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Advice on vises


Jonn Graham
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It is time I look into a new vise. The vise I have now came in a kit. Don't get me wrong it still works great but is not a rotatry vise. So I have to rotate my jigs by hand. No big deal, but if I had a better rotary vise I could probably tie jigs quicker. Right now I stand at about 3 minutes per jig. Would like to lower that at least a little. I have looked around the net and have seen too many to count.

 

I figured you folks could help me. I have to have a rotary vise with a pedestal stand and it must be able to accept hooks up to 5/0. I would definitely like to spend under $200 and would prefer to spend less than $150 if I could.

 

Any particular vises anyone would reccommend would be appreciated.

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I have a Danica DanVise that I got from Cabelas. It seems to do everything I need it to do from size 20 - 2/0, I am not into the 5/0 size but I am pretty sure that it can do it. It is light weight and portable if you need that. I am a new tier, less than 2 years, but for the money, ~$70, you can't beat it.

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Guest rich mc

renzetti traveler is a solid vise used by many. one thing you should also look at is a cam lever to tighten the hook in the jaws over the hand screw knob. check with john l as he may have a discount coupon . rich

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Check out these vice selection tips to whet your appetite, John . . . and then log into www.flyfishohio.com and check out many, many models posted under several pricing catagories.

 

 

The Fly Fish Ohio team is proud to bring you our very first "Shoot-Out" style review. For this project we've selected fly tying vises under $150. Have you ever wondered what you can REALLY get for your money? We tied a big bunch of flies of all sizes on each of these vises just to answer that question. Don't spend a nickel on a new fly tying vise until you've had a chance to read this review first! We guarantee you'll be surprised by the results!!!

 

Welcome to the first Fly Fish Ohio Fly Tying Vise Review! This is an auspicious beginning; it’s the first major equipment shootout on Fly Fish Ohio! How many of you have thought to yourself, “I’d like to get into fly tying but I really don't know anything about it?" or "I have a really nice vise but I'd like to get something that's lighter, smaller, or easier to manage while traveling?” The Fly Fish Ohio crew has the answers!

 

Joe Cornwall, Mark Blauvelt and I all tie our own flies. Between us we have over fifty years of tying experience and have collectively tied thousands of flies using a variety of different techniques and a wide selection of gear. You might say we have “opinions.” With this being our first major review, we'd like to share the ground rules for this and other reviews to follow. Our first major criterion was price. This review covers products with a maximum MSRP of $150 and we’ve further segmented that market to examine vises under $50, from $50 to $100, and from $100 to $150. As the Senior Editor my job consisted of some serious web surfing sessions. I came up with a list that includes product from virtually every major manufacturer, which indicates that these companies have a vested interest in reaching the beginner and budget-conscious tier. Hundreds of emails and dozens of phone calls later and we have a group of products ranging in price from under 20 dollars right up to the 150 dollar limit. In the future all shootout reviews will have a price segment associated with the equipment.

 

The next criterion is a unified definition of quality performance. This may seem somewhat self-evident at first, but the fact of the matter is that most reviews don’t provide concise, categorical performance definitions. As a reference vise we've included the long discontinued Thompson Model B. This $6.50 vise (about $36 in current value) defines the minimal performance a contemporary product should exhibit. If a new manufacturer can't beat this old warhorse then there really isn't much to talk about.

 

This review uses ten specific areas that we found best described the actual in-use performance of the product. Each of the ten areas is rated on a scale of 1-to-5 with 5 being the best level of performance. Here are the ten questions used to evaluate the performance of this selection of fly tying vises:

 

1. First Impressions. Did the vise come in an attractive package? Was it well packed and would the packaging serve as storage for the vise?

 

2. Directions, literature, parts lists and documentation? Does this vise come with a set of directions that explain care and maintenance of the product? Are there illustrations of the parts in case you need to order an accessory or replace a missing part? Are there well written directions explaining calibration and set-up of the vise?

 

3. Vise fit and finish. Is this a well finished product? Did it communicate quality right out of the box?

 

4. C-Clamp quality: Is the clamp well designed? Did the clamp provide a solid, immobile mounting system for the vise? Did it remain tight through a long session of tying? Did it mark, or have the potential to damage the surface of the table to which it’s clamped?

 

5. Vise stem finish, adjustability and length. Is the vise flexible in placement for a number of tiers and table heights?

 

6. Smoothness of operation of vise jaws. Were they easy to open and close? Are the jaws easy to calibrate for various hooks? Do the jaws remain in the calibrated position or is it necessary to readjust the jaws after a few flies?

 

7. Rotation and adjustability. Is the vise capable of rotating? If so, was the rotating mechanism smooth and robust? We used N/A if the vise didn’t feature rotability, but we tried not to hold that fact against the product. Of course lack of this feature is a 10% penalty in itself, even though the N/A rating still provides 1 point. We've all tied on fixed vises, but the ability to see the far side of the fly is so critical that we thought it imperative to incorporate this as a standard. That said, we all agree we'd rather see no rotability than a poorly implemented system that detracts from the product's utility. No differentiation was given to simple rotability versus "true" rotary tying functionality.

