It’s a puzzle that has intrigued me for months – how to build a really cheap fly tying vise (like less than $25) out of readily available components. This last weekend I was wandering aimlessly through Staples when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the primer – the soon-to-be-infamous X-Acto Knife #2. I quickly hopped next door to Home Depot, picked up a few more parts, and rushed home for assembly.
Introducing the Model 957 fly tying vise…
– One X-Acto Knife, size #2
– One 6-inch Parson’s Table leg
– One Waddell Straight Top Plate #2751
– A piece of scrap 1×4 out of the 50-cent bin
Total cost…$9.57 (including tax).
I made a big mistake along the way, but nothing that’ll cost me more than a few bucks to rectify. I used a 3/8ths drill bit for the angled hole, but I should have used a 7/16ths instead. The hole in the table leg was just a bit too narrow, so like any impatient engineer I took a rubber mallet to the X-acto handle – in the process I split the wood AND bent the knife handle. Further, I didn’t account for the head rotation when securing the hook. A snug but not jammed in fit would have allowed for that – now I need a pliers handy to twist the X-Acto handle after the hook is secured.
But heck…it works! I ran through a number of Gamakatsu SC15 #1’s without issue, and think this particular setup would probably work from 1/0 down to about #14. If I used an X-Acto #1 (which is a bit smaller) I could easily hold hooks down into the 18-22 range. The next mod will probably be fixing the mess above, as well as adding an additional hole for that smaller handle.
It will of course be a different model number, and labeled deluxe.
MG signing off (to tie some flies on the cheap)