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For those of you that follow my tying you will know that I am a devotee of the true rotary vise. There are many vises that have the label ‘True Rotary’ in all different price ranges, from a little under $ 100 to several thousand…
I am now approaching nearly 40 years behind the vise, and I don’t know how many vises I have tied on and owned from the most simple to the the most advanced, this doesn’t make your choice, when buying a vise any easier. When choosing a vise, this is the single most expensive item you buy to tie flies, so your choice should be made carefully. You should consider how many and what size hooks you will be using and what type of flies you will be tying.
Beyond the prime function of holding the hook securely, modern vises incorporate a number of additional functions of varying usefulness all these should be contemplated before you make your purchase. Hook size compatibility, true centered rotation, adjustable height, jaw angle, c clamp or pedestal to name just a few of the most important.
As a rule of thumb, you get what you pay for… A biggest mistake when purchasing your first ‘quality’ vise is not making the financial commitment earlier. I don’t know how many vises that I bought and changed up to a new model, but the accumulated amount could have bought me an excellent quality vice and then some! The greatest advantage with a quality vise is that your overall tying experience will not only be more enjoyable, but it will also quickly up your fly tying game.
The best way to buy a vise that suits not only your budget but also tying style and requirements is to try the vise if possible, if a tying friend owns one, or get advice from a good fly tyer that you may know. Visit a retail store with a good selection of designs and price range. Ask the staff to point out the advantages and disadvantages of the different makes and try them out for yourself. Unlike natural materials, vises are what they are and are now generally cheaper to order online, especially if you don’t have a local fly fishing store. Heres one that is well worth looking at:
Stonfo Transformer fly tying vise
The Stonfo Transformer vise is a high quality product that thanks to a fast, ’snap’ coupling device on the shaft, it can be transformed from an in-line true rotary vice to a tube-fly or streamer vice. Three vises in one with just a click.
The stainless steel shaft is in-line full rotary with dual precision ball bearings. All parts needed for the three heads are included with the Transformer. The heavy pedestal base has a useful integrated tool rack and two recessed pockets for holding hooks and beads etc.
The three jaws are fully interchangeable and the tube fly tool comes with 5 mandrels, 3 tapered and 2 straight. You can adjust the rotary 360 motion tension with a break screw located on the vise barrel. You can lock the jaw position at any angle. The vise has adjustable height and is reversible for left or right hand tying.
Other accessories included with the Transformer are, an adjustable bobbin cradle and gallows tool with parachute hackle plier, adjustable spring material clip that can be removed from the jaw shaft if required, pivot thread cradle, alen keys for fine adjustments and instruction manual. All in all, a whole lot of vice for your money.