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Thompson Pro Vise

First Impressions.  Did the vise come in an attractive package?  Was it well packed and would the packaging serve as storage for the vise?  3.17

 

Directions, literature, parts lists and documentation?  Does this vise come with a set of directions that explain care and maintenance of the product?  Are there illustrations of the parts in case you need to order an accessory or replace a missing part?  Are there well written directions explaining calibration and set-up of the vise?  2.83

 

Vise fit and finish.  Is this a well finished product?  Did it communicate quality right out of the box?  2.00

 

C-Clamp quality:  Is the clamp well designed?  Did the clamp provide a solid, immobile mounting system for the vice?  Did it remain tight through a long session of tying?  Did it mark, or have the potential to damage the surface of the table to which it's clamped?  2.33

 

Vise stem finish, adjustability and length. Is the vise flexible in placement for a number of tiers and table heights?  3.00

 

Smoothness of operation of vise jaws.  Were they easy to open and close?  Are the jaws easy to calibrate for various hooks?  Do the jaws remain in the calibrated position or is it necessary to readjust the jaws after a few flies?  1.67

 

Rotation and adjustability.  Is the vise capable of rotating?   If so, was the rotating mechanism smooth and robust?   Use N/A if this vise doesn’t feature rotability.  1.0

 

Jaw grip, hold and clearance.  Does the vise hold the hook stable under both vertical and horizontal pressures?  Is there access to tie on any type of hook in the normal size range?  Can it reliably hold different sizes of hooks?  All vises must hold a minimum of size 20 to 2/0 to rate a 4 or better unless they are purposed designed and labeled as being designed for a specific hook size (tube, midge or saltwater, for instance).  2.33

 

Accessories. Is the vise capable of being customized with a bobbin cradle, material clip, background card, parachute tool, waste receptacle, etc.?  A good vise should have a material clip included as part of its design. 2.00

 

Reviewer’s Choice.  There is no category for this.  This is a gauge of “goose-bump” factor.  Did you like this vise?  Could you forget about the tool and do the job?  2.00

 

Country where manufactured? 

 

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TO SUMMARY PAGE

 

2.28 Overall Rating

MSRP   $16.99

 

Jim's Comments - I'll get right to the point. I expected a bit more from one of the oldest names in fly tying vises. As a sort of control, I tied on Joe's Thompson B model vise from the early 60's. You could jack your car up with that cast iron behemoth (yes Martha, I said CAST IRON) and afterwards, bring it in and tie a dozen Adams. The jaws were bulletproof and, even after tying what must have been thousands of dozens of flies, the action was smooth and the operation simple and easy.  But I digress. The modern day Pro Vise is actually the better of the two Thompsons I tied on. Mostly because it has fewer parts. There will be more on that in the Model A vise review. The jaws toed in at the tip so you had to put the hook in the same place, every time you chucked it up, with very little room for error. Otherwise, the hook would just slide around due to the jaws not being parallel. There was a fairly fine enough thread on the draw collet collar to make for fine adjustments to hold the hook, but you had to keep adjusting it even on identical hooks. The cam adjustment is a stamped piece of steel held in place with a peened rivet, which is not removable. I didn't like that feature at all. Even the Pakastani/Indian vises had removable jaws. There is no rotation on this vise but I don't consider that a drawback on an inexpensive tool. With the current manufacture, if this vise had a bit more quality control, I think it would have scored considerably higher. Add to that, the fact that the c-clamp doesn't have any cork or foam to protect table tops and you come up with a so-so product. It does the job but just barely.

Jim's Rating - 2.65

 

Joe's Comments - This vise couldn't hold a hook if superglue were involved.  The jaw tips are pointed inward like tweezers, meaning if you push the hook bend just a little too deep into the jaws the hook will slide around. I hope this isn't a deliberate design "feature" and is just indicative of a defective piece that made it through quality control.  This is unacceptable, especially from a name that is such an icon in the industry.  The adjustments for the jaw size were quite 'fiddly' and refused to hold a setting for more than one or two flies.  After tying three size 4 Clousers I was ready to find a well-stocked bar and consider the finer points of a golf swing.  I'll confess right now, I'm probably being too harsh on this vise but I expected the same level of performance that I've enjoyed since 1968 on my original Model B - perhaps with some refinements.  I'm disappointed.

Joe's Rating - 1.60

 

Mark's Comments - The Thompson A is a simple, yet effective, fly tying vise. It's nothing fancy, but it would work fine for most folks.  The cam is smooth but the rotary is weak at best and not very user friendly. The jaws hold just fine and the packaging is effective
to store and travel with.  This vise has some simple directions included, so kudos for that.

Mark's Rating - 2.60

 

 

Manufacturer's Comments -

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