MARRIED WEDDED WINGS
FLY TYING ADVICE AND TIPS
FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
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reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

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FLY TYING TECHNIQUES
HOW TO MARRY FEATHER BARBS
AND DESIGN WEDDED WINGS

Marrying barbs of different feathers and building wedded feather wings is considered an advanced technique, but it is not that difficult, but will take practice to perfect them. The main secret will be in selecting good quality feathers and marrying barbs with similar curvatures.

Wedded Feather Wings
Wedded Feather Wings

Wedded feather wings will probably be the prominent feature of your fly and will add a touch of class. Once you have figured out the secrets involved with marrying feather barbs together to build a set of wedded wings, a whole new world of fly tying begins.

PHOTO HERE
Wedded Feather Wings

Wedded Feather Wings are also referred to as "Married Feather Wings" Both definitions represent the same and only a matter of past or present tense.

For more wedded wing patterns see:
WEDDED FEATHER WING PATTERNS

When 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.

FeathesFeathers
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.

Feathers
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 feather wings.

Wedded Wings
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 Barbs for a set of Wedded Wings
Marrying Blue Goose Shoulder Feather
Barbs to barbs from a Peacock Secondary
Quill Feather.

MARRYING THE BARBS TOGETHER
Touch 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.
Marrying Barbs for a set of Wedded Wings
Use a needle.to separate the desired
amount of barbs.

SEPARATE THE FIBERS (BARBS)
You 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 feather.

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.

PHOTO HERE
Barbs are lined up creating a smooth tapered
edge and stylish design of the wing.

WING SHAPE AND TAPER
During 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:
TAPER TIPS 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
Red Wing Blackbird Wedded Feather Wing
Steelhead Fly This set of wedded feather wings
is a simple pattern with only two sections.

RED WING BLACKBIRD WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
This 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.

PHOTO HERE
American Flag Wedded Feather Wings
(Version #1)
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.

AMERICAN FLAG WEDDED WING #001
Instructions 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
American Flag Wedded Feather Wings
(Version #2)

AMERICAN FLAG WEDDED WING #002
Instructions 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

WEDDED 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
Gold Peacock Wedded Feather Wings

GOLD 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
Yellow Baron Wedded Feather Wings

YELLOW BARON WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
Instructions to build the above set of wedded feather wings.

Pink Lady Wedded Feather Wings
Pink Lady Wedded Feather Wings

PINK LADY WEDDED FEATHER WINGS
Instructions to build the above set of wedded feather wings
 

Wedded Feather Wings
Wedded Feather Wings #669

INSTRUCTIONS TO BUILD #669
Instructions on building the above set of wedded feather wings

Wedded Feather Wings
Set of Wedded Married Feather Wings

INSTRUCTION TO BUILD #880
Instructions on building the above set of wedded feather wings.

WEDDED FEATHER WING PATTERNS
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:
flytying@usa.com

VIDEO HERE
Video showing the manipulation
of the wing flow

MANIPULATING THE FLOW OF THE WING
You 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...

REMOVING 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.

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.

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.

ACCESSORIES
There are products designed to help hold the fibers of wedded wings together when tying them onto the hook of your fly. While it might be tempting and seems like a magic cure for all your problems, it is better to avoid all such products. To start with, you don't need it. If you reached the stage of tying feather wing flies, don't stop now. Every new set of wings tied will get easier and with improved quality. So with respect to these products... a true fly tier would never use such products.

MATCHING FEATHERS
In most cases the use of matched feathers will improve the appearance and structure of a fly and this is especially true when tying feather wings.

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.
 

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

ANATOMY OF A FEATHER
Description and parts of a feather

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 ADVICE AND TIPS
MARRIED FEATHERS AND
WEDDED WINGS