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Old 02-26-2013, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: Does it matter?

I started fly tying in the late 60's on a 10 dollar Thompson style vise. I used it for close to 10 years before upgrading to a 30 dollar vise of the same style but I could turn my fly upside down without removing it from the jaws of the vise. This vise lasted many years and I would still be using it however it did have the fault that my hook would sometimes slip. I did make flies from size 28 to size 6/0 and every once in a while, no matter the size of the hook, they would slip.

I recently bought a Crown vise for 40 dollars....the type with the lever that is parallel to the jaws and it's simply "wow". I can also flip the fly upside down when needed.

A true rotary vise.....I cannot imagine why anyone would need that option.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Does it matter?

Just don't go for the cheapest model you can find. They don't hold the hook well and that will drive you nutz.

I still tie on the Thompson that I upgraded to in 1985. I think that it was $28 at the time.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Does it matter?

I'm probably the absolutely wrong person to answer this question, but I love tying vises and I tie a lot. Last year I tied over 100 dozen flies during the winter.

I will wager that whatever vise you buy, if you stick with fly tying, you will eventually upgrade. Virtually everyone does.

I started with a Thompson model A, then bought a Regal, then an HMH Standard, then a Renzetti Traveller, and finally the Renzetti Master that I am using now. I almost pulled the trigger on a LAW vise for $700; one recently sold for over $2000 on Ebay.

Lawrence Waldron Original Vice | eBay

When I compare what I spent on vises over the years to what I spent on fly rods, I easily spent 20X as much on fly rods. I have two vises, a Renzetti Traveller and a Master. I have over 20 fly rods and don't even ask me about my reels.

To put it all into perspective, you will spend a lot of time at your vise so buy the best one that you can afford. Wisconsin winters are long and I spend way more time at my vise that I do on a river.

My recommendation to you is to buy a rotary vise, not because you will tie rotary style, but because you can turn the fly over and this makes tying beard hackle and other items on the bottom of the hook much, much easier.

Sometime you will need to tie materials like tails on the top of the hook and they tend to roll over to the far side. If you can rotate the hook away a bit and the tie the material in, it will be on the top once you rotate the hook back. As you get better at tying, you will not need to rotate the hook to get the material to stay on the top.

You can also look at the other side of the fly to make sure it is symmetrical.

I am currently #16 Copper Johns and it takes a lot of wraps using thin copper wire, so I use the rotary function of my vise.

Buying a true rotary vise now will save you from buying one in the future.

There are a lot of vises that you can buy and that will work for you. But in my opinion that is not the point. The job of a vise is to hold the hook firmly. I should alls give you room around the hook to tie, keep long materials out of the way, and to make tying easier by allowing the hook to rotate. If the vise you buy does not "help" you tie, but just holds the hook, it is not doing all it should.

Before you decide I there are several tests that I would do.

The most important is how the vise holds the hook. So I would try a bass bug hook and see if the vise holds the hook when you wrap thread and really pull hard on that hook as if you were spinning deer hair. How hard do you have to crank down on that vise to hold that hook solidly?

Then try a small hook like a size 22. Can you put it in the vise and still have access to that hook so you can tie the fly? Or do the jaws cover so much of the hook that you can gain access to the hook.

If a vise won't hold a full range of hooks and do it quickly and easily, forget it.

The next test is for me is whether I can gain access to the bottom side of the hook without taking the hook out of the vise. Can you easily tie on beard hackle to the bottom of the hook? It will save you a lot of time if the vise collet will rotate without releasing the hook. It does not need to be a true rotary, but a rotating collet will allow you to view the fly from all sides and gain access to the bottom of the hook.

Next I would evaluate the space behind the hook. A regular vise such as the old Thompson style of vise has unlimited access behind the back of the hook. A true rotary like a Renzetti has the parallel shaft of the vise just behind the "V" section of the vise shaft. For some tiers, that bothers them when tying on a rotary because materials coming off the back of the hook like long crystal flash can get tangled when draping over this area. It also can block the position of your back hand. You need to check it out.
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