Antler Handle Bodkins

Many years ago a good friend gifted me a deer antler bodkin that he had made.  Although I had a number of bodkins at the time I did not have one that I particularly like more than another.  I actually had (and still have) about five different bodkins of varying length, sharpness and stiffness that I use for a number of different tasks at the vise.  That’s the thing about the bodkin, it helps in so many different ways.  I used to tell my tying students that it is the one tool in fly tying that does not have a specific job but has about 100 uses.  Anyway, there was nothing particularly unique about the deer antler or the needle in the bodkin.  There was something about the two of them together.  Not only was I touched that my friend had made this for me but there was something about the uniqueness of the bodkin overall that quickly set it apart from the others I have on my tying desk.

It quickly became the bodkin of my choice.  Anything from apply cement, lacquer, piercing foam, picking dubbing and sticking on eyes it accomplished very well.  Mostly because the handle is about three inches long and it sits very well in my hand.  I can very quickly and comfortably twist, turn or move the needle as I need.  I mention this because you might be surprised by how many different version of the simple fly tying bodkin there are being commercially made these days.  That is because everyone seems to have  a different opinion as to what make this tool useful as well as what they personally like to work with.  Recently, I realized just how much I reach for this particular tool everyday and thought maybe others would like an antler handled bodkin also.  So I rounded up a number of antlers I had lying around and found some needles I thought would work well (not too flexible but not to thick and stiff) and made a few antler handled bodkins.

These are made from deer antler.  Some are from older antlers that have already darkened with age and many are from more recent antlers that are still fairly white, or light gray in color.  I produced a total of 24 different bodkins in this batch and attempted to vary the type, texture and length of the antler to see what people might prefer.  The needle is about two inches in length and the handles vary from about two to four and a half inches.  Some of the handles are wider in diameter and a few are a little thinner.  All in all, there is a wide selection to choose from.  Each bodkin is individually numbered so when you find one you like that is the one you will get; no two are alike.  As time goes by I will make more and am currently looking into making some out of elk and possibly moose antler (just for fun).

Not only are these an interesting conversation piece when others are with you tying flies but they elevate your fly tying just a little bit.  A little nicer than an aluminum handle needle.  If you have any questions about any of the bodkins let me know in the comments below or send me a note and I will be glad to help.  You can head to the Merch area of the website under the ‘Shop’ section of the menu above.

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Remember….. It’s Fly tying….. If you’re not having fun, You’re Doin’ It Wrong.

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