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Rotating vices

The advantages of a truly rotating vise

By Martin Joergensen

Most people who have tied on a rotary vice will agree that it has some advantages over the non-rotating or not true rotary vice.
  • You can rotate the fly as you wish to inspect it from all sides
  • You can easily turn the fly to get any tie in side facing upwards - not only over or underside of the hook - making it easier to place and secure almost any material.
  • You can turn the jaws to better tighten or - more important - untighten the hook holding mechanism which is often hard to grip properly.


Many vices like the Regal can be tipped or mounted to become true rotary - or almost so

Tipping the true rotary vice like the Waldron vice shown here will give even better access to the hook, but unable the vice to rotate along the hook's axis.
Apart from that the rotary vice should easily be able to do whatever a non-rotary vice can do: hold the hook in the position that you set it and keep it there. Some of the true rotary vices can be tipped like many of the non-rotating ones. They will then loose the ability to rotate the hook truly, but if you want to get the hook higher or get more space behind the hook, it is achievable this way.

Contrary to what many non-rotating people think, the vice will not rotate when you apply force to the tying thread or materials. The torque applied so close to the axis of rotation has no effect on the fairly heavy mechanism of the vice unless it's running on ball bearings and the fly is very thick. On some of the special vises with very smooth and easy running rotation mechanisms this might be the case, but on any rotary vice you should just lock the mechanism and completely be able to avoid this problem.

Many of the vices on the market have adjustment possibilites for a somewhat true rotary position. This applies to some Regal vices and A.K.Best's vice. Even though they were not made for a hook axis rotation, they can be used as such. But often the lack of space and certain construction details make them awkward to work with in the horizontal position.
A vice like the Regal can also be difficult to rotate with the non-tying hand, because there's no lever or handle away from the tying space.

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