Nor-Vise Learning Curve?


Steve Cole - Nisqually and Adjacent Environs
I recently came to own a Nor-Vise as I find myself tying lots more nymphs and dries than big streamers these days and wanted to see if there will be an advantage to using a Nor-Vise. I have an older model which I am going to upgrade but in the meantime my version of the vise has the spindle which is used to tighten the hook. I have Mr. Norlander video which I will watch when I get a chance, but I was hoping that some other Nor-Vise users might have some advice to pass on to someone who hasn't used the Nor-Vise system as yet. Looking forward to your insights...

Thanks All

Steve Cole
Tumwater, WA


Active Member
The learning curve is HUGE! But the reason is that there are so many things it will do that are unique. Don't get discouraged, it'll take a looooooooooong time before you come close to mastering the vise, but your woolies will immediately improve in quality, and by about 20 percent in speed right off the bat! Epoxy is a breeze. big saltwater patterns are awesome. Nymphs... It just works!

Biggest thing to watch out for at first is on smaller nymphs make sure you don't wrap wire ribbing over the hookpoint. You'll see what I mean.

Also, you don't need to "upgrade" your vise. The jaw you have works great. I know, I have it. The cam version is for better market acceptance. Watch the video and understand the way you are supposed to mount the hook. It works great!
I didn't find the learning curve HUGE. I watched the movies a couple of times and tied a couple hundred flies! :rofl: :rofl:

I have four other vises and now that I have the Nor-vise the others just don't measure up.

I had the old jaws and your right Philster they work good. The wheel was a pain for me and I like the new jaws much better.

Using some of Norm's tips from the DVD the files my flies hold up better and look better.:thumb:
Here are mt thoughts/recommendations, for what they're worth:

1) to take full advantage of the vise system, you have to use the automatic bobbin. You can tie without an AB but it won't be as efficient.

2) getting accustomed to the bobbin, for me, was more of a pain than learning rotary tying techniques. I really exercized my vocabulary every time the thread would be sucked back onto the spool because I clipped without holding on...but eventually I got it down.

3) get some cheap hooks, surplus materials and sit down for a few hours and practice applying dubbing to the thread, then the hook...try hackling and applying a rib or tinsel body. My point here is to not worry so much about tying a particular pattern, just practice the techniques. There will be a lot of wasted materials in the process but I think you'll find this will pay dividends when it comes to tying an actual fly later on.

4) to prevent yourself from regressing back to the type of tying you are comfortable with, box up your other vise and put it away somewhere that you can't easily get to it so you are 100% forced to tie with nothing bt the NorVise. I had to force myself in this manner; you may have more patience and resolve than I so you may not need such extremes. In my case, after I had mastered the NV, I found it uncomfortable tying on anything but the NV and that's all I own now.

PM me if you have any other questions.


Steve Cole - Nisqually and Adjacent Environs
thanks all for that feedback. Don... I will be PM-ing you from time to time if that's OK.

I picked up a newer version of the Nor Vise this weekend with the spindle locking screw and the cam locking jaws. Anticipating locking away my "old" bobbins, I bought 3 more spools and the spool threading accessory so my with those additions, I now have a half-dozen spools for the auto-bobbin.

Has any one ever written a book covering tying techniques on the Nor Vise?

More later as I progress.




Active Member
Having seen Don's Nor-V on several occation .. I can assure you he runs through a LOT of feathers with that thing. Humm ... wonder where he hides his 'out side' key?
Hey Fred!

The Nor-Vise does have a lot of feathers and fur run through it.

If you don't have it get Norm's DVD on the Nor-Vise. He will throw one in if you order something, I think. It's a good DVD and will speed you up a lot.


Jim Darden

Active Member
Sorry guys, I have a lot of friends that tie with the nor vise and automatic bobbin system but I just can't buy into the hype. Tried it for several years and now I'm back to the standard bobbins and vises. Though I must admit my friends loved the sale prices I gave them on the equipment. It looks cool to dub the bodies with the vise but it is time consuming and can be done faster by standard methods. Having to spool all my threads on the bobbin is a pain and you had better not use a 200 yd spool, (you automatic bobbin guys know why). for some of us the old fashioned ways just seem to work better. If I have a lot of flies to tie, the more normal vises and bobbin work better for me.

