Published Oct 16. 2017 - 6 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 16. 2017

Tom’s complete vise project

The continuation of Tom Biesot's vise project - of course with many explanatory pictures.

The (almost) complete project.
The (almost) complete project.
Tom Biesot

As a result of publishing my article Tom's Vise on the Global FlyFisher site, I have had many positive comments on the design of the vise and the combination of the different materials such as tropical hardwood, aluminum, and stainless steel. Also the carbon fiber jaws and the philosophy behind them have led to many positive discussions. Here you can read the continuation of the project in a new article, of course with many explanatory pictures.

Expanding the vise

At the end of the article "Tom's vise", I already wrote that I wanted to expand the vise in the near future with some useful accessories to make my fly tying more pleasant and to complete the project. I have enjoyed reading the article by Martin Joergensen Pimp your vise, because with accessories you can go far! The last fall and winter months I've been busy with the sketches and drawings that I had made in the past and turning them into designs and then manufacturing the accessories. The aim was to make all accessories in style with the vise, both in design and the materials used.

The following is a list of the accessories that I wanted to add to my vise:

  • Rotating bobbin holder rest (cradle)
  • Gallows attachment and material spring
  • Small rotating waste basket
  • Set of tying tools
  • Custom designed bobbin holder
  • Small tying light/lamp

There is a lot more that you can choose and make as you can read in the article Pimp Your Vise, but I have tried to be realistic and have chosen the things that I need the most for tying flies on my vise, and to complete the project for me.
As you already know by now, I always start by making drawings for the things I make. This way I can see how things relate to each other and if the scale is right. Most of the time is needed for designing all the tools to match the design of the vise with the use of the same materials.

The rotating bobbin rest (cradle)

This is an accessory, which I use a lot for tying flies. It is very convenient to hang the bobbin holder over the cradle while creating a body or wrapping a hackle.
Most cradles that you can buy, rotate around the vertical shaft of the vise, but I have chosen a rotation point under the tying head. This allows the cradle to turn more than 90 degrees to the left and right, should there be a need for this during tying. The wooden thread holder can slide over the stainless steel wire by releasing the screw. An O-ring on the "Rulon" shaft provides the necessary friction, so that it remains in the desired position.

The bobbin rest (cradle)
Bearing hole for the bobbin rest
Base plate
Rulon shaft
Adjustable wooden thread holder
Tom Biesot

Gallows attachment and material spring

This is a well-known accessory for tying parachute flies. To fasten the gallows onto the horizontal shaft, I had to make a threaded hole in it. During the design of the vise, this was already taken into account. The gallows is bent from stainless steel wire. For a good fit on the horizontal shaft, some material is removed at the bottom to create a nice fit on the shaft. A piece of silicone tube is pushed over the foot to prevent damage to the shaft. The curved end of the gallows is equipped with a stainless steel spring and a small hook for attaching tying material a clamp or a tying loop.
Under the screw we can place a material spring for temporarily holding the tying material.

Complete gallows construction
Gallows foot
Threaded hole for the clamping screw
Little spring and hook at the gallows end
Material removed for a better fit on the shaft
Detail of the foot
Gallows and material clip
Tom Biesot

Small rotating wastebasket

To keep the tying area descent, a small waste basket is very handy. I made mine rotating around the vertical shaft of the vise. So you can quickly rotate it sideways when it is not needed. It is not only rotating but also collapsible, as you can see on the pictures, so it is easy to put it away in the storage box after tying. The cotton inlay was made by my wife, partially with a sewing machine and by hand. It took a lot of patience to make it fit into the aluminum frame.

Wastebasket parts
Fabric inlay
The finished collapsible waste basket
Waste basket turning around the vertical shaft
Detail of the hinge mechanism
Waste basket turned away vertically
Tom Biesot

Set of fly tying tools

About 12 years ago, I already made my first set of fly tying tools that I have used with pleasure (see the picture). But for my new vise I decided to make a new set of tools that matched the design. The base plate and the handles are also made of Zebrano wood. The set consists of a rotating hackle pliers, needle , bobbin threader, rotating dubbing twister and a non-rotating whip finisher. I don’t like rotating whip finishers, but that is a personal choice.

Old tools
New tools
Tom Biesot
Rotating hackle pliers

Rotating dubbing twister

Dubbing needle or bodkin

Bobbin threader

Non-rotating whip-finisher

Bobbin holder

For this bobbin holder I have made my own design, trying to match the overall look of the vise. And I am pleased with it. I made a couple of try-outs with the use of the computer before I had a nice design with a very smooth special drag system. The shape of the bobbin holder is made specially for my hand size (see the picture), so it feels comfortable in my hand. The tube has ceramic ends on both sides and can easily be replaced for a longer or a totally ceramic tube due to its design. For the drag system I opted for a smooth and fine adjustable disc system. The Zebrano end plate makes it complete.
The bobbin holder in the pictures has the conventional way of holding the bobbin, but during the design of the bobbin holder and the drag system I developed a new concept for holding the bobbin. Because I wanted to share this prototype bobbin holder with you, I am preparing a new article in the very near future that is called "Tom’s bobbin holders". In that article I will also show in more detail the disc drag system that I made for this one and for the new concept prototype. The new concept looks strange and is totally different in how to hold the bobbin and is very comfortable in use! So when you are interested, keep visiting the Global FlyFisher site.

Detail of the disc drag system
Bobbin holder with Zebrano end plate
The foam grips and the disc drag system
Made to fit my hand size
Bobbin holder
Tom Biesot

Small Tying light/lamp

When I am tying at home it is always in the same spot behind my desk. On my desk I have an adjustable lamp that I use, this one has a plug for 220V power supply. But when I have to make flies on another location , I can’t take that lamp, it is not convenient. After reading the article DIY Led lamps by Martin Joergensen, I came up with the idea to design a small USB lamp that get its power from a small power bank! After trying out the burning time of the light on the power bank of 700 mA, I found out that after 48 constant hours the lamp was still burning. So very suitable to take to my club or to a tying demonstration, no more searching for a power supply. In the Zebrano lamp base I glued a USB cable (female), in which an IKEA USB lamp plug fits, so all parts are removable and easy to transport. The lamp is in style with the overall design.

The desk lamp with the power bank
Detail of the female connector
Standard female USB connector
Detail of the foot of the lamp
Tom Biesot

In the base of the lamp are 2 recesses in which 2 special tools have their place, namely a brush for combing out dubbing or hair and a drying rack for just-made flies. Because the IKEA lights have a curved lens that can have nasty reflections of light into your eyes at certain viewing angles, I have eliminated them by making a shade on the light that is in style with the design, namely of Zebrano. The shade is removable.

The brush
The removable drying rack
Power bank
The shade
Lamp details
Tom Biesot

Fly tying toolbox

After making all the accessories for the vise I found that the complete set is not easy to store and to transport. After a search along many shops and on internet I found a beautiful box made of bamboo wooden strips with a fabric inlay. My wife has made covers for each component made of a strong felt. This box is probably going to be replaced by a home-made box in the future, but that is a new project for the future. (The never ending story?)

Nice felt covers
A wooden box
The box is lined
Tom Biesot

450 hours of work

This whole project has taken approximately 450 hours of work on my attic. People ask me for what price I will sell it? My answer is always: I don’t make this to sell it, but when you have 5000 Euro to spend, I will think about it – once I have retired from my day job.
I hope that you can appreciate the end result of the complete project as much as I do.


Fly fishing...

I knew that my former colleque from Fokker at Ypenburg, was able to make beautiful things with his machines, but this I have never seen. My very big compliments. And it is worth te price he can get for it. There is no alternative.


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