Any brand of tools?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by NShorBrookie, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. NShorBrookie

    NShorBrookie Mud Duck

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    I'm going to make an attempt at fly tying this winter (which lasts about 5 months in MN so I'll have some time to mess around). Is there a brand of tools that you prefer? I'm sure they all work but some appear to be made more cheaply than others. I'm liking the looks of the Peak vise and it sounds like the members of this board think highly of it. The only thing I'm pondering now is whether to get a C-clamp or a pedestal model. This forum is really a great resource for those like myself who are interested in getting started. Thanks for all the info.

    JJ
     
  2. lx-88

    lx-88 Member

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    I started tying this summer and need to start tying again. Thanks for the reminder.

    From my limited experience it is very nice to have a pedestal base because you can reposition it where you want it instead of requiring a table corner to tie on. Here is an example: http://flickr.com/photos/lx-88/49205796/ I was tying flies on a grayline bus on my way down to Ashland, OR with my school's drama group. I am a theatre technician, and so as part of that i had to go on the trip. It was fun. BTW, tying on a bus is hard to do...

    Have fun tying!
     
  3. halcyon

    halcyon Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!

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    I am of the "craftsman is only as good as his tools" school. I therefore recommend the best tools you can afford for two reasons; first you will not have to fight poor tools as well as learn how to tie flies, and second you will never have to replace good tools or if you decide to not tie - good tools have resale value. With these points in mind, here is my list of essential kit for the beginning fly tyer.

    1 Any Regal or DynaKing vise
    2 Matarelli bobbin - standard model
    3 Matarelli whip finisher - standard size
    4 J. Dorin Tear Drop Hackle Pliers - small size
    5 Fishing Line or BH brand Tungsten Carbide insert 4" fine point scissors
    6 Bodkin - any version

    Every other tool you will acquire (and you will amass a small treasure chest full) is a tool that makes some job or technique easier but is not necessary to tying superb flies.

    Regards,
     
  4. Randy Diefert

    Randy Diefert aka: Longears

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    I love my Renzetti vise, my norlander bobins, my dr. slick scissors ( all 3 pair),
    Like it's been already said; Buy the best that you can afford once you know that tying is something that you're really interested in. Like anything else you have to look at tools as an investment (in sometimes your lack of frustration from using junk).
    You can buy Norm Norlanders bobbin kit and get one bobbin with 3 spare spools. Now, you have 4 bobbins.
    I like my Doctor slick scissors because they have an adjustable tension screw and are razor sharp. Sure I have many pairs at my bench but, these are my favorites.
    My vise, used. got it on EBAy.It's the 12th vise that I've bought. I really like it and got a heck of a deal on it. Retails for $800.00 with all the gizmo's ; I picked it up for $300 with shipping. I guess patience has it virtues.Sure , I still have many of the others (some where sold or given to new tyers) but, this is my favorite now that I'm use to the Ausable speed crank.
    I've got too much stuff sitting around though.
    I can't tell you how many pairs of scissors, hair stackers, regular bobbins,spools of thread ,tinsels,feathers,and furs and all of the other pariphinalia I've acquired since I started this hobby.
    But, It's something that I love to do and if you can find enjoyment in it more power to you.:thumb:
     
  5. Randy Diefert

    Randy Diefert aka: Longears

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    I love my Renzetti vise, my norlander bobins, my dr. slick scissors ( all 3 pair),
    Like it's been already said; Buy the best that you can afford once you know that tying is something that you're really interested in. Like anything else you have to look at tools as an investment (in sometimes your lack of frustration from using junk).
    You can buy Norm Norlanders bobbin kit and get one bobbin with 3 spare spools. Now, you have 4 bobbins.
    I like my Doctor slick scissors because they have an adjustable tension screw and are razor sharp. Sure I have many pairs at my bench but, these are my favorites.
    My vise, used. got it on EBAy.It's the 12th vise that I've bought. I really like it and got a heck of a deal on it. Retails for $800.00 with all the gizmo's ; I picked it up for $300 with shipping. I guess patience has it virtues.Sure , I still have many of the others (some where sold or given to new tyers) but, this is my favorite now that I'm use to the Ausable speed crank.
    I've got too much stuff sitting around though.
    I can't tell you how many pairs of scissors, hair stackers, regular bobbins,spools of thread ,tinsels,feathers,and furs and all of the other pariphinalia I've acquired since I started this hobby.
    But, It's something that I love to do and if you can find enjoyment in it more power to you.:thumb:
     
  6. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Well I have a Peak Vise with the pedestal base which I like. And you can accumlate just about all the tools you need and some you can make. I use the tip of a ball point pen for half hitch tools,A needle in cork will work for a bodkin,clear finger nail polish for head cement. The list can go on,all you need is your imagination. But you do need a good pair of scissors and Dr.Slick is a good brand. I believe that a pair of sharp pointed ones work the best. You need them for close in work. You don't want thread sticking out,do you.

