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Hi all! I am trying to get an idea of what everyone thinks are the very best tools money can buy for fly tying; scissors, bobkins, stackers, vices, etc. I am also curious what kind of tools other tiers use; do you use a stacker or not? Do you use a whipfinisher or not? Things like that. Any unique tools that you just love? Hopefully we’ll get a good number of replies and then I will summarize it at the end.
 

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RITE bobbin Love

Love these very versitile, I use many sizes of threads and it is easy to set tension

Hi all! I am trying to get an idea of what everyone thinks are the very best tools money can buy for fly tying; scissors, bobkins, stackers, vices, etc. I am also curious what kind of tools other tiers use; do you use a stacker or not? Do you use a whipfinisher or not? Things like that. Any unique tools that you just love? Hopefully we’ll get a good number of replies and then I will summarize it at the end ☺
 

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My standbys are my Thompson A vise and some German made scissors with large finger holes have served me well for just over 40 years. Since I learned to resharpen scissors, the only reason I might need to replace them is if I lost them. Never have owned a whip finisher, and not sure I'd know how to use one if I had one. A friend gifted me a high falutin' bodkin needle, but even just yesterday I was using my same ole "bodkin" that began life as a $0.15 high school dissecting needle. It has a wooden dowel handle and works every bit as well as its higher priced brethren. I have and use an aluminum stacker that is very functional that was nominally priced, and I don't know how I got along without it. I tie with an old Matarelli bobbin that remains as good as the higher priced ones I've obtained subsequently. With regards to most fly tying tools, I don't think any one is the "best," but I do wonder if some hackle pliers might be better than others, and for what specific application, because I have several, and none are perfect, although they all work.

Sg
 

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I'm a big fan of Dr. Slick stuff (sorry for the plug) They are a bit pricey I figure but they last a long time. I have a cheap whip finisher that I've had since day one of tying. I also use a hair stacker (I guess when stacking hair) Not good at doing it any other way.
 

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Nor Vise and the auto bobbins that go along with it!!!
 

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The tools:

Bobbins: std brass & steel (generic), and lined brass & steel (generic)

Scissors: sharp pointed curved surgical 'iris' scissors; and Metzenbaum surgical scissors

Darning Needle:

Round section tapered steel micro file

Bodkins: 2 x generic

Dental scraper: angled diamond 'shovel' tip

Bobbin threaders: brass & steel loop (generic); and custom x 5 nylon loops

Forceps: std fine surgical, grip jaws; offset forceps, smoothe jaws

Surgical needle holders (Mayo-Hegar or similar, 5") - sub for hackle clamp

Dubbing Spinner: brass, generic

& not shown:

Sharpie pens
Std nail varnish (& thinners)

Vice: Lawrence Waldon (LAW) vice

Good overhead daylight lamp (tube)
 

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Nor Vise and the auto bobbins that go along with it!!!
Love the bobbins but don't have the vise. I do have a rotary vise though but the spinning of dubbing on the Norvise is something else. If I were starting out and could afford it, I would get this vise. I particularly enjoy the bobbins when spinning deer hair as I don't have to continually wind up the thread after each clump of hair as the Norvise bobbins do so automatically.
I use a hair stacker on occasion and whip finish by hand. Anvil scissors work fine for me as I'm able to keep them in my hand while I'm tying and don't have to keep picking them up or looking for them.

This should be an interesting thread.
 

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i too have a nor vise (20 years old), the only reason i keep it is because it holds a hook well, I could care less about all the fancy spinny nonsense. I dont like the nor bobbins either. I have several pairs of dr slick (my only extravagance) scissors for cutting different materials, no name cheap bobbins, and whatever else random stuff I have found along the way... It holds a hook. it holds thread. it cuts feathers, etc. I tie A LOT but dont put too much thought on the little things I prefer to save my money for the hooks and what goes on them. lots of DIY stuff on my bench, bodkin is a dart that i hit on the grinder, dubbing brush is a pen that I wrapped with sticky velcro, for a couple years i used thread to hold a bullet weight onto the straight part of a shank to use as a dubbing twister, etc. money is for feathers!
 

