Saturday, July 27, 2013

A very cheap stud and dealing with fresh elk hide.

A very cheap stud.

     Normally, I like to support my local fly shop. They deserve the business, I need them for advice, fly materials, new rods, and support of Denver Trout Unlimited. But this is a safety issue. Boot studs are absolutely essential on Colorado streams but $29.95 for 20 studs is just robbery. At a $1.50 per screw, it's not the boot sole that's being screwed. This is a SAFETY ISSUE. As you can see, my $29.95 studs are both rusted and worn down 1/2 way through the season. I'm ready for another solution.

     So I stopped in at a local cycle shop and asked for ice studs for motocross racing on the ice. "Getting  a jump on the season are you?" "No, just re-studing my wading boots for fly fishing." "You know, I always wanted to try that. We'll have to order them. It will be four days, pay in advance $24.95 for 250."
     Now we're talking. $.10 rather than $1.50. At these prices I can afford to put nice fresh studs on both sets of boots and my wading sandals. Come-on boot makers. Get real. I'm sure you can make up some reason why your screws are $1.40 better but I doubt I'll be convinced. Your screws do rust, do get dull, and except for a ground off tip seem to be exactly the same as these ice studs. We'll see.

Speaking of cheap, how about Elk hair from a neighbor.

     World class back-to-the-land, self-sustaining, wilderness-protector, and family provider Aaron swapped me some of his elk hide for a caddis tying lesson. 

     "Wait, Aaron," I said. "This stuff is fresh. It's not tanned. There's fat and flesh still on it. How am I suppose to keep it? I can't tie with it all at once. This is 5 years worth."
     "I just keep it in the freezer," he said.

     Aaron has a much more DIY in-tuned spouse. If mine uncovered a packet of red flesh in the freezer next to her brother's Omaha steaks, unwrapped it and discovered the other side of the flesh still had all its hair attached, life as I know it might be over.

      I lived in constant fear for a couple of months, with the packet of Elk fur stuffed way back on the top shelf of the downstairs mini-frig. What to do? what to do?
      Cruising the net I found a couple exotic solutions involving borax and other stuff. Then I remembered 5th grade. How could I forget, my mother was my teacher for half the year. (I don't recommend that.) But I seemed to recall pictures of native Americans scraping then staking out buffalo skins in the Great Plains sun and covering the skin side with salt. So that's what I did and it turned out quite well. There was no odor and after a week they were dried out and ready to use and store. I still have to protect them from Rua who would love to trying tying with them having destroyed my bucktail collection in her first tying attempt. (See previous blog .. Teaching your dog to tie....)

I scraped off fat and flesh from the hide pieces, nailed them to a board,  covered them with salt and then stretched some screening over them. I then left the out in the sun on the roof top deck for a week. 

Looks professional but also authentic.