"I just can't buy into the hype."

There's no 'hype'. Either you're able to tie with a NorVise and Auto-Bobbin or you're not.

"It looks cool to dub the bodies with the vise but it is time consuming and can be done faster by standard methods."

Really? I'd be willing to wager much that it'd take me much less time to completely dub the shank of a 3/0 iron with a NorVise than it would for most people to cover the shank of size #8 hook using 'traditional' methods.

Here's another challenge. Do you think, using hand-over-fist tying techniques and a traditional vise and bobbin, that you can dress 500 Miracle Caddis's in a scant 23 hours?

One thing about the Nor-Vise, it's not 'everybody's' vise! :rofl:

I love mine, tied over a thousand flies on a standard vise before I switched to a Nor-Vise. :thumb:

The auto bobbin, and true rotary features work good for me. I had to break some old habits to get the Nor-Vise do what it does best, faster and better flies. I think it's the break old habits part that gets some people. A new person on a Nor-Vise could learn the way it works and just kick.

Go to an event were someone that knows how is using a Nor-Vise and you'll see it's not hype.
Grey-Sedge said:
Ouch! sorry for my opinion, didn't know you'd had such a bad day :)

No need for you to apologize for your opinion - and you're certainly entitled to express it.

I was merely rebutting some rather broad-brush comments you made about the NorVise, nothing more.

On an aside; I don't have bad days - however, some days are better than others.

Gray Sedge,
I fail to see the hype but everyone's got their own perspective on things. As for the comments about faster, there are other qualities about the NV system (vise + bobbin) that need to be taken into consideration not the least of which are ease and consistency, especially when working with problematic materials such as seal and some of the really stiff synthetics....but to each their own. I find the NV system much more of an asset with certain materials and techniques and choose not to be hobbled by antiquated methods promulgated over and over and over. Show me something new and fresh.

And, FYI, it is entirely possible to put 200+ yards of thread on a NV just have to be selective as to the thread diameter and twist you are trying to load; i.e. 10/0 vs. 3/0 and flat not simple rope twist. If tying on a standard vise, there's no reason to use an AB because there's no gain as a result of never (or rarely) going to and from a threadpost (or bobbin rest). For most rotary techniques I employ on a NV, there's no way a standard bobbin would be practical. Since you've tied on one of these systems you know this already though.

The comical thing is that at one time the old fashioned was new. Where would we be if people were afraid to embrace the Thompson A or a bobbin or scissors instead of a lance? Food for thought...

"You can have my Nor-Vise when you pry my cold, dead fingers away from it!"
(as repeated by the Prez of the National Riffle Association)

I propose a change from Hywel to Hypwel. In light of the way this thread is going it may be fitting. I'm with you man!


BTW...for the record, it was 501.


Steve Cole - Nisqually and Adjacent Environs
Hmmm... to digress I guess, I have been using the NV now for about a month and a half, and have concluded that for me, personally, a "conventional" rotary vise seems to be a better fit, particularly for the larger streamer and spey/salmon flies that I seem to tie more of. Since I tie dries and nymphs pretty much for personal consumption, the time involved is not so much factor. I did try an afternoon of building dubbing ropes and to that end, the NV definitely has it's place. For now though, since the "SSS" season is looming (Salt, Salmon & Steelhead), I am going to get another Dyna King or an HMH... either the HMH standard bench vise or the DK Professional model... and return to the "norm".

That said, when I can afford to have a selection of vises in my cache, I will definitely make one of them a Nor Vise because there are certain techniques that prove it's worth. In the meanwhile, I will make someone a great deal on a used, "late model" NV with an auto-bobbin and a half-dozen spools.

Half the fun for me in fly tying is the experimentation with styles of patterns, finding new techniques to adopt and apply, and generally enjoying the time I spend at the vise. The other half of course is taking the flies I build and actually catching fish with them.

Thanks all for the feedback.

Steve Cole
Tumwater, WA