Not too long ago, I made one of the best decisions thus far in my fly fishing/fly tying career and I ordered myself a J-Vice from Jay Smith in Pinetown South Africa. Jay (an engineer) is the mastermind behind the J-Vice, which is in my honest opinion the best fly tying vice available today. I got the new Salmon Head GooseNeck J-Vice machined from white Ertalyte together with a set of standard jaws, midge jaws and a waste basket amongst some other J-Vice accessories.

The standard bases for the J-Vice are made from imported American Oakand bases can also be custom made by Jay from any available commercial hardwood. Jay has made bases from Kiaat, Panga Panga, Hard Pear, African Rosewood and various other African Hardwoods.

I however decided to make my own base, as I thought that it would give my J-Vice setup a personal touch, and also I could make a base that suits my own needs and style. I was inspired by Mario Geldenhuys who builds fine custom fly rods, nets and vice bases.

I used two pieces of 200mm x 400mm x 20mm Wallnut timber for my base, which I got from a local hardware and timber merchant.

I started off by tracing the outline of the base’s shape with pencil onto paper, after which I stuck it onto the timber.


I then cut the shapes out and drilled out the holes that I wanted for my fly tying tools. The base has two levels, which then had to be glued onto each other as shown in the picture below:


After the glue has set overnight, the most time consuming process of the project starts which is the sanding.


I made use of a belt sander which helps a lot with the shaping of the base. After that I took a fine piece of sandpaper and sanded away until I was eventually happy with the base’s appearance.


I then took Woodoc furniture oil and generously applied it all over the base. I gave it three coatings and after which I put it outside in the sun to absorb all of the oil.

I then cut circles equal to the size of the holes I drilled in the base from a thin foam sheet to place at the bottom of the holes where my nail varnish, tying thread etc. will slot in into the base. After that I mounted the desk mount supplied by Jay onto the base.



My J-Vice base was complete! It took me about 12 hours to complete and I was very happy with the outcome of the project. I helps a lot If you have all the tools available to you, luckily a case of beer persuaded my father in law to grant me access to his workshop which has all the tools and machinery required to build an Ark if you should wish to do so.


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