Cobblers wax is often described as the wax to use in old fly tying books. The wax is a sticky wax, that works to preserve the silk but also to help in touch dubbing.
The wax can be rather hard to find for sale any where, maybe except if you go to people making the instrument of torture, the bagpipe 😉
A good alternative to purchase the wax is to make it yourself. A little research has found me some recipes here and there, all stating to use rosin and bee’s wax in different proportions.Although the rosin is a good product, the more I’ve researched, the more it became clear to me, that the real deal is not the rosin by it self, but a derived part of rosin called colifonium. this derived stuff is made when turpentine is extracted from the rosin.
I’ve used colifonium and bee’s wax to make my own wax, that has the properties I like.
Mix 2 parts of colifonium with 1 part of bee’s wax
Melt it together without boiling or burning it
Poor it into containers
Let it solidify and take it out of the containers.
The melting pots still contains enough wax for use at tying at least a good portion of flies.
It is possible to make different versions of cobblers wax by either using light or dark colifonium, adding lamp soot to blacken the wax.
The tackyness and softness can be altered by adding more colifonium for tackyness and olive oil or castor oil (very few drops) to make it softer.
Colifonium is a irritant (and in some cases an allergen), and is marked with a hazard mark [Xi]
It is recommended to use gloves and work in well ventilated areas, e.g. out doors.
And as always work with great care.