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Danica DanVise

First Impressions.  Did the vise come in an attractive package?  Was it well packed and would the packaging serve as storage for the vise?  3.33

 

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?  4.00

 

Vise fit and finish.  Is this a well finished product?  Did it communicate quality right out of the box?  3.33

 

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?  5.00

 

Vise stem finish, adjustability and length. Is the vise flexible in placement for a number of tiers and table heights?  4.33

 

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?  4.00

 

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.  4.67

 

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).  4.33

 

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. 4.33

 

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?  4.00

 

Country where manufactured?  

 

 

4.13 Overall Rating

MSRP   $80.00

 

Jim's Comments -  This is clearly the 'stealthy' dark-horse of this review. I have to admit, I had done some reading on the DanVise and some of the things people were saying about it weren't flattering. They didn't like the way the jaws sometimes fractured. This vise was puzzling in its array of unfamiliar parts included in the standard outfit. There's a bag with springs, presumably for a material clip. There was an extra piece of phenolic casting that turned out to be the left hand/upside down head mounting. - arguably, the best accessory for this vise is the DVD that accompanies it. Al Beatty, the U.S. distributor sits down with the vise to show you exactly how each part works. It clears up any confusion you may have. I recommend watching the video before tying your first fly. It isn't well produced, (don't quit your day job, Al!) but it gets the job done. I'm also guessing that the reason people were fracturing jaws was they were tensioning hooks far beyond the jaws breaking point. Mr. Beatty spends quite a bit of time explaining exactly how to install a hook in the vise. It works. Also, the set screw on the head isn't as smooth as it could be, but will probably soften up over time. - I absolutely love the rotation tension adjustment. It's just two knobs held together that index against the two ball bearings in the shaft housing. A very clean, easy to use, adjustment; although I had to be shown, by the video, how it works. The bobbin cradle is versatile (you can use it as a parachute tool, as well) but lacks greater tension to make it stay put. The set knob needs to be a larger diameter than the shaft it's attached to, in order to be able to crank down on the knob. Otherwise, the cradle has a tendency to slowly lower while in use. The video explains how the extra phenolic casting can be used to switch the vise from right to left-hand use, as well as creating a situation where you can invert the vise for tying inverted flies such as Clouser minnows. Overall this is a great vise for the money and a wonderful traveling tool, since it weighs significantly less than any of the other vises. You have to get over the psychological hurdle that plastic tools aren't as good as metal ones. The phenolic resin is pretty tough stuff and holds up well. The c-clamp is one of the best designs I've ever seen. This vise gets my vote for best value, for the money.

Jim's Rating - 4.10

 

Joe's Comments - This vise took me completely by surprise. I wasn’t sure about the high-tech phenolic construction and black "stealth" finish. From a distance I started thinking about beauty being more than skin deep and how, perhaps, this tool didn't have the performance to back up its Star Wars serious looks.  I was wrong! What a deal this turned out to be! This vise can do what a fly tying vise should do, which is hold the hook and let you do anything you want to it. I could live with this vise and not complain a bit. I LOVE the c-clamp design. Great "out of the box" thinking!  And where most manufacturer's are loath to include a single printed page in direction, the Danvise includes a DVD!  Hooray for Hollywood!  I'm thinking this might be the bargain in the group.  For less than a Franklin you get a whole lot of performance!

Joe's Rating - 3.80

 

Mark's Comments - The Danvise what quite different than most vises we tested since, when I picked up the box, I thought it was partially empty.  It was so light!  But the vise was there and in it's almost all high strength space age plastic.  The vise was surprisingly light, (major kudos here) and the adjustability of the vise and it's operational smoothness and easy rotary design are among the best of any I've tested. The jaws are very pointed and the cam design is simple but very effective. This one is the winner - hands down - for me! Lots of good thinking was put into the design   And I love the C-clamp!

Mark's Rating - 4.50

 

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Manufacturer's Comments -

The Danvise, how the distributor evaluates it -

We'd like to add our thoughts to those of the reviewers on the Fly Fish Ohio web site. Overall we cannot disagree with any of their comments but can offer a couple of thoughts regarding the positives and negatives of this vise.

First, the reason we agreed to distribute the vise here in the USA is we felt the market (7 years ago) really needed an "inline rotary vise" at a price the average working person could afford (less than $100) but still provide two things we thought were important; smooth rotation and hook holding ability. The Danvise fit those two requirements in spades and is the unit we use to tie almost all of our commercial orders. Why? Because the darned thing just holds a hook really well. Something we appreciate a lot when you consider the number of hours we spend using it.

The hook holding ability is also a negative about the vise. The manufacturer engineered SO much holding power in the jaw/cam assembly that a tier, who does not adjust the vise correctly, will break things; the hook or jaws or both. For that reason, we include a short setup DVD to get you started on the right track. The DVD is not professionally produced and is intended to accomplish one thing: show a person new to the Danvise how to adjust it. We sell a 90 minute DVD (Rotary Tying Techniques $19.96 plus SH) for those of you interested in learning more about tying on a rotary vise. Also, we have a new book coming on the market in the fall with the same title and subject matter. Watch for it via Frank Amato Publications.

Is the vise perfect? No, it's not. One of the things we found frustrating was the lack of space between the jaws and the rotating mechanism. It wasn't a problem when tying small trout flies but it was a bit inconvenient when tying larger streamers, etc. We use the Danvise to hold all the flies we photograph for the magazine articles we write and quite frankly most editors didn't appreciate the streamer wings/Krystal Flash, etc. curving "uphill" in an illustration because of the lack of room. So, we developed an accessory Extension Arm ($20.00 plus shipping and handling - see it at http://www.btsflyfishing.com/)to provide the extra space. It works very well for all our tying situations and our customers agree. We sell a heck of a lot of them.

Another item some of the reviewers discovered was the shortcomings of the bobbin rest. The nut/bolt parts of the assembly become loose when the unit is "swung/raised" into the working position. If the fly tier will turn over the unit on the vise stem then tighten the nut/bolts while in the lower position, all of the nut/bolts parts are tighten even further as the arm is raised into position.

TYING TIP that works with all inline rotary vises:

PROBLEM: When applying materials using the rotary function, the tier pulls the thread out of the bobbin and "drapes" the unit over the bobbin rest. Then when it's time to resume regular material application, the tier has to "crank in" the extra thread so it is the right length to wrap around the hook (or buy an expensive automatic bobbin).

SOLUTION: Don't pull the thread out of the bobbin and drape it over the bobbin rest. Instead, leave the thread at "working length," hold the bobbin in front of the hook, and raise the bobbin rest part way up to the position used previously. Adjust the bobbin rest until the bobbin ARMS sit on it at about a 45 degree angle. Rotate the vise to apply materials and when the tier is ready to resume standard application techniques just flip the bobbin rest back out of the way and start wrapping the thread without having to "crank it" back onto the spool.

Regarding the larger vise stem: The stem is metric (10 mm) and doesn't fit the 3/8" accessories available here in the USA. We use a 13/32" drill bit to "ream out" those accessories to fit the vise. You can do so as well should you choose.

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