Tying Tips: To strip the hackle fibers off the feather soak feathers in water for a few hours before stripping. This softens everything and allows the hackle fibers to easily come off without removing the color from the stem. Soaking them also allows them to be wrapped with out breaking or cracking.
To make your bodies stronger, take white thread and take a few wraps over the body. Then take spar varnish or head cement and put that over the body. The thread will vanish and they will take a lot more punishment.
Rhode Island Red Saddles stems tend to be too skinny for quill bodies, and can usually only be used as quills for small flies.