Vise Questions

I am looking to buy a new vise, and I have some questions to put to the community here to complete my research on the subject. The questions I have remaining are pretty specific, so ideally I am looking for folks that have first hand knowledge of the vises I have surmised will work for me. That said, any general advice is appreciated, even if superfluous. I suppose, with the research I have already done combined with input from the community, this thread could serve as a tutorial for other OFFers looking to buy a vise.

I have been using a Terra Spring Action vise, which is more or less a Regal Medallion knock off. It met my needs when I bought it, and with the exception of a somewhat chipped jaw, it has been good to me, and generally serviceable. It holds hooks well, from a size 2 to an 18. The spring action is relatively ingenious; it holds hooks very firmly, and is limited only to the extent that it is a little too simple. I am just now realizing the advantages to be gained by a full rotary, cam lever vise, so I am going to buy one.

Really, I am looking for a "forever" vise (more or less). My price range, which has been inflated by my research, is $85-190. It seems to me that anything significantly under that is going to be more limited than what I would expect out of a long-term, do-it-all vise. Further, I definitely want a full rotary vise, and I am relatively certain that I want a cam-lever action.

These are the three (four?) that interest me:

1) PEAK Rotary Vise ($145) - If I was going to buy a vise right now, without further input, this would be the one. The Peak Rotary, by all accounts, is an extremely high quality, trouble-free, precision vise. It is constructed of stainless, brass, and tooled steel, and it is meets the cam lever, full rotary expectation. It is made in the US, and comes with a lifetime guarantee. The biggest question/hesitation I have with this vise is that there is no adjustment between the shaft, and the jaws; in short, there are going to be situations, with smaller hooks, that because the jaw height is fixed, the hook shank will not be in the line of rotation, causing the shank to turn a loop, instead of spinning on the intended axis of rotation. This is troubling to me, but I don't know that it should be; how disabling is the problem going to be when using the rotary function, and what size hooks am I going to have the issue with?

2) Renzetti Traveler ($189) - 45 bucks: that is the first factor that I see when comparing the Traveler to the PEAK. Next, I see the material considerations; the Renzetti is constructed of Aluminum, as opposed to steel, and has a significant amount of rubber and plastic in the jaw assembly. The reviews I have read on the Traveler are nearly all positive; in fact, without double checking my research, I can't think of anything negative except for the aforementioned material concerns. The Jaws will adjust up and down, eliminating the only concern present with the PEAK vise. Further, Renzetti's customer service is widely considered the best in the industry, so the material concerns are probably negligible, until you consider the possibility that the vise breaks the night before that epic Deschutes trip, and you have only tied 2 flies, even Renzetti isn't going to life-flight me out replacement parts (but, I'd have a backup, right?). So, big question, is the Renzetti worth the extra money????

3) Danica Danvise ($85) - Early in my research, this was the one; it is full-rotary and cam-operated, and cost half that of the other vises that do the same, but the more I looked at the vise, and researched my options, the more I was sure that a plastic vise was not going to satisfy me. Look, I'll just come out and say it, I am what is known in the military as a "gear queer." I like stuff, and I like quality, cool stuff. My biggest concern with the Danvise is that every time I sit down at the vise I am going to wish I had shelled out the extra clams to get a serious metal vise. The fact remains, the Danvise has all of the functionality I am looking for; it is full rotary, cam operated, and the jaws adjust up and down. Further, while I call the vise "plastic," it is actually constructed of a phenolic resin, that is, by all accounts, bulletproof. I have just about written this one off the list, because of my above mentioned, and admittedly vain, concerns, but if someone has some awesome testimonials, I am all ears; lord know I would love to save the money for tying materials.

4) (dark-horse entry) Griffin Odyssey Spider ($89) - another inexpensive entry, The Odyssey is relatively low on my list. First, it is not cam lever operated; Odyssey makes a cam lever option, but at $150 it simply does not compete with the PEAK, or even the Renzetti, in my opinion. I would be buying the cheaper version simply as a cost consideration. The major concern I have with the Odyssey models is quality; they look cheap, and the reviews are not all that favorable, when compared with other vises at the same price-point. What I am really looking for is testimonials on these vises; how many, if any, of you have experience with these guys, and are going to try and change my mind? none? ok, it is settled.

Thanks in advance, and my apologies for the rather lengthy post. Have fun reading, and I look forward to your contributions/advice.
Oregon Knights
I've had my Renzetti Traveler for about 16 years now. Love it! I added a midge jaw several years ago to allow my big fingers to get in closer so I could tie smaller flies into the high 20's. One thing about the aluminum construction, it doesn't get rust like a steel vise can. My old Thompson was steel and had issues with developing some rust over the years. Enjoy your seach.

I'm glad you posted this thread. I'm in looking for a new vise myself. I have an old Cabelas double a vise. It does really only one thing.....hold the hook. When a bunch of us were up at Trillium Lake fishing, OneTheFly was kind enough to show us how he ties his crystal wolly bugger. The first thing he did was pull out his Renzetti Traveler vise. That vise is a fly tying machine. I was astonished at the things he could do with it. I hope he responds to your post because he sure knows how to use that thing.