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I have a lot of tying tools. Ninety percent don't come out of the tool drawers. The tools I would not go without are:

The best scissors I can afford.
Good hackle pliers.
Bodkin.
A good vice.

I tie on an HMH Presentation vise. Unfortunately it is on the way back to HMH for new jaws. Thirty years of tying has taken its toll but HMH is rebuilding it under warranty! I have a Regal coming to hold me over until the HMH returns to service.

Everything else just stays in the bins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Variety is the spice of life. I see it also holds up for preferences in regards to fly tying tools; from very spartan approaches to some pretty fancy set-ups. Looks like there are quite a few of you that like the automatic bobbin holders from Norvise, and good scissors… Mike, it looks like your tools should come with a nurse to hand them to you! :hihi: Let's here some more ideas on favourite fly tying tools guys. Cheers.
 

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My most important tool i guess is this, a pair of revlon cuticle nippers. These allow you to trim butt ends right up against the thread without cutting it, or cut anything extremely close with no threat of slicing anything that shouldn't be (like razor blade), lets you really get in there on up eye hooks too so it is my favourite.

 

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Are you a surgeon, or something?

Very nice kit!

Laid out like a surgical kit!













The tools:

Bobbins: std brass & steel (generic), and lined brass & steel (generic)

Scissors: sharp pointed curved surgical 'iris' scissors; and Metzenbaum surgical scissors

Darning Needle:

Round section tapered steel micro file

Bodkins: 2 x generic

Dental scraper: angled diamond 'shovel' tip

Bobbin threaders: brass & steel loop (generic); and custom x 5 nylon loops

Forceps: std fine surgical, grip jaws; offset forceps, smoothe jaws

Surgical needle holders (Mayo-Hegar or similar, 5") - sub for hackle clamp

Dubbing Spinner: brass, generic

& not shown:

Sharpie pens
Std nail varnish (& thinners)

Vice: Lawrence Waldon (LAW) vice

Good overhead daylight lamp (tube)
 

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Vise and Tools

I use the following vise and tools:
Nor-Vise and the Nor-Vise automatic bobbin.
Scissors: Doc Slick
Hair stackers: one is a generic one for small flies and the other is Chris Helm's magnum stacker for bigger flies
Pat Cohen's deer hair packer
Marc Petitjean Tools
Ultimate dubbing brush
Nuwave fly turner for drying epoxy flies
 

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I have a ton of tools, but probably use less than half of them on a regular basis. Here are the essentials:

Vises - Renzetti Master and HMH
Ceramic bobbins
Dr. Slick scissors
A couple different kinds of hackle pliers (for different uses)
Tube fly needle
Bodkin
Matarelli whip finisher
Hair stacker
Small comb
Tweezers with bent tips
 

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No doubt about it. My old Regal vice and my Opti-visor which magnifies enough so that I can see. Even with my Opti-visor and glasses, I often reach for a magnifying glass.

Mark
 

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I still use and like the old Matarelli bobbins and whip finish tools that I've had forever. Also like the Cal Bird dubbing loop tools (blessings to Cal). Still have my old Thompson A and Crest vises for nostalgia reasons. Have a Regal Inex with replaced jaws that is almost new and never used. My Dyna King Trekker is my workhorse vise. Really like it.
 

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Someone once said to me that if you are happy when you are making things, that happy vibe goes into whatever it is that you are making. While any old reel will hold your line there is something to be said about fishing and playing a fish from a nice reel. When you enjoy taking the time to challenge yourself to tie nice flies even the lowly bodkin can be a nice tool that brings a smile to your face.

I kind of like these bodkins ;)


 

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2 x Ralfish bodkins and a fancy pair of scissors are what i spend money on. I could use better hackle pliers but don;t know what that would be. I also love my Marc Petitjon clips for making different dubbing type loops.
 
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