Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thinking about a new vise...

The very first vise I tied on was a Regal. If I recall correctly it was the traditional jaw Medallion. I remember it being very easy to work, strong and versatile. My first fly on that vise was a #16 pheasant tail nymph.

I currently tie on a Renzetti Traveler. It is a great vise. It also holds an entire spectrum of hooks. However, I am finding one function of the vise becoming fairly annoying to me - adjusting the jaw opening.

In the last few months I have been a somewhat bipolar tyer - one fly here and completely different fly there. I have been tying a #2/0 bass bug then changing to a #8 Possie Bugger then to a #20 Mercury Black Beauty. Adjusting the jaw opening has just been a bit of thorn in the side as I transition from pattern to pattern.

I realize a new vise won't solve ALL my "problems." Especially if I go with the vise I have been eyeing lately - the Regal Medallion - stainless steel (SS) jaw.

As part of settling into our home in Missoula, I have taken a small amount of time to hit up each of the fly shops in town. I had heard that one, by a large measure, had the best selection of tying materials. So, naturally I went there first :)

The dudes at The Missoulian Angler are fantastic. They are friendly, down-to-earth, and accommodating. When I walked in the door I noticed the line of Regal vises they had on display. For those of you that know me, I usually don't hesitate to ask for exactly what I want. So, I did!

I arranged with the guys there to borrow the demo Regal vise with stainless jaws. With a little conversation about dates and a handshake I had the vise to borrow for a few days. True champs at The Missoulian Angler!

First thing I did was clamp it to the dining room table. It was stout as could be. I probably could have moved the table by lifting on the post.

I don't like clamps though. If I were to dive into this vise I would get a pedestal base. Regal has anvils for pedestals. Another beef with the Renzetti is the lightweight base. I make due though.

I didn't tie a wide range of sizes with the vise. I was mostly focused on the bigger hook sizes. Of course, the SS jaws only support hooks #2 through #32. I know it will hold the smaller hook sizes well. But how will it hold the "bigger" hooks?

I tied a few #4 Vanilla Buggers and was amazed how the well the jaws did. They did allow the hook to move a bit (it was not the long shank hook bending). I was kinda bummed that the hook slipped a bit. I recall the traditional jaws having a groove for larger hooks. I was sad to see that the SS jaws lacked that feature (is this a problem with SS?).

Overall I am very pleased with the vise. I think it is a vise that I would upgrade to.


Roger said...

+1 for the Regal, I bought both heads and rarely use the midge head.

Dustin's Fly Box said...

I tied on a regal for a little bit and the spring went out. It was one of their first gens. Why they took out the groove is beyond me. My next vise is going to be a J vise with damasteel jaws. I tie on an HMH Standard and I love it.