    Jim
     
  7. NShorBrookie

    NShorBrookie Mud Duck

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    Thanks for all your comments...I'm going to make a list and head to the fly shop soon. Yeah I am leaning towards a pedestal base due to its versatility. Later on I might pick up a cheap c-clamp vise that is more packable. Thanks for the tips on tools as well. I've only been fly fishing for a year and half or so (although it seems like I haven't even put the rod down from day one)...I'm convinced that if I had the patience to learn how to learn all these casts I'll have the patience to learn how to tie some basic flies. I'm pumped to get started.

    Thanks again.

    JJ
     
  8. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

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    I'm going to take another tack on this question. I would take a class :thumb: or buy a good book first and get some basic skills. Skip Morris's "Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple" is a great one to start! There are many others, and if you do a search you will find a ton of recommendations.

    As far as the tools, there are some really good vises out there between $80 - $100 bucks. Yes Regal's and Renzetti's are very good, I have a Regal pedestal, but I don't know that I would buy a higher end vice until I knew that I liked to tie. I started off 5 years ago with a Thompson AA clamp vice and tied on that until last year.

    For tools, a good pair of scissors, another pair to cut wire or other abrasive materials, a bobbin, maybe a whip finisher and some head cement are all you need to start with.

    Anyway, welcome to the world of fly tying! Before you know it you'll never be able to leave the local fly shop without spending $20 or $30 on new materials.

    Enjoy!
    Bill :clown:
     
  9. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Aside from vices (which I think are more of a personal choice thing than anything else) the only brand-name tying tools I favor are Dr. Slick scissors. IMHO, they're simply the best available.

    K
     
  10. NShorBrookie

    NShorBrookie Mud Duck

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    I will most likely end up taking a class at Cabela's. I'm not a huge supporter of my local fly shop because owner is kind of a know-it-all/hotshot kind of guy. I'm anticipating some frustration at first but have a good feeling that it will be something I'll enjoy quite a bit. My girlfriend is really interested in tying too and will most likely be better than me at it. I'm already planning a few romantic candle-lit tying sessions....:thumb: Sorry, no pics will be posted of that evening.

    Thanks again for all of your help. By the way I'm extremely jealous of all the amazing pics you all pist of Washington scenery and wild fish. It really puts MN fishing to shame. One day I'll make it out there.
     
  11. FT

    FT Active Member

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    I agree with the others herein in their recommendation to buy the best vise you can afford. However, I disagree with a lot of folks in this because although I think Dyna King makes the best vises (especially the one I own the Baracuda) and that Renzetti, Regal, and Norvise also rank right up there, a new tyer doesn't need all features and durability built into these professional level vises. All a beginning tyer really needs is a vise that is well made, has good jaws that hold hooks well, and is easy to adjust for different hook sizes. Fortunately, there are several on the market meeting this criteria for between $40.00 and $100.00.

    The Peak you mentioned is one, although I don't really see the need for the rotary feature for someone new to tying. Griffin has quite a few, including their $40.00 Griffin Model 1A, the $50.00 Griffin Model 2A, the $60.00 Griffin Model 2AR, the $70.00 Griffin Model 3AR. Thompson has the Model A for about $55.00 and the Thompson Pro for about $5.00 less.

    Granted not all of them have pedestal bases; but I do most of my tying on my Dyna King Baracuda with a C-Clamp base because it doesn't wander around the table and it allows me to adjust the height of the vise to suit me. Don't get me wrong, I also have the pedestal base for my vise so I can tie with it when away from home without having to worry about whether there will be a place to attach the C-Clamp. However, most tyers don't need a pedestal base and due just fine with the C-Clamp vises.

    Whatever you do, do not buy one of the cheap Indian, Chinese, or Sri Lankan imports. They are a waste of money because the jaws don't hold hooks well, they don't hold up more than a few years at most, and are just very poorly made. False economy is really what they are. I mention this because you said you were going to take a class at Cabella's and they carry a lot of these cheap imported vises.

    Good scissors are a must Dr. Slick, Anvil, Marryat, Tiempco, Fishing Line, BH all make superb scissors. However, the scissors offered by Griffin and Gudebrod are very passable quality and sell for $10.00 or less.

    Bobbins, my favorites are the S&M (I use 22 of them), which is the same bobbin AK Best prefers and they are also the cheapest good ones on the market for about $7.50. The Renzetti, Materelli, Tiempco, Griffin Ceramic (I use 14 of these) bobbins are all great ones too.

    The Materelli whip finisher is the best in the world, period. They sell for about $15.00.

    So to recap:

    vise: Dyna King, Regal, Renzetti, Norvise if you want the top end, Griffin, Thompson, and Peak on the bottom end

    scissors: Dr, Slick, Anvil, Tiempco, Marryat, Fishing Line, BH, or the cheaper Griffin or Gudebrod.

    bobbin: S&M, tiempco, Renzetti, Materelli, and Griffin.

    whip finisher: Materelli

    bodkin: any brand at all including the cheapest ones on the market because it really makes no difference.
     
