Clear Cure Goo is long gone, but some people are still asking about it and wonder what’s the best alternative. Here’s my choice as a fly designer and commercial fly tyer.
The numerous types of UV-cured acrylics on the market today provide a faster, easier, and cleaner alternative to epoxy. There are countless varieties available with varying thicknesses, finishes, flexibility, and colors.
The one I find myself reaching for for the vast majority of my daily tying needs is the Solarez thin, hard formula. This product has quickly become the replacement for not only two part epoxy, but standard head cement as well.
In addition to the thin, hard formula, Solarez is availiable in thick and flex, so you might want to pick up a 3-pack to try them out for various fly patterns.
Don’t forget the Solarez UV light!
The biggest mistake you can make when using UV curing resins is to try to cure the product with the wrong light. Although there are dozens of after market UV light available, you need to have the right wavelength to cure that product thoroughly. Not all UV resins cure at the same wavelength, and not all lights have the same wavelength. Choosing the wrong light could leave you with a gummy or tacky finished product. The only way to really know if you are maximizing the products capabilities is to go with the light that the manufacture has produced specifically for their products.
Solarez: Better than Clear Cure Goo?
Thanks to their clarity, durability, quick curing times, and odorless attributes, UV-curing acrylics have been used in dentistry for more than three decades. At first, questions concerning safety kept UV-curing acrylics out of the fly-tying world, until the early 1980s when the products were modified to cure using blue or visible spectrum lights. Tuffleye was the first safe, light-curing acrylic marketed to fly tiers, and it claimed to be the fix all for all of epoxy’s shortcomings.
Although Tuffleye was head and shoulders above two-part epoxy for curing time, it had a different set of problems. Most noticeable was its tendency to crack or shatter, its tacky finish and yellow hue, and its exorbitant price.
Clear Cure Goo was the next big name to emerge, and the company offered a number of much cheaper alternatives that remedied the yellowing and durability issues. Plus Clear Cure Goo uses chemicals made in the United States. This was key to ensuring that no fillers are added to the material that could yellow, brown, or shatter. However, you still had to finish your flies with an alcohol wipe, hand sanitizer, or a topcoat of Sally Hanson in order to remove the tacky finish.
Although Tuffleye and Clear Cure Goo were among the first, several companies currently offer far superior alternative light-curing products, all boasting different and unique attributes for fly tying. With all these new products available, I have gone back through many of my old patterns and have begun experimenting with different brands to see which ones work the best for a given job.
Unlike other similar products on the market it has almost no order and it cures completely tack free in seconds when you used the Solarez curing lights. The viscosity is just thick enough to coat throughly with out dripping and the cured hi-gloss finish doest peel, crack or yellow.
Another exciting innovation is Solarez’s line of colored UV products, which provide an entirely new medium for fly tiers to create with.
If you’d like to find out even more about the various UV products available, I cover this topic in depth in my book, Feather Brain.