Tag: vise

The “957” Fly Tying Vise


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…

homemade fly tying vise

The parts

– 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)

What does the fly-fishing set do to pass the time during winter

It’s winter (and how’s that for stating the obvious?). For some that means peering out the window to cold, dark skies, maybe doing a little gear maintenance, and in the off chance you do hit the water, getting brutally skunked.

Fly shop proprietors, like those at Denver’s venerable Discount Fishing Tackle, do things like tear their retail floor plans to smithereens:


More than a few customers suggested they stopped the project cold, as the place presently has a cleaner feel to it than it’s had in five years.

Those who retired from fly tying because they were too busy with workfrustrated with wrapping hackle around microscopic Tiemco 101s…really only capable of tying clouser minnows to begin with take the Brett Favre approach:

The author readily admits that a Dyna-King Professional was probably going a bit overboard, especially since the last fancy vise he owned was smashed on the kitchenette floor of a room at Abe’s after the size 26 hooks he was mass producing adult midges with kept slipping out of the jaws. But then again this IS fly fishing related stuff we’re talking about here.

What do you do to pass the time during winter?

MG signing off (to bloody my fingertips on some tiny hooks)

Editor’s note: surfing pornography websites day in and day out DOES NOT qualify as passing the time, and for some may substitute for fly-fishing during most other seasons anyway.