Fly Tying Vise Advice


I am thinking about starting to tie my own flies, so I have started to look at vises. I don't want to spend a fortune, but I would like something that's going to last and is good quality.

I came across the "BT's rotary Tying Station" which includes a Dan Vise, pedestall, and seven brass handle tools. I believe it goes for about $160.

Is any one, or has anyone, used this product? Any good?

Any advise on any other vise I should look into would also be appreciated.

Check out the Dyna King Kingfisher retails $130 and will get You going well with Your Tying and Probably last You for a great many Years... You might check out their Kingfisher Starter Kits they retail for $230 and give you the Kingfisher Vise, a selection of Dr. Slick Tools, a O.K. starter Book and DVD.. plus just a handful of Materials to tye Elk & deer Hair caddis.... The Best Starter Kit on the Market in my Humble Oppinion...

DEAN ~~~

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
I'm not affiliated with this club, but from the events forum here:

Hard to imagine this not being perfect for what you need to get going. I started tying on a danvise and found it quite capable. I'm not sure about it in the kit you mentioned. You can get a darn fine tying setup for $160 or less if you are patient and buy a quality vise used. Search the classifieds here, you likely will find many quality surprises.


Trout have no politics
BTW, search griffin in the classifieds. I believe I saw a basic AA style in the $50 range. Don't buy a cheapy vise, it is not worth it because you will just end up buying a nice one later trust me I know from personal experience and I still don't learn.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
BTW, search griffin in the classifieds. I believe I saw a basic AA style in the $50 range. Don't buy a cheapy vise, it is not worth it because you will just end up buying a nice one later trust me I know from personal experience and I still don't learn.
Great point here. I did start with a danvise, so S and I can agree to disagree. For me it was fine to start, handled my limited tying needs well but I ended up doing the upgrade thing less than a year after tying. Someone gave me the same advice when I was searching for the upgrade vise and that led me to my Nor-Vise. Now that is one upgrade that I really think I got right.
Years ago I started out with a Thomson cam lock vise and finally wore it out. That was replaced with a Griffin that cost about $60 new. It isn't fancy but it holds the hook. I don't tie on smaller than a 14 but the vise would hold smaller hooks securely. I have had no issues with the largest hooks I tie, which is a 1.

Tools are more important in a sense than the vise. Good scissors are a must. Most drug stores carry some very nice scissors for much less than Dr. Slick's. A couple of good bobbins, ceramic tubes, are pretty much essential. Hackle pliers, hair stacker, dubbing loop rounds out the basics. For about $130 you would be well equipped to tie.

Quality materials and good hooks are going to be the major expense starting out. And in fact materials will always be the major expense! If I have a dollar in materials I would bet there is well over $1500 tied up in stuff to tie with!



Active Member
Here are my thoughts on buying tying tools based on 47 years of tying experience, 17 years as a professional commercial tyer, having tied in the neighborhood of 3 million flies, and having taught several hundred folks how to tie.

1) The vise is the most important tool you will need because it needs to hold a hook without slippage and without requiring too much pressure (which would damage and even break many hooks as you tie). There is nothing more frustrating than having the hook slip when you are nearly finished with a fly.

2) since the vise is the most important tool you need to tie flies, buy the best vise you can afford, not the most expensive All you need is a good, solid vise many of which can be gotten for under $80.00 or so new retail.

3) Never, Never, Never in a million years buy a cheap imported vise. They are false economy. They have poor fit and finish, don't hold hooks well, don't hold up, and are false economy. Many folks learned this the hard way, don't be one of them.

4) Griffin has a line of lower priced (i.e. under $80.00) vises that are excellent. They hold hooks well, are easy to operate, and the last because they are made of good materials.

5) Thompson is another excellent lower priced vise. In fact, Thompson was the first company to offer the draw cam vise (i.e. it has a lever to open and close the jaws) with the Model A vise with its draw collar adjustment for different hook sizes. Thompson have good jaws, last a long time, are very easy to operate, made of good materials, and have other size jaws you can get for tying really small stuff (like #18's and smaller) or really large stuff (like #2's to #10/0) for a very reasonable cost.

6) If you want to get better quality than the very good Griffin or Thompson, go with the stationary angle Dyna King Kingfisher, the Regal, the HMH Spartan, and similar vises. These are all over $100.00 with most selling for between $130.00 and $230.00 give or take a few dollars. All of these are top quality and will last a lifetime.

7) If you want to get the best, be prepared to pony up over $300.00 for a vise. HMH, Dyna King (my personal favorite is the Dyna King Barracuda), Norvise, LAW Vise, Renzetti P4000 and mastery vises, Anvil, and some others I don't recall at the moment. As a beginning tyer, you need vises of this quality and with these features like you need another hole in your head.

