbs should be
about the same length.
To start tying your
first set of married wings, you will need couple different colored
goose shoulder feathers, which are available at any fly tying shop. You
will also need a pair of scissors and a bodkin or a needle.
Select feathers from the right and left side
of the bird so the curvatures are pointing
towards each other. Cut sections of barbs
from opposite positions of each feather.
The barbs have all been cut from about
the same location on the feather stems.
The middle section of the feather usually
offer the best barbs.
CURVATURE OF THE FEATHER
Feathers from the right and left side of most birds will curve towards
each other. When selecting feathers for the wings of a fly, you will
use a feather from each side of the bird with the curvatures pointing
towards each other. The feathers should be about the same size. When
buying exotic feathers they will usually be matched, but with feathers
like goose shoulder, you might have to buy several packages to find
some good matched sets.
SELECTING WHICH FIBERS TO USE
Looking at the above photo, you will notice we cut barbs that are
opposing each other. The fibers need to be about the same length and
blemish free. The tips of these sections should be in good condition
with the barbs locked together. If you look at some of the above
photos, notice that we cut barbs near the center of the outer edge of
the feathers. Usually these are the best barbs on the feather, but
barbs on the inside edge of the feathers can sometimes be used.
Notice the taper of the barb tips are different.
Barbs near the mid-section of the feather have
the best taper and barbs closer to the top of the
feather are less tapered.
TAPER OF THE SELECTED BARBS
When constructing a set of wedded wings you will want to cut barbs from
the same location from the feather stems. The slip of barbs should have
similar tapers, which will flow together when married to other barbs.
See below for more information on tapering the tips on a set of wedded
Fibers from the right and left feathers
should be kept separated.
PREPARATIONS AND ORGANIZATION
Keep the fibers from the right and left feathers separated. Lay them
out as shown in the above photo with each color in the order that it
will be married on the wing.
Marrying Blue Goose Shoulder Feather
Barbs to barbs from a Peacock Secondary
MARRYING THE BARBS TOGETHER
the barbs together and they should lock together like Velcro. If this
is your first attempt at constructing a set of married wings, it will
be surprising how easy the barbs from the feathers will marry to each
other. When touching the barbs together from the different sections,
they will catch hold of each other, then stroke the barbs between your
fingers and they should completely zip together. When constructing a
set of wedded feather wings, we learned to start by marrying the barbs
from top and work towards the bottom, but to prevent any confusion,
standards dictate building wedded wings from bottom to top. Most
recipes list the order of colors from the bottom to the top.
Use a needle.to separate the desired
amount of barbs.
SEPARATE THE FIBERS (BARBS)
want to have equal number of barbs on each wing in a complete set. Use
a needle to separate the desired amount of barbs for each color. You
might need a magnifying glass to clearly view and count individual
barbs. Barbs are more defined when viewed from the back side of the
MARRYING BARBS FROM DIFFERENT SPECIES OF BIRDS
It is possible to marry the barbs of feathers from different species of
birds. This is a common feature of classic salmon fly wings. Some
feathers are easier to marry than other feathers, and there are about a
dozen varieties that are commonly used when marrying barbs for wedded
wings. Sometimes you will have to experiment. Barbs should be of
similar thickness, length and curvatures. Fibers are thinner near the
tip of the feather and thicker towards of the bottom.
See Chart below for some
feathers that can
be married to each other.
Barbs are lined up creating a smooth tapered
edge and stylish design of the wing.
WING SHAPE AND TAPER
the process of marrying the different fibers you want to align the tips
to create a taper for the style of wing you are constructing. Normally
you would use the natural taper of the barbs.
For more detailed information see:
OF WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
WEDDED FEATHER WING PATTERNS
Below are some wedded feather wing patterns with detailed instructions.
Each pattern listed below includes additional details involved in the
construction of wedded feather wings and reading through each page of
patterns will have additional details that may not have been included
on this page.
