Tying height [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tying height

10-04-2003, 06:20 PM
I've been tying for a few years now, although not consecutively. One of the problems I'm having is finding a comfortable height for the vice when I'm tying. My desk has a table top of 30 inches and that puts the vice about mid chest level but I'm finding my back gets stiff just after 1/2 hour or so......

So what height or level on the body does everyone find comfortable for them?


Stu Farnham
10-04-2003, 09:05 PM
My tying desk has an adjustable-height shelf in front, and use an extension to position my vise out away from the shelf. This allows me to keep the vise very low. My upper arms are straight at my sides and my forearms are at about a 90 degree angle in front of me.

Zero strain on my back.

10-04-2003, 11:59 PM
That would explain why I've never found a comfortable height, I've never tried it that low, I will tomorrow though, thank you Stu, much appreciated.


10-05-2003, 07:01 AM
I use my son's old drum stool... which can be spun to countless different hights to suit . I never have to adjust the tying desk or the vise. Very comfortable. Used office furniture with the same type of adjustments works too.

10-05-2003, 05:53 PM
Having a tying position of the type that Stu describes is best for comfort at the tying bench. This is why I never use a pedestal base when tying at home. A clamp base allows you to adjust the vise up or down to also help get the vise to the most comfortable position.

Office chairs make great tying chairs: they are easy to adjust, have comfortable seats, and are easy on the back for hours.

If you position the vise as Stu does, you will be able to tie for hours (5,6,9+) in a day without back, shoulder, or arm pain. A.K. Best talks about using the same vise height in his book "Production Fly Tying". Virtually all folks who are or who have been commercial tyers have discovered to value of this vise height.

10-05-2003, 07:19 PM
I'm just amazed at this revelation, I've been tying for years and have only been able to tie for 30 min at a time, I've tried everything except lower... wow, I'm sure glad I asked.


Ronn Lucas
10-06-2003, 09:28 PM
I am a Dental Technician by trade and have been for about 40 years. So, I sit and do close work all day and then as a hobby tie flies which is also close work. I found that having my vise high is where it's most comfortable. My lab benches are high as is my tying bench at 23" high. I have had back problems as long as I can recall, even before getting into the trade. about fifteen years ago I got some fully adjustable chairs with adjustable arm rests. Now, I can tie or work with my elbows supported most of the time which takes a huge amount of the stress off my upper back.

I will tie most of the time with the hook just below chin level and sometimes almost eye level. I also find that adjusting the chair height or slant periodically will help eliminate discomfort when sitting a long time.

When you are looking down, you stress your neck and upper back muscles much more than when you keep your head and back straight. Just because a Tyer doesn't feel discomfort when he/she is younger does not mean that damage to the back and neck isn't occurring and that later in life, the trouble will increase. Unfortunately, I found this out late in life.

Happy Trails!

10-06-2003, 10:58 PM
Ron 23inches would be actually lower than what I'm now using, unless I mis understood you, (which wouldn't be a surprise).

I've found 26 1/2 inches is a comfortable height, tried it last night and tonight, I tied a dozen flies each night and feel pretty good.

Ronn Lucas
10-07-2003, 12:00 AM
33"! TYPO!!!! LOL High! Not 23"

Happy Trails!

Don Johnson
10-22-2003, 09:32 AM
For what it's worth, when sitting, the height of the table my vise system is on is at about 29 inches. However, most (probably 90%) of my tying is done from a standing position. I find that standing allows me to shift positions more frequently which helps relieve the stress and strain normally associated with sitting. I switched to tying while standing a few years ago and now hate the idea of having to sit while tying. It has at least doubled the amount of time I can comfortably be perched in front of my Nor-Vise.

Some may think foot and leg strain might become an issue, and it has in the past. A really good pair of shoes is a must or (and this is going to sound really weird) stand barefoot in a shallow box of pea gravel. It's like getting a foot massage and don't knock it 'til you try it.


10-22-2003, 10:05 AM
I also tye when standing.

10-22-2003, 10:49 AM
It's funny but I had a stand up desk in my job and used to go from my sit down to the standup fequently...

10-22-2003, 11:29 AM
I never thought about standing up, I've got my table top comfortable now but I may try another vice higher for a standing position, just for a change. Thanks for all the ad(vice).


10-22-2003, 05:51 PM

It is not the height of the table top that is miportant. Rather, it is the height of the vise's jaws. The table only needs to be high enough to get your knees under it comfortably.

10-22-2003, 08:47 PM
Years ago I built a bench that was just the right height to work at standing up. I did this on purpose. I find that when my back is really bothering me which seems to be more often these days that I get some relief standing at the bench. I also have a drafting chair that has a telescoping height adjustment which is OK most of the time. Another suggestion is a lap tray, like the cafeteria trays. I put my pedestal vice and just the materials and tools I need to tie a couple of dozen of the particular pattern Iím working on on the tray and then sit in the Lazy Boy, or a camp chair. And yet another suggestion. I find that if I have to reach very far over my working surface itís a strain on my back so I put my vice head about four inches back from the edge of the table and clamp it down with a C clamp so it wont move.