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Cabela's Super AA 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?  1.67

 

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?  1.0

 

Vise fit and finish.  Is this a well finished product?  Did it communicate quality right out of the box?  1.67

 

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?  2.00

 

Vise stem finish, adjustability and length. Is the vise flexible in placement for a number of tiers and table heights?  2.33

 

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?  2.00

 

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.  N/A

 

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).  2.00

 

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?  1.67

 

Country where manufactured?  India

 

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1.73 Overall Rating

MSRP   $19.95

 

Jim's Comments - .Patterned after the venerable Thompson 'A' series, the house branded vises from Cabela's were something of an enigma. The Indian made vises came with no instructions; something I could have used on a couple of these tools. I field stripped each vise when it arrived and I'm certain that the jaws on the three Cabela's vises aren't made from any hardened type of material. They just have a 'soft' feel that you don't get with hardened jaws. That will probably leave them susceptible to fracturing if they get cranked down too hard. That said, they were able to grip most hooks with some serious knob tweaking. A little pre-tying tuning and most of these softer metal vises would be far easier to use than when you first took them out of the box. The C-clamp was quite uncomfortable to set up. The T-knobs were too small and bit into your fingers. Even after our testing, which was only a couple dozen flies with each vise, the push washer that indexes the cam lever, shows signs of wear. This is truly a beginners tool that you'll use a few times, to see if you have any interest in the hobby. If you do, you'll want to move on up to a better tool that has the expectation of tying more than a few dozen flies before needing to be repaired. The nice part is that it's priced like a beginners tool. Sport tune your Cabela's vise. I'll make a list of the hardware you need to purchase, to get each vise to work better. Not world-beating better, but better than when it comes out of the box. Start by taking the cam lever and rubbing the cam portion that contacts the push washer, on a piece of fine grit sandpaper. That will help even out any bumps and casting errors and let it index the push washer smoothly. Second, take the push washer that comes with the Super AA and pitch it. Purchasing a hardened steel washer of similar size will extend the life of the vise considerably.

Jim's Rating - 2.00

 

Joe's Comments - Like the other Cabela’s vises, the packaging on the Super AA doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Many vises come in simple brown corrugated cardboard boxes, but even their boxes look better than these. That said, this is a better vise than the Master. First of all, there isn’t any playing with the idea that there are changeable jaws. This is as it should be. At this price point this is a working tool. The vise has an ordinary C-clamp (watch out for surface damage on your tying table), an adjustable head and a fair quality set of jaws that hold the hook and are versatile enough for beginning tiers. Like the other Cabela’s products, there is no instruction sheet. That’s a shame because a one page printed text sheet would really help someone who’s struggling to tie their first fly and, perhaps, have never set up a vise before. Adjusting the collet was easier than with the Master and this vise seems to hold its setting better. Pot metal jaws mean a limited life of tying, but as a back-up or club loaner this is a useable tool. I used to own a Thompson Model A “back in the day” and I remember it being a much better vise than this, but it didn’t allow the head to rotate at all. At least this vise has some of that capability

Joe's Rating - 1.90

 

Mark's Comments - This vise is as simple as it gets, no features other then a material clip (spring), no instructions, no adjustability and no extra jaws. Cam design was rough and hard to clamp. Would I buy this? No way!! The only way I'd loan this vise out would be to my competition in a fly tying contest

Mark's Rating - 1.30

 

Editor's Note: Jim Stuard will be penning an article on how to "sport tune" this vise.  This feature will be coming shortly to Fly Fish Ohio.  Stay tuned to see if we can wring that last bit of performance out of this inexpensive vice.

Manufacturer's Comments -

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