Red Wing Blackbird Wedded Feather Wing
Steelhead Fly This set of wedded feather wings
is a simple pattern with only two sections.
BLACKBIRD WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
pattern is a good when building your first set of wedded feather wings
because there are only two sections and will only have to marry the
slips of red and black goose shoulder feather barbs together.
American Flag Wedded Feather Wings
When we first learned how to marry feathers,
started with the American flag colors. There
are seven red stripes and six white stripes,
each made with two barbs.
FLAG WEDDED WING #001
to build the above set of American Flag wedded wings. This pattern was
excellent practice to learn the importance of counting barbs. There are
seven red stripes and six white stripes, each made with two barbs. If
even one stripe has an extra barb, it would be very obvious.
American Flag Wedded Feather Wings
FLAG WEDDED WING #002
to build the above set of American Flag wedded feather wings. This is
another version for a set of American Flag Wedded Feather Wings. It has
a more traditional feel with the added barbs from a Peacock Quill. This
pattern has been very popular with many positive comments.
Tented Pair of Wedded Feather Wings
This pattern fades from Orange to Green
FEATHER WINGS FADE PATTERN
These wedded feather wing patterns fade from one color to another. The barb count has to be exact or it will be obvious.
Gold Peacock Wedded Feather Wings
PEACOCK WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
Instructions to build the above set of Gold Peacock wedded feather
wings. The gold goose shoulder feathers have been custom dyed.
Yellow Baron Wedded Feather Wings
BARON WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
Instructions to build the above set of wedded feather wings.
Pink Lady Wedded Feather Wings
LADY WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
Instructions to build the above set of wedded feather wings
Wedded Feather Wings #669
TO BUILD #669
Instructions on building the above set of wedded feather wings
Set of Wedded Married Feather Wings
Instructions on building the above set of wedded feather wings.
We will keep adding more patterns of wedded feather wing designs. If
you have any patterns and photos of flies with wedded feather wings
that you would like to have posted on this website contact us at:
Video showing the manipulation
of the wing flow
MANIPULATING THE FLOW OF THE WING
might want a wing that sits low and sweeps back or high and arched. The
easiest way to explain this procedure is with a video. Coming soon...
BARBS FROM FEATHER WINGS
There have been times when constructing a set of wings that there are
some extra barbs. It is easy to add an extra barb when marrying them
together in a set of wedded feather wing and not notice until the wings
are finished. It is very easy to strip out extra barbs...
ADDING BARBS TO
A FEATHER WING
Adding barbs to a feather wing can be a little more difficult than removing barbs, but should be an easy enough process.
PROBLEMS MARRYING THE BARBS
Sometimes the barbs will lock together without any effort and other
times they won't cooperate. The first step would be to do an inspection
for damaged barbs. The next and most common problem is trying to marry
barbs from feathers with the opposite curvature or that have been cut
from different positions along the feather stems. With proper
organization this should not be a regular problem, but at least with in
our experience it happens.
THICKNESS OF THE BARBS
Barbs are thinner towards the tip of a feather. When marrying barbs
from different birds, this could be a consideration. When marrying
barbs that are thick to barbs that are thinner could be a problem. In
cases like these you could use the barbs near the tips which are
thinner or barbs towards the bottom of the feather that would be more
compatible when married to each other.
COUNTING THE NUMBER OF BARBS
This tip describes how to easily count the number of barbs when
preparing to construct wedded feather wings. A magnifying glass will
definitely help to see the individual barbs. Another method is to take
the point of a needle and on the back side of the feather near the
stem, slowly run the needle point over the barbs. As the needle point
passes over the ridges of each barb it will make a clicking sound.
These are extra barbs from the various
wings we have designed. From experience
we can pick out the left and right side barbs,
but for most persons this represents a nightmare.
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.
The pattern of the
barbs from peacock wing
quills will have variations. Some sections have more dark areas, while
other sections are lighter, which might be noticeable when comparing
individual wings from a set of wedded feather wings.