When tying, I use my bodkin to pick out dubbing fibers, trapped hackle fibers, poke holes in things, and add head cement to whip finishes. As a result, it gets gunky and needs to be cleaned.
The gunk is easily removed with a razor blade, but it takes time. A more efficient method requires the use of steel wool. Many people used steel wool in plastic film canisters when you could get them. However, inserting the bodkin needle repeatedly not only cleaned the needle but sharpened it. As a result, the needle would occasionally pierce the bottom of the plastic and impale your hand. I had this happen several times. So finally, I found an alternative container at Wal-Mart.
Ball makes a small jar with a metal top. Four of them cost just over 5 dollars. Place a roll of steel wool in the jar and drill a hole in the top.
Keep your dubbing needle in it all the time. Then, the needle is always clean and ready to use the next time you tie. Using the jar also has another advantage. It stays upright when inserting and removing the bodkin. Also, because of the weight, it doesn’t fall over as easily.
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