Nor-Vise Learning Curve?

Southsound said:
Hmmm... to digress I guess, I have been using the NV now for about a month and a half...

Half the fun for me in fly tying is the experimentation with styles of patterns, finding new techniques to adopt and apply...

Unless you were tying every night and never reverting back to using any other vise, it doesn't seem like a long enough time to become proficient with all the capacity the system offers...but that's just an opinion based on the experiences of a guy who's not the sharpest tool in the shed and can barely tie his own shoes.

To address your affinity to experimentation, there's nothing better to be using (once again in my opinion) than a Nor-Vise system (vise and bobbin). Construction of things like spun dubbed bodies, furled bodies and stingers, ropes, to name a few, is possible with the NV and either difficult or practically impossible with other vises, especially traditional versions (Thompson A, HMH, etc.). For me and those I know that have "mastered" the system, it turns the difficult into the rudimentary, opens the door to materials and techniques experimentation and increases efficiency, consistency and proficiency.

With all that said, the real gem behind all this discussion is that we have tons of choices which is good because what's great for one is the bane of another's existence.

When time allows, take a gander:

For large streamers and saltwater patterns a large arbor is available for the Nor-Vise. Using the small arbor or the large one the vise is can be used just like a 'normal' vise. This gives you a chance to ease into the Nor-Vise method.

Might be more cost effective than getting another vise.
I bought Steve's Nor Vise and love it. Thanks Steve!

I will admit that I am new to tying (9 mos) and probably don't have many of the 'old habits' to break. I will agree it is a little frustrating when the thread snaps back into the bobbin when I cut it :mad: Maybe I will learn.

Steve had lost the video that came with the vise, so I emailed Norm and asked about buying one and also a couple of the o-rings. Norm is putting them in the mail to me on Monday at no charge.

Everyone has their own personal tastes. I will use the Nor Vise for the same reason I use Weber grilling products. Execellent Customer Service.

Keep on Tying!
Don't forget, as I had written in another post:

"Remember, you're not alone. The Brotherhood of the Nor-Vise may not be large but we're generous and if you run into difficulties, have questions or get frustrated...let us know. All of us have been there and realize that if you stick with it long enough to obtain mastery of the system, the benefits will far outweigh the costs associated with the learning curve."

I have been thinking of upgrading to a rotary vise, with the norvise in mind.

But, I have a question for the norvise vets out there, how is the vise for tying small flies? I would say that at least 70% of my flies are sized 18-26. any ad"vise" for me? :)
Buy the NV with the fine point setup. There are tricks I use to make the in-line jaws work better for small hooks but if the vast majority of your tying is minutia, then it's probably better to start out with the Nor-Vise jawset that has been designed for that type of tying.

With that said, in my experience, tying flies on hooks that small has rarely required in-line rotary functionality. Have you looked at the HMH with the micro jaws? It's a rotary vise, not in-line but does rotate 360 degrees, and those jaws are very fine...probably the most slender on the market and really allow a lot of access around the bend of the hook.

PM me if you have questions.


Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
Lucky, great question. Norm sells an attachment called the Fine Point Jaw. It sells for $65 and attaches by loosening a hex nut. Takes 15 seconds. I use the Fine Point fairly often and find that it enhances the ability to on smaller flies. Check out the website. It works well.
Thanks for the offer of help with questions I have using the Nor Vise.


1) when I am doing some dubbing I put the thread over the bobbin holder as Norm shows in his video. I start to spin the vise and the dubbing grabs. My problem is that I either make dubbing like a rope or it is so loose that it wont stay on the hook. Any suggestions to help get my dubbing looking more natural? it seems there is no inbetween.

2) When you want to dub to you wrap the thread to the eye of the hook or do you just do a half hitch at the back and start dubbing there? My thread always seems to end up 3/4 wrapped back to the eye if I start near the bend. If I start on the front I have to wrap the thread over the dubbing to finish the fly. Any Suggestions?

Sorry if these questions are incomplete or dumb, I am real new to this and don't really know the questions to ask.

Hi Shane,
1) The problem you are having here will easily be fixed over time with lots and lots of practice with different dubbing materials. As you know, dubbing materials are available in different fiber-lengths, textures (straight or crinkly) and stiffnesses. All of these factors play a role in how quickly the material apllies itself to the thread when trying to spin the material onto the thread. My suggestion is to get some materials to experiment with then try varying the rate of spin of the vise head and then the speed at which you move the clump of dubbing across the thread once the material has grabbed and is starting to work onto the thread. These will both affect the thickness or sparsity of the dubbing on the thread. Another trick I often do is to loosen the clump of dubbing in my fingers before starting the dubbing process. Using your fingers, pull the material apart from itself a few times in different directions to loosen up the fibers. This will usually prevent a big clump from being pulled onto the thread.

2) As there is usually a bit of undubbed thread to turn on prior to the dubbing the hook, I usually start very close to where I want the dubbing to start on the hook, wrap the undubbed thread to exactly where I want the dubbing to start then work my way up the hook shank. If I run out of dubbed thread I simply apply more dubbing and carry on until it's how I want it. The only time I find I need to apply a half hitch is when I'm using up-eye hooks. Conversely, if you are having to wrap over a dubbed body on your way back to the front of the fly, just add a little more dubbing to the thread before wrapping the rest of the body.

Hope this helps and that others chie in to assist in answering if I overlooked anything or if they have any advice. There's no such thing as a dumb question so fire away. That's part of what the Forum is for.

Until later...
Thanks Don! That makes a lot of sense. Does the size of the thread or kind of thread make any difference? I am currently using Uni-Thread 8/0.

One thing that I have mastered is the weighting of flies with lead wire. I followed Norms video and WOW! easy and almost no waste!!!

Now I am off to practice!!!
Shane if you want your dubbing material to be tighter on your thread try the folowing...
wind your thread to where you want your dubbing to start.
Put the bobbin in the rest as you do now and apply your dubbing to the thread as you do now.
Only make your dubbed thread about 2-3" long. as you return your bobbin towards the hook, stop at the point where the dubbed portion of your thread ends.
Pinch the thread there and spin the vise several more turns in the same direction. This will tighten the material on the thread.
Did that make sense?
If you need more dubbed material repeat. remember that you'll only need 1/2 of what you think you'll need and it's easy to add to what you already have.
Good luck.
thewood87 said:
Thanks Don! That makes a lot of sense. Does the size of the thread or kind of thread make any difference? I am currently using Uni-Thread 8/0.

For what you are trying to accomplish here I don't think the type of thread (flat vs. simple, rope twist) makes a noticeable difference. I prefer flat waxed (Gudebrod) but that's just me; try many and cull the types you dislike.