Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two new additions to the family.

With Santa's booty burning a hole in my pocket, I decided that some upgrades were in order. So here's what I got:

In case you missed it, Winter is upon us. And wintertime around here means tiny little midge patterns. I'm talking size 24 on down. Now the smallest I've tied up until now has been a size 20 with a lot of squinting and cursing. But no longer, as I've broken down and purchased a magnifying lamp.

It has 5X magnification and takes a standard lightbulb. What I really like about it is that its on a floor stand, on wheels. So when I want it I roll it over. When I'm done I just push it out of the way. That way it doesn't clutter up my desk and take room away from all my other clutter.

I picked it up at Lowes for $35 the other day, but saw that it's online now for $29 until sometime next year, er... month.  (Gonna see if I can get the difference.)

The difference it makes to tying those small patterns is amazing. I'm in a midge fly swap right now and I'm tying a size 24 olive pupa. I popped all twenty out in about a half an hour! (OK, maybe not that great of a feat, but remember that until the other day I was a little gun shy of anything under 20.)

Next on the list was a new vice. When I first started to tie, I bought a $13 vice off of eBay. All I know of it is that it says "Sunbeam" and "India" on the side of it. It was a good, sturdy little vice, but by now I really wanted to get a vice with a rotary action on it. Seemed like the next step up, right?

Disclaimer: Stole this pic from Orvis. 
So I checked around and found a Griffith's Spider vice at Cabela's. When I went to the store to check it out, the demo was broken. The rotary vice didn't rotate, and the hook jaws flopped open when loosened. I don't favor the idea of trying to hold the jaws in place while holding the hook in place to place it in the vice. So I left empty handed.

But at my local fly shop they had a Renzetti Apprentice, which is essentially what I already had (style-wise anyway) but with a rotating head. Suited my needs perfectly.

I'm still getting the knack of using the rotary function, but the vice is smooth and sturdy. This is a great little upgrade for anyone looking for a rotary vice but on a strict budget, or someone who is starting to tie but doesn't mind spending a bit extra for a quality product.

I would show a pic of my secret workshop, but I've been in a tying frenzy and it looks like a chicken coup exploded in my tying area.

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