  12. NShorBrookie

    NShorBrookie Mud Duck

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    Thanks FT. Just curious...what makes one whip finisher better than the next? Also, are you recommending that beginning tiers stay away from rotary vises? Or are you more or less saying that we don't NEED that feature?
     
  13. FT

    FT Active Member

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    NShorBrookie,

    A beginner does not need the rotary feature.

    Truthfully, a rotary vise is really only necessary if you are going to be tying flies that require the hook be rotated to tie things in on the bottom of the hook (think full dressed, classic salmon flies). In fact, there are many very fine tyers (some of whom are considered master tyers) that don't use rotary vises. Al Troth comes readily to mind, he ties on a non-rotary Regal, as does Jack Dennis.

    Don't get me wrong, I have been using rotary vises for the last 35 years; but I've been tying for 43 years. Rotaries have their place; but a new tyer doesn't need one. A new tyer is far better served getting a good non-rotary vise (which as I've mentioned in my previous post can be had for well under $100.00) and use the money saved on quality scissors and buying several bobbins (this lets you tie without having to change thread to smaller or larger size, or to a different color). Plus you can then get good genetic hackle instead of the cheap India necks that are an abomination to tie with.

    There are a lot of whip finishers on the market; but I've found none better than the Materelli. I have tied up to 1,000 dozen steelhead flies in a year for many years and it took me 10 years of tying like this to put a very slight groove in a Materelli whip finisher (i.e. it took tying over a million flies to groove it, which is far more than nearly all tyers tie in a lifetime). I've owned other whip finishers and none of them are as easy to use as the Materelli (the only other one that I owned which was as easy to use was the Charlie's Whip Finisher and it is no longer available, nor did it hold up more than a few years) and none of them held up more than a few years. Be careful though and make sure you get a genuine Materelli and not one of the Materelli copies made in Indian or China, the copies are very inferior and not that much cheaper.
     
  14. halcyon

    halcyon Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!

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    I disagree with FT on several points and disagreement is the spice that makes life so much fun:cool:

    DynaKing makes many vises both inline rotary, rotary and stationary in a number of price points from about $100 on up. But they all have the DynaKing jaws which are simply the best for holding a hook.

    I also would suggest that one should start with a rotary vise because learning to use the rotary features is much easier to do from scratch than have to unlearn non-rotary techniques and relearn new rotary techniques. This is IMHO the reason most seasoned tiers don't switch to rotary vises very easily and utilize the many features and advantages the rotary vise provides. If you don't want to pay the price for the DynaKing there is the servicable DanVise under $90.

    Regards,
     
  15. Don Johnson

    Don Johnson Duke of Furl

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    Not all rotary vises are true rotary. To clarify for those that don't yet know the difference:

    Rotary: a vise that has the capacity to turn the vise head.
    True rotary: same as above except that the hook shank turns in the axis of rotation.

    With that said, I guess I can answer the question at hand:

    vise: Nor Vise (small in-line jaws)
    bobbins: Norlander Automatic
    light: Nor Vise light AND a good INCANDESCENT light for when I'm at home
    scissors: Fiskars snips (interchangeable blades)
    whip finish tool: my very own right hand...it was free and I'm a tightwad
    stackers: J Dorin, medium and large sizes
    hackle pliers: English style, no idea who made them
    bodkin: classy bamboo rod scrap from Del Coppock (I hope I spelled that correctly!)

    Miscellaneous commentary:
    Scrimp where have to but spare no expense on your vise, your chair and your light, in my opinion. If you choose to do like I do (stand while tying) you can throw more dough at the vise.

    Lighting is critical but remember some flourescent lights oscillate badly. Halogen or incandescent lights, although hotter to work under, may save you from skull-cracking headaches.

    Go to Radio shack and buy some of those little electronics clips. They are about a buck each, give or take. See pic. This is a cheap little accessory that really comes in handy, especially after cementing flies.

    Get an Optivisor. It makes 18's look like 12s and takes a lot of eye strain away when doing really intricate work.
     
  16. Hywel

    Hywel New Member

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    Allow me to be the Devil’s Advocate, if you will…*g*

    “A beginner does not need the rotary feature.”

    OK, we can also say that no vise is needed at all, right? Some pretty complex, durable, and beautiful flies were, and still are, ‘tied from the hand’. In fact, the only tools you may need are good pair of scissors and a bodkin – although, you could be really frugal and use your teeth.

    Seriously, some pretty darned good recommendations were made and I can’t think of anything I’d add to the mix – except to echo the thinking of “buying the best tools you can afford”. I could give another ‘thumbs up’ to a pair of Dr. Slick Scissors or Metz tweezers – but they are made in Pakistan, and I really don’t know if they’re used or endorsed by Al Troth, AK Best, or Jack Dennis.

    Oh, bother. *g*

    Hywel
     

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