8) I can't emphasize this enough: You don't need rotary to start tying!!! Since rotary vises are more expensive than non-rotary, you save a good amount of money by getting a non-rotary for your first vise.The Danvise is not bad, but there are other vises on the market that sell for less and are better quality, they just aren't rotary vises.

9) If you must have rotary, the Peak vise is much better quality than the Danvise, as are the Griffin rotary vises and the Peak and Griffin rotary vises sell for about the same price as a Danvise. Don't get me wrong, the Danvise is OK, but there are other rotary vises in the same price range that are better.

10) After the vise, the next most important tooll to get is good scissors. This also can't be emphasized too much. Good scissors run around $20.00 a pair, but they last a long time. Cheap scissors are false economy and a waste of money. Cheap ones don't hold up, don't cut well very long, feel clumsy in your hand, don't stay sharp, and quickly wear out the welcome on the tying bench.

11) Get 2 good bobbins to hold your tying thread for tying. One for a thin thread like Danvill's Flymaster, Uni 8/0, Wapsi's 70 Denier, or other 6/0=8/0 thread. And the other for a heavy thread like Danville's Flat-waxed nylon, Wapsi's 210 Denier, etc, which is used for tying things like deer hair. Good bobbins can be had for as little as $5.50 for the S&M Bobbin (one of my favorites, which is why I own and use 16 of them and one of them I've had since I was 16, which is 40 years ago and it still works without any problems whatsoever). You may have to look around to find the S&M Bobbin, but it is worth finding them. Or ask your local shop to get a few for you, you never know if they might never have heard of them. Griffin Cearamic's (another favorite of mine is the Griffin Magnum Ceramic, I own 12 of them) are very good and sell for about $14.00. I use these for the heavy thread. But any good quality ceramic bobbin (I'd avoid the ones with the ceramic thread tube and only go with the metal tube ceramic insert type because the skinny ceramic tube clogs easily and is prone to break if dropped, the metal tube, ceramic insert ones don't have these problems) is a good choice. Several companies make good wire arm bobbins that sell for around 10.0- give or take a bit. But just like Vises and scissors, don't buy the cheap imported ones.

12) A whip finisher is well worth buying. Granted, you don't need one to tie a good fly, but, having one sure makes tying off the head of the fly easier. Get one of the Materelli Whip Finishers, or a copy of of because they are the best. Avoid the ones with the little spring on them because they tend to tighten the thread as the whip finish is being formed and this can lead to thread breakage. Besides, the Materelli sell for about $16.00 and the copies of it sell for from a low of about $4.00 to about $20.00 for the fancy, exotic wood handled ones.

13) A hackle plier is needed to help with wrapping hackle, both wet and dry. Get a good one. I like the rotary hackle pliers (they sell for around $16.00), but you really don't need one. Heck, even a small electronics parts plier or holder works very well as a hackle plier. Radio Shack and other electronic supply stores have them. These are the little plastic doo-dads with the spring plunger and little hook on the end. They sell for about $1.50 or less. Anyway, the tear-drop shaped hackle pliers are terrific, as are the English-style (that is what they are called because they were invented in the UK 160 years ago) hackle pliers. Again, avoid the imported ones because they don't hold up, don't hold hackle well, or have too much pressure and end up breaking hackle stems. Most hackle pliers sell for around $7.00

14) A bodkin is needed for things like applying head cement to the finished fly, picking out hackle that has been wound down the the hackle stem, roughening up the body, and a multitude of other things. It is nothing more than a large needle in a handle. Therefore, you can find them for as little as $2.00 for a plastic handled one (not a problem since the needle is steel) to as much as $30.00 for a super, duper, fancy, dandy exotic wood with inlay handled one. I'd either get a plastic handled one, or one of the metal handled ones with a half-hitch tool on the end of the handle. You could even make you own with a small piece of doweling (plastic or wood) of small dia. and a large needle. Just glue the needle into the wood or plastic after you cut the dowel to lengh, and you have a bodkin. I have one make like that from a piece of wood dowel that I've used for 30 years. This is the only tool that it doesn't matter what you get. Cheap ones are as good as expensive ones.

If you follow these guidlines and advise, you can get a very good and complete tying tool kit for $150.00 or less. Just remember the most important tool is the vise, so get the best you can afford without going nuts and buying a high-end professional one.

John Dude

Learned skills from George Dickel
FT's post above is a lot of really GOOD advice. So good I'm going to save it in my Documents folder for future reference.


Ed Call

Well-Known Member
FT, that is article material for anyone who decides they want to tie flies. I suggest that it becomes an article so anyone can find it easily and start their tying adventures.


Active Member
I like big boobs. And little boobs. And medium-sized boobs. Frankly, if I had my own boobs, I'm not sure I'd ever leave the house.

Danvise; not so much.


Sculpin Enterprises
I agree with Mumbles. Probably every two or three months a newcomer asks about what she/he needs to start flytying. Your response, dominated by your personal opinion and experience, is a solid start to a FAQ article.