For several years now, I’ve done all my fly tying on the little travel vise you see in the image above. I picked it up at a Bass Pro in Las Vegas for about thirty dollars, and it came with some tools nestled in a nice, but cheap wooden case. I tie more now than I used to, but while I may one day, I’m not prepared just yet to splurge the few hundred bucks on a nice professional level vice. There is always a smarter way to use that money. Such as rods, lines, materials, beer…..
So far, this vice has been sufficient, but the drawbacks were mounting. For one, the base of this vice is just the box. It can move very easily when applying any pressure while tying. Secondly, because the vice lives inside the box, any clippings of fur, hackle, marabou or flash falls directly into the box, on top of the tools, and then – because of what I see as a flaw in design – sticks to the felt that lines the interior. In short, it became a hell of a mess. I find myself picking the materials out of the tools before I can use them. This will not do.
I decided on a simple plan to cure the lost tools, the mess, and the shifting vice. I picked up a couple of pieces of inexpensive wood from a craft store. One was a simple ten inch block for wood carving, the second a good sized, appropriately heavy plaque.
Then, I attached the block to the base with a few nails, drilled some holes in the block for an organized tool keeper, gave everything a good sanding, and then began applying a light wood stain.
Once the stain was dry, I removed the old vise from the travel box. Unfortunately, the box didn’t survive the abuse, but the vice came away, and after sanding down the dry glue that had attached it to the case, I was able to mount it to it’s new base with a few screws. What I was left with is a much more organized and functional tying station that actually looks pretty good, if I may say so. It took about an hour and cost less than twenty dollars for all the materials.
I’d still like one of those fancy vises someday, but this will do just fine for now.