Week 2 - Save Your Cement
As fly tiers we have all experienced it at one time or another. A time when you are not tying flies as often as you would like or have the opportunity. Months go by and you have been busy with other aspects of life. Then the day comes and you have to scratch that itch. You get your materials out and tie up a fly and your having a great time. Until you go to open your bottle of head cement and the remaining contents are not liquid anymore but are as solid as a rock. Chuck it, bottle no good. To bad too, because it had hardly been used.
Obviously, the reason the head cement dried up is because the lid is not sealed up all the way, even when you screw it on as tight as you can. The problem has to do with the paper gasket in the lid. When the lid is first screwed on the gasket compresses onto the imperfections of the bottle and creates and air-tight seal (think of canning jars). When you unscrew the lid for the first time it breaks this seal and it will never go back on exactly as it was before. Therefore, you have lost your air-tight seal. Lucky for us there is an easy way to remedy this problem.
You can easily regain that air-tight seal by applying a small amount of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to the lid threads on the side of the bottle. Using a Q-Tip you can smear a thin layer of jelly on the outside of the bottle along all of the threads that keep the lid on. Now when you reattach the lid the jelly will create and air-tight seal.
A word of caution though… make certain you do not get any petroleum jelly around the top rim of the bottle. Otherwise, when you place your bodkin in the glue and rub it on the inside of the rim of the bottle to remove the excess you will be picking up petroleum jelly and applying it to your fly. Also, take some care in placing the lid back on as you can get some of the jelly from the inside of the lid onto the rim of the bottle if you are not careful.
All in all, this trick helps keep your head cement from drying out before you can actually use up the majority of it.