vises-Smcdermott how do you like that Renzetti Traveler? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: vises-Smcdermott how do you like that Renzetti Traveler?

05-11-2002, 07:54 PM

I'm thinking about getting a vise, and I am considering the two you liked: the Renzetti Traveler($159) and the Dyna-King Kingfisher($99). I was prepared to really like the Renzetti, but I can't say that I did. I hate the fact that when you try to rotate the vice handle when you have it locked, the handle and all the adjustment knobs come unscrewed: what kind of system is that? I also thought the handle for the cam jaws was awkward to operate. Even with those problems, I'm still considering it.

I really liked the solid feel of the Kingfisher clamp mechanism--it reeks of fine craftsmanship--and it can rotate smoothly through 360 degrees though it is not a true rotary. However, a review knocked the hook grooves machined in the jaws as being a pain to use, and I don't like the fact that you can't unscrew the vise from the base for traveling.

I am also thinking about going budget with a 39$ Thompson. It seemed fine to me.

I would also welcome advice on all the accesories for fly tying I am considering:

hackle pliers
whip finisher
hair stacker
hackle gauge

and what basic materials to get for tying trout dry flies, and a good beginner's book.

05-11-2002, 08:36 PM
Give me a Dyna-King anyday over a Renzetti!! I have never been very impressed with the frail nature of the Renzetti nor the difficult of use and the less then perfect hook holding power.

I have yet to figure out what is so great about them....maybe someone could fill me in.

On other hand, the Dyna-King's are easy to use and hold a hook like no other vise. The Kingfisher is a great vise for the money and have not came across the problem you mentioned although I have only played aroudn with it and have never tied on it. If you are worried about that problem, pick up the Squire which runs about the same price as the Traveler.

Also, on the Kingfisher, the vise CAN be unscrewed from the base. That is how they ship 'em! :)

05-11-2002, 11:11 PM
Also, on the Kingfisher, the vise CAN be unscrewed from the base.

Well, that's good news. The one I saw didn't seem to have a clamping screw holding the vise to the base. I even went to their website, and the one in the picture they list is the same as the one I saw. Is the clamping screw under the base?

What differences are there between the Squire and the Kingfisher?

05-11-2002, 11:52 PM
I have a Renzetti Traveler and Renzetti Master. I keep the master at home and the traveler down the cape... but I stopped into Nauset Angler today and looked at the Anvil and Dynaking Kingfisher...both $99... I thought the Dynaking was better made and walked out with the Dynaking. I think it is a toss up between the Traveler and Dynaking... But less movable parts and the dyna King seem to be better made.

05-12-2002, 12:28 AM
Incorrect usage?

Sounds like you are not counterlocking the first threaded nut against the second. By adjusting these two, you get to set tension and lock it in. The rotary shaft turns with the tension you select from that point on. Takes 2 seconds and you won't need to touch it for years.

John, Apples and oranges...

The dynaking kingfisher is not a rotary vise although you can rotate the fly out of concentricity. Wrapping floss bodies for Spey flies is a job best left for the Renzetti. I doubt the super-jaw vises will help lay folded hackles onto french tinsel ribbing. Even palmering a hackle onto a woolly bugger comes out better with a true in-line rotary.

If we're comparing with the $329 Barracuda, that's another story...

Ryan - jaw strength...

I agree that jaw strength is better in Dynaking, Regal and other brands. I use the saltwater renzetti pedastal for stout wire hooks and don't have a problem with the jaws. As the instructions say: adjust the gap with the small thumbscrew so that the hook barely fits thru the gap; then tighten with the big thumbscrew. I am rarely applying enough tension to pull the hook out of position.

That being said, Renzetti should improve the jaw design / strength to remain competitive, I agree - but as far as in-line rotaries go it's design is quite simple compared to some true rotaries on the market - and we should be the ones to get them to do it!


