IMPORTANT: This review, like all of our reviews, is in no way, shape or form paid content. These are our honest thoughts and opinions on the products listed in the article.
Welcome to the first instalment of the UV Resin Shootout. Originally this was planned to all be one post, but after realizing the sheer volume of different resins that are out there, I figured best to split it up a bit.
In this instalment, only thin viscosity resins are used. Each resin is tested on a chironomid pupa imitation, with the entirety of the fly being coated before the resin is cured.
Attributes of these resins that are taken into account are cost, volume, application, tackiness and colour change. All resins are cured with the brand-appropriate UV light, and follow the instructions given by each manufacturer.
What is the purpose of this shootout?
We receive a healthy amount of questions and inquiries regarding resins and glues for curing flies. Though these are simply our opinions on each resin, it will offer some insight for those on the fence about the whole “UV Resin” craze!
Though I believe that items like brushable super glue still have their place, UV resin is a very versatile product that allows you to stretch your creativity in fly tying.
The following instalments on this shootout will include thick resins, coloured resins and travel resins.
Loon manufactures three viscosities in their lineup of resins, with “Flow” being the thinnest. Loon includes both an applicator nozzle and a brush for this resin, with the brush being a favourite option for coating thread bodies.
UV Flow will not “bead” for more than a split second, therefore ensuring that you dry off excess resin before applying with the brush is imperative. Loon UV Flow is a great “ultra-thin” resin that soaks nicely into the thread before curing.
Size & Price: $16.95 USD for a 0.5oz bottle
Light Used: Loon UV Infiniti Light
Ease of Application: This is a very easy resin to apply, due to its very thin consistency it is important to use sparingly and add more if needed.
Odor: There is no more scent than to be expected with a UV resin.
Clarity/Colour Change: There was no noticeable colour change, even on lighter shades of thread bodies.
Tack: This resin dries fairly tack-free, it took a bit longer than other resins to completely “set”.
Final Thoughts: This is a very comparable resin to the Solarez Bone-Dry. The brush could be a bit thinner for sparse application, but overall this is a fantastic resin that works in a multitude of scenarios from thread-heads to gluing over dubbed or tinsel bodies.
I didn’t quite know what to expect as far as a difference between the Thin and Flow resins from Loon, but upon experimenting they were quite noticeable.
The gap in viscosity was enough that each resin would outperform the other in a multitude of scenarios.
Flow is a more ideal resin for our chironomid pupa test flies, whereas thin would be more applicable for “beading” onto the shellback of a Flashback Pheasant Tail.
I would consider the UV Thin closer to a “Medium” viscosity resin, but if applied sparingly it does serve well for coating thread or tinsel bodied patterns. The one thing I noticed was that this resin did not seem to dry quite as hard, quite as quickly as the Flow resin did and left a small bit of tackiness.
Size & Price: $16.95 USD for a 0.5oz bottle
Light Used: Loon UV Infiniti Light
Ease of Application: Easy to apply with both the nozzle and brush, though one has to be cautious when using the brush application as a little goes a long way. It is much easier to add a bit than remove resin from the body of the fly.
Odor: No noticeable odor.
Clarity/Colour Change: No noticeable change in colour, though this resin can look somewhat “frosty” going onto the fly, it dries very clear.
Tack: Loon’s UV Thin dries free of tack, and in less than 20 seconds.
Final Thoughts: This is a very versatile resin that compares in viscosity to the Solarez Medium. It will not appear completely clear on the brush, but it dries clear without much in the way of tack. If we were really splitting hairs I would say it is slightly thicker than most “thin” resins, but not to a point in which it will hinder your tying experience.
Deer Creek Diamond Fine
Being this was the first time I had ever used a Deer Creek product, I went in with a very open mind. I will start by saying that this is a very impressive resin that dries clear and quick.
Tying thread, tinsel or flash bodied pupae imitations was a pleasure with this resin. It is not thin to the point that it will drip onto the table before curing, and it is not so thick that coating small flies becomes any sort of an issue.
Size & Price: $31.21 for a 14ml bottle
Light Used: Pro Torch Sipik 5-Watt
Ease of Application: This resin is much easier applied with a needle point attachment due to its thin/ultra-thin viscosity. I would go from liking this product to loving this product if it were equipped with a brush or slightly easier application nozzle.