When I got home from the trip I told my wife I know what I want for Christmas. The vise I have cost about $12 and like I say it just holds the hook. (It is an improvement over having my grand kids hold the hook for me, they never could hold still long enought.):lol: That demo by OneTheFly sent me looking at full rotrary cam lever vises.

Check out the Griffin vices at Cabelas I saw one I like for $145 and another for a wee bit more. Perhaps I could talk my wife into a veterans day gift like the Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise;)

Cabela's -- Griffin Fly-Tying Vises
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i use the peak, and it totally serves me well. (i'm glad i jumped right into a rotary...)

the fixed distance of the jaws doesn't bother me a bit. it's lined up very close to the axis of rotation. but then, i mostly tie tube flies using an adapter, and most of my non-tubes are on #4s. i would think that if you're tying reeeally teeeeny flies, you're probably not going to use the rotary function anyways... i don't know coz i don't tie those.

features i like about the peak vise for the price: the jaws grip and lock very well, the rotary action is smooth and tension-adjustable, comes with a bobbin rest, vise-base and platform-base. and they have all kinds of acccessories, but i never needed them, so didn't look into it.

i was also checking out the danica and griffin when i was shopping. i think the danica is a bit "clunky" and didn't like the reviews on it's jaws. the griffin looked good, but i thought it was "too much vise" for what i needed. and i settled on the peak for it's simplicity and functionality. no regrets so far...

the renzetti definitely has better rep, and for the extra $45, might be better if you're concerned about the fixed position of the jaws on the peak. onthefly uses one, and jim knows his tools when it comes to fly fishing.

my 2 pesos...
Thanks for the comments guys!

OR, thanks for the thought, rust was something I never considered. Really, 16 years? the exact same vise?

Ninja, have you ever had any issues with rust? How about with the weight of the arm; do you have any trouble keeping the arm turned at a 90 degree angle? I really like the simple factor as well. It looks like there is simply nothing to break on it.

IR, The Montana Mongoose looks like a great vise, but I never really had it on the list because it more expensive than even the Renzetti, and it seems to me like you are paying for cool-factor. Still, I may have to give it a second look.
I have the Montana Mongoose, great vise. It comes with both the stand and the clamp. I wanted this to be the last vise I had to buy, can't imagine needing anything else!
I use my fathers old Hank Roberts C clamp style vise,,,,after seeing onthefly's renzetti,thats what ill be getting when i get more money.
Boy....... I've used a Thompson forever. It was cool when I bought it, and I still considered it cool..... till NOW!!!

It holds the hook and I rotate......
till NOW!!!

haha, I am sorry if I have encouraged unnecessary consumerism. That was certainly not the intention.
everett464 said:
Ninja, have you ever had any issues with rust? How about with the weight of the arm; do you have any trouble keeping the arm turned at a 90 degree angle? I really like the simple factor as well. It looks like there is simply nothing to break on it.

no issues with rust (so far) but i only tie in my living room... there's a knob to tighten the arm, and i have mine set just right so the arm can stay in whatever angle i need when tying... and i view my intruders from top and bottom and sides when i'm tying... then when i need to wrap dubbing or palmer hackle, i just loosen the tension and a merry-go-round i go.

i actually dropped the vise once when i leaned down to pick something up from the floor and accidentally dragged it by the bobbin (duh!). anyways, nothing broke nor bent (okay it was hardwood floor) and the half-tied fly stayed in the jaws...

hope that helps.
I can't really add to what some of you have already said about the Renzetti Traveler. I don't have much experience with other vices so I can't give an honest opinion of the differences between them. All I can say is that I've gotten very used to the way the Renzetti operates. It's very simple and built well. I like the thread cradle. The vinyl spacers between the rotation joints allows for smooth movement. I can see a need to lubricate these points once in awhile but I have yet to do it and I've been tying on it for years. The only thing I would change would be to lengthen the main shaft about a 1/2 inch so the clamp is slightly higher from the base. Although it is not a nuisance, and barely noticable, it would just give you a little more clearence between the base and the fly to move your hands around.
Completely agree...Renzetti Traveler all the way. Like OnTheFly said I can't add much to what has already been said except if you get one, you'll never look back.
The only thing I would change would be to lengthen the main shaft about a 1/2 inch so the clamp is slightly higher from the base. Although it is not a nuisance, and barely noticable, it would just give you a little more clearence between the base and the fly to move your hands around.

This is actually a concern that gets repeated in the reviews of nearly all the true-rotary vises I have researched, including the very high-end Dyna King Barracuda & NorVise vises.

I did not mention it because of the across-the-board nature of the complaint, but to the extent this thread gets used as a tutorial for future buyers, it is worth mentioning.

I know that PEAK sells a conversion that gives you some extra space, I am not sure about Renzetti or Odyssey. The Danvise has an adjustable shaft which allows you to get the spacing to conform to your preference. I don't know how high it goes.
everett464 said:
I know that PEAK sells a conversion that gives you some extra space...

yeah, peak has accessories...

but out of curiosity, i just measured my peak... and the distance from the tip of the jaws to the base is 8". that's plenty for me, coz i have small hands.
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