I posted this on the striper archive, but since they are made in the PNW I will post it here too
We have all seen Norm work his magic at the shows. Anyone out there buy one? How do you like it? What's good/bad? I have always wondered how it would work for someone else.
I have seen Norm use his vise many times. I have also seen Alec Jackson (whom I know pretty well) use it many time. Alec uses no other vise, in fact, he has not used another vise since Norm began making it some 20 years ago. Also keep in mind that neither Alec nor Norm tie anything other than fairly simple flies. In fact, both have told me that they are surprised that others consider them to be good tyers because they cannot tie speys, G.P's, spun deer hair flies, New England streamers,or full dressed feather wings.
I have tied on it and do not like it for several reason: 1) it is a pain to get working room under the hook when you turn the fly over; 2) the vise shank gets in your way when doing some tying operations like tying in body veilings and tags; 3) it is are too easy to push the free-wheel rotary lock back off its stop when needing it to be stationary; 4) you cannot stop the fly at any point in the rotation and lock it there like you can with Renzetti, DynaKing, and other quality rotary vises; 5) hooks larger than #2 standard wire salmon irons can't be inserted in the jaws without springing the jaws; and 6) hooks smaller than #14 trout hooks are not held very well by the jaws.
The advantages: 1) if you tie flies that do not have body vielings or tags, you can simply sipn the vise jaws and watch the material magically wrap onto the hook; 2) the flick of the fingers jaw spin makes tying wool, dubbed, or herl bodies a snap; 3) wrapping hackles takes the same simple flick of the fingers (you have to be careful and stop the rotation before you get to the end of the hackle); 4) wrapping lead on a hook is very fast; and 5) wrapping underbodies is also very fast.
For me, the advantages do not outweight the disadvantages. It is a very nicely made vise though.
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