That complaining aside... Something hit's me every time I tie flies... How much I love my vices!
The pic below was my first "nice" vice. Like any one, I started with a very basic clamp vice with really big jaw face that came in a kit I was given for Christmas in the third or fourth grade.
I loved the heck out of that kit, but ultimately, an attempt to fix the paint on a bass jig's head resulted in a broken Jaw and the vice has long since left my "stuff box".
My parents have always felt that the way to help me find me - when I was growing up - was to observe what I loved, and foster that. Sure, the pushed me with things that were needed and that I was not real into (school impacts fishing and mountain biking time... ), but, the felt I'd read more, learn more, and find myself better if they helped me foster MY interests. They just didn't like the idea of pushing me to do what they did or they wanted... And it's good they did that. I developed a unique career (endurance sports coach) as a result, and I've got some passions beyond my family which have stayed with me - because they were mine in the first place.
Love those two amazing parents of mine!
Any way, seeing I was over the moon for tying and fly fishing... and knowing there was a company a couple towns over that made very high quality vices, in either the 4th or 5th grade, my dad brought me the 15 miles over to Orange MA, and we knocked on the doors of the machine shop where they built Regal Vices at the time. Bear in mind, I'm a hair over a month out from my 41st birthday, and Regal has moved a couple times and shifted ownership a few times as well. Well, my dad always felt like, if you loved doing something, having really good tools was invaluable. Both of my folks were teachers, neither came from money... But they knew quality was important. So, that Christmas, my dad and I got a great tour of the Regal facility, saw the amazing machined aluminum body with cork drag reel they used to make, and to the immeasurable pride of a young boy, we walked out of there with a Regal vice and brass base.
|This is that first Regal Vice. A little worn and tarnished after close to 3 decades of work, and still very very well loved! It's now my big fly / saltwater / bass / pike vice.|
I tied with that vice non stop from that day until last summer. Point blank, I'd not have changed vices - it still worked great. Regals are bomb proof!
While walking around a fly shop in Maine on my side of the family's annual vacation, my dad saw me checking out a new stainless steel jawed regal with the pocket brass base. I then moved on to pick up some pheasant cape and some other odd's and ends... I came back, and he'd bought me the vice. After our son had been sick, he knew how stressful things had been, how tired we were and how much of a stress release tying was for me. He just noted those things, and noted that, he'd bought me my first vice, and maybe I could give this one to my son some day.
I love that new vice. It's so functional, but the finer jaw's allow tying of smaller flies to be simpler, and tying of average sized flies easier. I didnt know I wanted it, until I had it! But the part that's even more amazing, is that some time in the next 10-15 years my dad likely will be gone (hard swallow)... He's in his mid 70's, so you just don't know... But I have these two amazing vices, and they are made far, far more amazing, by the story's, and the love that are "behind" them.
Thanks Dad. For everything... And for my vices as well.