05-12-2002, 02:30 AM

I figured out the counterlocking action between the two thumb screws which control the rotation resistance. That is all fine and good. But....if you then lock out the ability of the vise to rotate with another thumb screw elsewhere on the vise, and then mistakenly try to rotate the vise with the handle--instead of meeting with some tension that would make you realize that you needed to loosen the lock out thumb screw--the handle and the two thumb screws controlling rotation resistance come unscrewed at the slightest pressure. That requires resetting the rotation tension and counterlocking the two thumb screws again, unscrewing the lock out thumb screw to allow vise rotation, and then rotating the vise.

I thought the vise must be defective or set up wrong when that repeatedly happened to me when I was playing around with it, but I concluded that it was just poorly designed. The problem might still be operator error, I don't know enough about vises. I assume that when you don't need to rotate the vise, you lock it down so that it doesn't move while you are tying.

It seems to me that jaw strength is a non issue. All the vises seem way over engineered for holding power. I put a hook in the $39 Thompson and pushed on the end until it was bending and the hook did not move in the jaws.

How about the accessories? Anythings to be certain to avoid or designs that are especially nice?


What about this supposed hook fiddling problem with the Kingfisher? Did you find it easy to load hooks into the grooves in the jaws and adjust it for different sizes? Also, if you got the pedestal base, does the vice detach from the base? Finally, at the Dyna-King website, I can't figure out the differences as you go up in price. The Squire seems the same as the Kingfisher.

I agree with you about the Apex Anvil: it isn't well made.

05-12-2002, 08:09 AM

Had the Traveller since early 1990s at least. Been tying trout, salmon, steelhead, pike, bass, flies from 3/0 to size 14s. No problems what so ever with the Renzetti to date, no maintenance etc...

There may be better out there now but I don't think you will go wrong buying the Renzetti.

Not seen the Dynakings will see if my fly shop has them. Even if it looked good, you can only use one vise at a time, wish I could do two flies at once some times... :eyecrazy:

My .02 cents

Good luck

05-12-2002, 05:09 PM
I was looking at A.K. Best's Advanced Fly Tying book today, and he says a vice should be pointing at a 45 degree angle so you can hold your forearm and wrist along the clamp at that angle which makes it easier to hold material on the hook when tying it on. I noticed with the Renzetti Traveler that isn't possible--or for that matter with any true rotary vise--because the arm holding the clamp connects to the top of the clamp.

05-12-2002, 05:17 PM
Everyone's different, no wrong nor right. Each fly category is different too - big striper flies, classic salmon flies, trout flies - they all have different nuances in addition to the individual tying them. Sounds to me like you shouldn't buy a Renzetti!

I sure love mine.

05-12-2002, 06:03 PM
I've never tied a single fly, so I don't know what I should buy. I'm trying to figure out if any of these words of wisdom I read in books have any validity.

What about C-clamps v. pedestal types? It doesn't really make sense to me that a travel vise is the pedestal type since it's so much heavier.

Can anyone tell me what the Fly Fisherman Feb. 2002 issue said was the best vise in the $100-$150 range?

John Desjardins
05-13-2002, 09:08 AM
Newbie, I think that the article on vises was online @ If I remember correctly the Dan vise was best under $100 & I can't remember any other price ranges.

IMHO, the difference between a pedestal & C-clamp vise in use is flexibility. With a pedestal you don't worry about scratching up the edge of the table you are tying on and can have the vise in from the edge. It also allows you to stop tying 1/2 way through a fly and just move the vise to the side or put it up high out of the kids reach.

05-13-2002, 09:35 AM
If you've never tied a fly, consider paying $20-25 for your first may HATE fly-tying!

take a class, find a tying club or something similar in your area *BEFORE* plunking down any kind of change. A local shop/club should have a variety of vices for you to "test-drive" -- a MUCH better way to go....

my .02 cents


05-13-2002, 11:15 AM
My advice is to get a true rotary vise regardless of brand. You will find it much easier to tie with and easier to get started in tying flies. I had a thompson for my first vise and never really got into it. Hoiwever the day I brought home the renzetti I have been a tying fool ever since.


