Lacquer-based Head Cements

The well known Western States fly tyer A.K. Best, in his book, “Production Fly Tying”, advocates the use of common hardware store lacquer for its economy and fast drying qualities.

Many of the lacquer head cements available commercially appear to be a very small bottle of nitrocellulose lacquer that you can get at the hardware store for a whole lot less money…(like A.K. Best says). If the head cement is a pale yellow color or clear, and smells like lacquer thinner, it is probably is lacquer.

Griff’s Head cement – Griffin makes two versions, thick and thin. This is a very common product found in the US. A lot of my friends used this stuff because it was so readily available in our area. But it’s not thin like Griff’s.

TroutHunter Harrop Superior Head Cement is the next on my favorite list in use, but the cloudy color is less than desirable to look at in the bottle anyway, though the application of it seems fine.
I’ve also been trying Homemade Thin Nail Polish Head Cement Recipe which is the 2/3 Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails, Clear Topcoat, with 1/3 straight acetone.

Veniard’s No. 1 is the closest I have found to Griff’s Thin, and my favorite so far.  Rim has opted to just use lacquer from the hardware store with lacquer thinner.  He says it works fine, as long as you dilute it and don’t mind the smell.

For a full discussion on the issue of head cement recipes and studies visit: I went through his full progression and find Veniard’s to be the best.  He likes Pro Lak, which is also no longer available, at least outside of Canada.