Guest Blogger: J. Stockard Pro and Owner of Norvise: Tim O’Neill, Hockessin, DE

As we travel the country on the fly fishing show circuit I am always amazed by something I observe when I look at the “ring of tyers” at each location, whether we are up in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Georgia or Pleasanton, California one thing seems to repeat itself over and over.

Rotary fly tying is nothing new; vises that you can slowly rotate 360 degrees have been around for a long time. The thing that I find odd as I watch tyers from all around the country is that very seldom do I see people using the rotary function of the vise as part of tying the fly. People will invest a lot of money for these tricked out rotary vises, and I am not saying they are overpriced, I am saying it is an investment, and they only use the rotary function of the vise to turn the hook to look at the other side of the fly. This always seemed strange to me.

Enter the Norvise. While there are a lot of rotary vises that do just what the name implies, rotate slowly 360 degrees, the Norvise is the only vise that you can “spin”. Spinning the vise with the hook rotating in perfect centerline opens up so many doors to us in the fly tying world. Think about it, 90% of what we do in fly tying involves wrapping a material over the shank of the hook. Something as simple as laying down a thread base can be done quicker by spinning the hook vs. wrapping the bobbin over and around the hook. Your materials will go on more consistently with uniform tension resulting in a better, more durable tied fly. Our long standing slogan is “tie better flies faster” and with the Norvise you can do just that.

The Norvise is the complete tying system or as we like to say “The most innovative Fly Tying System on the market”

The first part of the Norvise system is the spinning of the hook shank on centerline or zero axis, the second part and possibly even more innovative than the vise itself is the Norvise Auto Bobbin. The auto bobbin is a self retracting or self rewinding bobbin. If you are going to rotary fly tie or better yet, spin tie you will learn that you can not have your bobbin hanging under the hook shank while you spin the vise. If you do this it will cause the spinning hook to wrap thread around the hook shank and walk the bobbin up until the tube is touching the shank of the hook. To combat that, many vise companies have created a bobbin cradle that swings out and suspends the bobbin out in front of the hook shank, preferably parallel to the shank of the hook so the vise can be rotated without adding thread wraps onto the hook. A sound design for sure, the challenge comes in when you remove the standard bobbin from the cradle. You will have 4 to 6 inches of slack thread you have to wind, by hand, back onto the thread spool. The Norvise Auto Bobbin eliminates the need to ever wind slack thread back onto the thread spool as it will wind the slack for you. Truly an innovation in the world of fly tying.

The Norvise Auto Bobbin, truly an innovation in the world of fly tying.

If you are going to get started down the road of spinning the vise realize there will be a learning curve. Look at it this way; nobody was born knowing how to cast a fly rod. It is a learned skill and we learned how to do it because we wanted to fly fish. Spinning the vise is no different; you have to give yourself the proper amount of time to learn the techniques to be an efficient rotary fly tyer. We tell a perspective new customer is to give us 3 months. Put all of your other vises in the closet and tie on the Norvise and only the Norvise for only 3 months. At the end of that time, if you give us an honest shot, we can almost guarantee you will never go back to your old vise again.

Spinning the vise allows us to do many things including making our own custom dubbing brushes using the Norvise Budding Brush Table

To see all that Norvise has to offer check us out at visit our You Tube channel at YouTube/Nor-vise, check out our Instagram at @nor_vise and finally search Norvise on Facebook.


  1. I loved my Norvise and the abilities it furnished. Unfortunately it is tall and I am short. After irreparably rupturing my rotator cuff I could not tie more than 5 minutes with my dominant hand reaching up to the hook level. So regrettably I sold it and went back to normal favorite rotary vise (and I DO use the rotary function). The Norvise is a remarkable system, thanks to Norm. As is the Norbobbin (I only have six).

  2. I have the complete norvise system. It is relegated to a shelf in the basement. As far as the automatic bobbin, while I have two they also are in drydock. How many time has the thread rewound itself and then have to rethread. Also you have to load these bobbins and it is much easier to just have spools of thread that you know the size and can store easily. I have a renzetti and still consider it the best vise on the market. Also with the norvise if you don’t have the midge jaws I found the standard jaws to be very clubby and tough for tailing small flies. But to each his own.

    1. I loved my Norvise. Unfortunately it’s made for taller people and I’m short. After rupturing my rotator cuff, it was painful to hold my right arm high enough to tie. So I went back to my first love, my Renzetti Traveler. I lowered it to lap level and am now able to tie without pain. The Norvise went to a veteran.

      However, I have several Norbobbins and love them. They come with a little cap. When you put the cap on before you cut the thread, it does not retract nor need rethreaded. I hate tying with a non-retracting bobbin. I spend too much time pulling thread out for something and then having to stop to rewind the bobbin. The Norvise is a great tool. The Norbobbin is a great invention.

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