05-13-2002, 11:39 AM
It looks like this topic has been covered. I will just add that I have had no problems with the Renzetti and with the cam feature find no problem with the hook holding power. I can't say that I have used the rotary feature that much but it is nice to know that when I get to that level it is there.


05-13-2002, 11:47 AM
The Fly Fisherman website leaves out the key reviews for vises. Instead it says to see the February issue "on sale now", which of course none of the local fly shops carry anymore.

05-13-2002, 01:02 PM
I was just compareing the Anvil with the Dynaking... love the Traveler, but need to replace the Jaws with the Cam. Also... I can't think of a better Vice than the Renzetti ,especially the Master.. It's alot of money.. but I knew I would be tying for a while so went all the way. I did b te Traveler at first and will still use it... The Master ,as I said before, will stay at home.

05-14-2002, 12:44 AM
How does the true rotary function of a vise work in practice? Let's say I am going put some hackle on a fly. I tie it in, and now I decide to use the rotary function to wrap the hackle around the shank so the hackle doesn't twist (is it hard to keep it from twisting if you wrap it around the shank with hackle pliers?) I hang the bobbin on the bobbin hanger, and I start rotating the fly to feed the hackle onto it. What happens to the thread? Won't it twist around the fly too (or untwist)?

If you have a vise with a C-clamp isn't it a little awkward tying at the edge of a table with nothing underneath the vise? Is stability with a pedestal a big problem?

John Desjardins
05-14-2002, 09:22 AM
Okay a couple of answers:

The top choices in the $100-200 range in the fly fisherman article were the Dynaking ??? (Grr my memory deserted me) and the HMH Spartan.

Stability with a pedestal vise hasn't been a problem for me. I used a Cabelas base on a cheap import vise for ~ 10 years until I replaced it with a Renzetti traveller cam on a pedestal last year. Neither one gave me a stability problem, though after for the last couple of years hooks did pop out of the cheap vise under heavy tension.
If I had to do it again I would still start out with a cheap vise.

What the rotary vise does when putting hackle on is it allows you to see where the hackle is being put down. With out the rotary 1/2 of the hackle is put on the fly where you can not see it. Here is a link ( to a thread last year on the topic.

05-14-2002, 12:32 PM
Thanks for the great link on the rotary thread. I wish some of the local shops carried the HMH Spartan so I could check it out. It's supposed to have great "hook access" for smaller flies. Has anyone with a Renzetti Traveler tied small trout flies? Is "hook access" a problem? How about with the Dyna-King Kingfisher?

05-15-2002, 02:45 AM
I finally purchased a vise. I didn't go with the Renzetti or the Dyna-King. I decided to go with the best of the best:

05-15-2002, 06:45 AM
Cool, marvelous bit of canuck engineering there I must say.

You know what I bet it works. I tied a lot of flies with first vice a Thompson A which is still sold. Really don't need a super elaborate one for basic flies IMHO.


05-15-2002, 10:18 AM
That item is more geared to the small electronics world, advertised in catalogs as such, so forth...if that guy on ebay can sell that to someone as a fly vise, though it's universal applications are evident - more power to him.

05-27-2002, 05:16 AM
I ended up purchasing a Renzetti Traveler(cam) with a pedestal base. The rotary function is nice just to clip material and check proportions. I realized after a couple of days, I hadn't really used the rotary function, so I put some ribbing on with it--nice and easy and no switching hands on every wrap. Also, the whole problem with locking out the rotary function I mentioned doesn't seem to be relevant: why do you ever need to lock it out? You can still use it like a stationary vise when its in rotary mode. So, my initial impressions were very good.

However, now I am starting to have some problems. When I am tying, I always rub against the knob that locks out the rotary movement and it comes unscrewed and falls out. It's no big deal since I haven't found a need to lock out the rotary movement, so I unscrewed the knob and put it aside. The biggest problem I am having is with the hook size adjustment knob. It's right near the point of the jaws and always seems to get in the way of my thumb when I am trying to place and tie in materials. I also catch my thread on the knob sometimes. I don't understand why both those knobs aren't on the back of the vise instead: you could still reach them easily with either hand, and then they wouldn't be in the way.

