Wapsi Head Cements

It is safe to assume that most fly tyers use only one head cement for all of their needs. While this is perfectly acceptable for basic applications understanding how and when to use each type of head cement will allow you to tie better looking, more durable flies.

Wapsi offers 4 distinctly different head cements to meet the fly tyer’s needs:


Wapsi Fly Head CementDeveloped and produced exclusively for Wapsi, our traditional lacquer based head cement has been a favorite among fly tyers for years. Wapsi Fly Head Cement is quick drying and deep penetrating with minimal build up. The advantages of quick drying cement are less chance of imparting a fingerprint on the head of the finished fly, and the ability to apply several thin coats of cement to the head for maximum durability.

Fly tyers who like a nice, tight head on their flies often choose this cement for its minimal build up. This is particularly an asset to fly tyers who tie small trout flies.

The thickness of the cement can be easily adjusted by simply leaving the top off the jar for a short period of time (thickening it through evaporation) or adding a small amount of Wapsi Fly Head Cement Thinner. Like all cements that harden by evaporation eventually the cement will start to thicken in the jar as a result of repeated opening and closing of the bottle. When this happens simply add some thinner to bring it back to the desired consistency. This can be done time and time again and as a result this cement can last a very long time on your fly tying bench.


Wapsi Water Based Fly Head CementThis cement is made with an environmentally friendly water base lacquer that is non-flammable, odorless, quick drying, and is non-yellowing (dries clear). It is excellent as an all-around fly tying cement. The thin viscosity of the cement allows it to penetrate the thread well and creates a very good bond. If you desire to slightly thin the cement even further it can be thinned as much as 10% by adding a tiny amount of water.

Water based cements are at their best when used with synthetic materials such as foam, flash materials, and rubber legs which can actually disintegrate when they come into contact with the some solvents. If you happen to accidentally spill some on your desktop clean up is fast and easy – simply wipe off the spilled cement with a wet sponge or rag before it dries.

Like other lacquers the product dries by evaporation and can be handled just minutes after application. Several coats can be added in succession to produce a glossy coat if desired. Full cure happens overnight and the product will not dissolve in the water once cured.


Wapsi Gloss Coat Head CementGloss Coat is a fast drying, acrylic resin based head cement that produces a durable, high gloss finish with just one application. Having a medium thickness it is excellent for building up heads on flies and as a cosmetic overcoat for painted popper bodies, jig heads, etc.

As the name implies what sets Gloss Coat apart from all other cements is the incredibly shiny finish it produces. Other cements require multiple applications to approach the finish you get with just one application of Gloss Coat.


Wapsi Flex SealFlex-seal is probably the most versatile head cement available to the fly tyer. It is a rubber based compound that is clear, deep penetrating, and quick drying. When dry it produces an extremely tough “rubber like” finish. A good way to describe Flex-Seal is to say it is a sealant, adhesive, and head cement all wrapped up into one product.

Many fly tyers use Flex-Seal to increase the durability of their flies and deer hair bass bugs. When applied to feathers and deer hair the fibers remain flexible (“rubbery”), retain less water, and do not become brittle. It is important when using it for this application to thin the product with Flex-Seal Thinner and apply it sparingly to the fly.

Our favorite use for Flex-Seal is as an “under body” glue for delicate materials such as peacock or ostrich herl. Apply a small amount to the hook shank before overwrapping these materials. Likewise a light coating over the hook shank before applying dubbing creates the toughest fly on the planet!


(1) Not all cements have the same viscosity coming out of the bottle. Do not hesitate to thin the cement to the desired viscosity. An eyedropper is a useful tool for dispensing thinner into your cement. Start by adding just a drop or two at a time until you are satisfied with the thickness of the cement.

(2) Fly Tying Cements usually dry due to evaporation. To prolong the life of your cements limit the amount of time that the bottle is open and add thinner to the cement as needed. Maintaining the viscosity of the cement will prolong its life.

(3) Add the correct thinner to your cement. For best results we suggest using the thinner recommended by the manufacturer of your cement. Failing to use the suggested thinner can lead to prolonged drying time, yellowing of the finish, excessive vapors, or a negative reaction between the cement and thinner.

(4) Use sparingly – most beginning fly tyers use more cement than is needed to do the job. The less cement you use the faster it will dry.

(5) Glass bottles with brush applicators or plastic squeeze bottle applicators with clog free applicator tips are a great convenience on the tying bench.

(6) If you use a bodkin (dubbing needle) to apply cement to the fly over time some residue will dry on the needle. To remove the residue, simply clean the needle by scouring it with steel wool. Our Terra Deluxe Bodkin Cleaner with Stand combines a bodkin, steel wool reservoir and steel wool all wrapped up in one tool.