Odor: This resin definitely has a pronounced smell, to the point that I had a hard time applying it indoors and would notice a lingering scent in the room up to an hour later. This is one hinderance if you are sensitive to strong smells.
Clarity/Colour Change: This resin dried perfectly clear
Tack: This resin reaches a tack-free, rock solid finish in about 15 seconds under the lamp.
Final Thoughts: This is a great product without a doubt. As mentioned previously, a brush applicator would make this much easier to work with when coating thread/wire/tinsel bodied flies. The consistency of this resin makes it useful for a variety of situations. The odor issue could raise some long-term issues for those bothered by the scent of UV resins.
Let me start by saying, this is a hell of a good resin for chironomid bodies. I typically prefer a brush applicator for this scenario, but the narrowly tapered end of this applicator makes it simple to apply small amounts of resin at a time.
Through the use of a needle, toothpick, or simply the narrow tip of the applicator, a small drop of resin can be applied and worked around the entire body of the fly.
It is not nearly as thin as the Bone-Dry from Solarez (covered further down this page), but not too thick to apply to a size 16 or 18 2xl chironomid body. This is a great resin for coating the shellback on flies like the Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph.
Size & Price: $14.95 USD for the 0.5oz bottle
Light Used: Solarez High Output UV Flashlight
Ease of Application: Excellent. I was weary about the lack of a brush for this resin, but Solarez has nailed the applicator tube on the thin-hard formula.
Odor: Nothing noticeable whatsoever
Clarity/Colour Change: What I liked about this resin is it goes on clear and dries very clear, without darkening the thread or composition of chironomids tied with lighter coloured thread bodies.
Final Thoughts: This is exactly what I look for in a thin resin. It is not so thin that it will drip during application, and a little surely goes a long way. Using a needle or pin to spread the resin upon being applied worked best for coating thread and tinsel-bodied chironomids. Unfortunately, there are no noticeable cons for this resin.
Of all the resins in this shootout, Solarez Bone-Dry has definitely received the most buzz, and for good reason! This is deemed an ‘ultra-thin’ resin, and it undoubtedly lives up to its name. Extremely thin, with a brush that is sized appropriately.
Solarez Bone-Dry almost feels like it was made for coating chironomid pupa and larval imitations. Drying time is quick, the bottle is big enough to make it worth the purchase, and it does not limit tyers to just coating thread or tinsel bodies.
Size & Price: $18.95 for a 0.5oz bottle
Light Used:Solarez High Output UV Flashlight
Ease of Applcation: This is an incredibly easy resin to work with. The brush is thin and stiff enough to work the resin around the body or application point before curing. Despite how thin Bone-Dry is, it does not drip from the body of the fly when applied sparingly.
Odor: You can definitely smell this one a bit, but not to the point where it will give you a headache at your tying bench. Imagine a similar potency to Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails.
Clarity/Colour Change: This is where things get interesting. Solarez is completely clear going on, and will not affect the colour of any tinsel or flash-bodied flies. However, this resin will darken some thread colours slightly (most noticeable with medium grey and olive thread bodies).
Not the end of the world by any means, but something to keep in mind. Sometimes this is exactly what a thread colour needs. After applying multiple coats, you can start to get somewhat of a “frosty” look to the fly if you do not fully cure the first application.
How about tack?
This is the bomb as far as a tack-free resin goes. It truly lives up to its name, and dries very similar to the UV-Thin resin.
Final Thoughts: This is a great thin resin. Its viscosity is unique, even seemingly thinner than the Loon UV Flow. It’s packaged well, Solarez gives you a great quantity to work with per bottle, the only hinderance being a slight colour change when working with thread or quill-bodied flies.
***NOTE*** While we did not obtain it for this portion of the shootout, Solarez Bone-Dry is now available in Black.
There is a breakdown of each of these resin entered in the ‘thin’ category of this shootout. Of course, one had to be chosen for the top spot! That one is…
This resin simply had it all for me. Not too thick or thin, does not discolour materials whatsoever, and is incredibly versatile. This was not necessarily an easy choice, had the Bone-Dry resin not had the discolouration factor, or the Deer Creek Diamond Fine not had such a potent odor or a bit easier application they both would have had great potential for the top spot.
One thing to remember!
We are absolutely splitting hairs here people. I would consider myself an honest person, and would have told the truth had I thought one of these resins was a poor product.
Next up is the ‘Thick/Flex Resins” instalment of the shootout, should you have any questions on these products please don’t hesitate to drop us an email!