I've been tying size 16's and I can't imaging trying to place material on smaller hooks with the hook size adjustment screw in the way of my thumb. Does anyone have similar problems? Any solutions?

05-29-2002, 12:11 AM
Renzetti said they sell the left handed shafts for the vises for $18. If you put that on a right handed model the adjustment knobs on the clamp will be on the back of the vise, and everything else will be the same. If you order a right handed vise, I recommend asking them to swap you a left handed shaft.

I can't believe they don't sell them like that to begin with.

05-29-2002, 05:25 PM
I was looking at a left handed Renzetti Traveler today, and I realized that a right handed Traveler with a left handed shaft is actually identical to a left handed model, so if you are right handed I recommend you get a left handed model, and if you are left handed, I recommend you get a right handed model. When you set it up with the vice properly orientated--presto!--the knobs will all be on the back and out of your way and everything else will be the same.

05-29-2002, 05:38 PM
Hmm I do not have the problem you are experiencing. The adjustment knob is really small and the lever to tighten the jaws is underneath so it is not a problem. Do you have the screw clamp or the lever cam type. I guess I could see a problem if you have the screw tension knob instead of the lever.

Putting them in back would not make adjusting the thing all that easy. I can tie down to 28s if I wanted to without a problem of things getting in the way.


05-29-2002, 11:21 PM
I have the cam version and the lever to close the jaws is not a problem, and I don't think the screw version would be a problem either because that screw is away from the jaw tips. Even though the size adjustment knob is small, it's positioned near the tip of the jaws, and if you look at A.K. Best's new book "Advanced Fly Tying" he has a chapter on hand position, and there is no way you can get your hand in the proper position with the screw in the way. Now, I don't know anything about hand position because I am a beginner, but that screw gets in my way when I try to place materials, and it catches my thread sometimes. With the knob on the back of the jaws, I think it's just as easy to adjust the hook size with either hand, and if you feel that's awkward, you can always use the rotary function and rotate the vise to adjust the knob. I don't think adjusting for hook size is a big deal however it's done, and I'd rather have an easier time tying.

Anyway, I just want the next person who is considering buying a Traveler to consider the option of buying an opposite hand model, so that when it's orientated for their dominant hand, the knobs will be on the back making the front of the jaws a smooth surface and improving hook access. Maybe when I get more experienced placing material I will be able to work around the screw, but right now for me it's a problem, and I noticed it my very first time tying, so I thought I'd post what my experience was.

You tie down to 28's??!! Wow! I can't imagine that. What size thread do you use? I saw some pros using 14/0 they say is as strong as 6/0, and they were using it on #4 hooks.

05-30-2002, 01:50 AM
I meant 24s with 10/0 thread and that was pushing my tying abilities for some micro midges I was trying to match. Come to think of it they never worked. I think the standard jaws on the traveller are too bulky to do a 28 but I think they sell midge jaws that would work for a 28. I have yet to read AKs book so my hand position is probably way wrong but I get the job done(depending who you ask).

The lowest I go for trout patterns is a 20 but I try and get away with 18s and bigger as I hate trying to thread tippet on those size 20s to the hook. That is an art in itself:rolleyes: .


05-30-2002, 07:16 AM
I would think with a size 28, you could use some olive thread and put one fiber of dubbing on it, take one wrap of thread, then use a half hitch to finish, and tell people it's a blue winged olive with a z-lon shuck tail, duck quill wings, and medium dun hackle.

"I hate trying to thread tippet on those size 20s to the hook. That is an art in itself."

You think thats hard?! You should try to get your tippet through the eye of a size 16 I've tied--with all the smashed hackle covering the eye there isn't much of a prayer. I've tried cutting it away with an exacto knife but I always cut my thread. I wonder if you can burn it off, or will my whole fly go up in smoke?