 

8. Jaw grip, hold and clearance. Does the vise hold the hook stable under both vertical and horizontal pressures? Is there access to tie on any type of hook in the normal size range? Can it reliably hold different sizes of hooks? All vises must hold a minimum of size 20 to 2/0 to rate a 4 or better unless they are purposed designed and labeled as being designed for a specific hook size (tube, midge or saltwater, for instance).

 

9. Accessories. Is the vise capable of being customized with a bobbin cradle, material clip, background card, parachute tool, waste receptacle, etc.? A good vise should have a material clip included as part of its design.

 

10. Reviewer’s Choice. There is no category for this. This is a gauge of “goose-bump” factor. Did you like this vise? Could you forget about the tool and do the job?

 

Each of these performance parameters was graded using the rating system detailed in the sidebar. A scale of 1 to 5 was used, with 5 being the very best performance. Each tier rated each vise and the the answer values were averaged for each question. The averaged values were then summed and a total point score was assigned to the product. Joe and Mark were only aware of retail price points after they had completed tying to keep price "prejudice" from affecting the outcome. Further,. we didn't discuss any of the products until we had completed the reviews so there was very little chance of any of us affecting the answers of another.

 

 

 

 

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I have the Peak Vise and it has worked very well for me. The only down side to the Peak Vise is that once you start tying with bigger, larger diameter hooks, like 1/0 or 2/0, hooks can slip a bit unless you make sure that that you have the jaws clamped down well. If I did a lot of deer hair spinning, I would need to get the available "big hook" jaws.

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there are too many vises to choose from. I guess I just want a standard, pedestal mount vise with the ability to rotate. I really don't need any other features such as a bobbin holder, etc. etc. I am asking someone to steer me in the right direction...............Please. And don't give me a bunch of choices........I can't handle choices. Just tell me what to buy. thanks.

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It is time I look into a new vise. The vise I have now came in a kit. Don't get me wrong it still works great but is not a rotatry vise. So I have to rotate my jigs by hand. No big deal, but if I had a better rotary vise I could probably tie jigs quicker. Right now I stand at about 3 minutes per jig. Would like to lower that at least a little. I have looked around the net and have seen too many to count.

 

I figured you folks could help me. I have to have a rotary vise with a pedestal stand and it must be able to accept hooks up to 5/0. I would definitely like to spend under $200 and would prefer to spend less than $150 if I could.

 

Any particular vises anyone would reccommend would be appreciated.

 

 

Jonn- Griffin makes nice USA made vices at a reasonable price. I have the Superior 3ARP. It works really well especially with big hooks. I think you might like it.

 

http://www.griffinenterprisesinc.com/vises.html

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Thanks Mark:

 

I am seriously looking at that vise..............should be a good fit.

 

 

The only thing it doesn't do well is hold tiny flies, which I guess should not concern you. Otherwise it has a Kung Fu grip. It works great for tying deer hair bugs.

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Okay, here comes my two bits.

Take the hooks and the materials that you're going to tie your jigs with to a place that will let you sit and tie. Then try the same jig on several vises. I used to tie saltwater flies as well as a lot of bass bugs and very few flies size ten and under. So I took a bunch of hooks and a box of material and sat at Fly and Field and tied up flies of all sizes on all different kinds and prices of vises. I've also tied on vises under $150 and I agree with Ohio bunch that there are some good vises in that price range. I found that I liked the Regal vises and the Dyna kings. I travel from time to time so I wanted a vise that would travel well. But mostly I was concerned about hooking power and manufacturing qualities and how did my hands feel when working with the fly. Ergonomics count! So I bought a Dynaking voyager because it suit my purposes, had a rotary action, good jaws, lifetime warranty, decent price and when working on flies my hands felt comfortable.

 

Vises can be very personal. There are guys out there with $600 vises who tie a few flies a year and then there are production tiers who swear by their old HMH or Griffin vises. It's like fly rods, try a bunch in your budget range and buy the one you like. But I do have a caveat, if I'm going to use a tool for production work, I'm going to get the best I can afford at the time. Take some time, tie with a few different ones and then decide which one best suits your needs.

 

 

 

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I will second Stuart's advice. A few years ago, I went into a fly shop to take a class on tying. I had a cheap borrowed vise with me. I used one of their vises which I thought I might even buy. I found I did not like it. I tried another vise. I bought that second one before I left the store. And it is still the vise I use most often.

 

FYI, the vise I bought was a Renzetti Traveler. Yes, it is a rotary and I have the pedestal model. I highly recommend that vise. But "your milage may vary". I strongly advocate "try before you buy". If you can't try it at a dealer, visit a tying session and check out the other vises around the table.

 

Ken S.

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