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Thompson Model A 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?  3.00


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?  2.83


Vise fit and finish.  Is this a well finished product?  Did it communicate quality right out of the box?  2.33


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?  2.50


Vise stem finish, adjustability and length. Is the vise flexible in placement for a number of tiers and table heights?  2.67


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?  2.33


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.  1.00


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?  2.00


Country where manufactured? 

2.27 Overall Rating

MSRP   $53.00


Jim's Comments - .Ok, maybe if we'd seen these vises earlier in the review process, we'd have given them higher marks but the fact is that they don't hold up to close scrutiny. The same problems exist with the A vise as do the Pro. They toe in and make repetitive hook placement difficult, at best. Forget about anything bigger than a 1/0 or 2/0 hook either. There just isn't enough "Umph" in these jaws to hold that kind of hook. The is simply pressed into a pivoting holder that literally just holds the head with a friction fit. If the holder hadn't been painted, the vise would fall out of the stem/holder! I'm not sure if this is a rotational capability or just poor quality control. Either way, it merits closer inspection from the manufacturer. The c-clamp isn't bad but it's of the same unprotected variety as the Pro and the stem showed signs of having been beaten up upon arrival. It had some trouble fitting in the clamp at the beginning. I rated this vise lower simply because the head would start pivoting when you pulled hard on the thread. If that's a feature, it's not acceptable.

Jim's Rating - 2.30


Joe's Comments - This is the biggest disappointment in this review sample for me. Not because it's the worst vise, even DH Thompson themselves managed to make one that is less effective.  No, I'm not disappointed because this vise nearly defines mediocrity.  I'm disappointed because one of the icons of the industry has managed to fall so far from its reputation. The Model A moniker deserves better.  This reminds me of what happened to the fabulous Fisher name in electronics.  From American icon to imported rack-system trash in just two short decades.  How far the mighty have fallen!  This is a tool that will work, but there are so many better choices for less money.  I hope that the higher end DH Thompson vises are better than this and one day I hope to redeem this review with a rave for a truly well built and creative product.  Sadly, this isn't it.

Joe's Rating - 2.00


Mark's Comments - The Thompson A is a simple yet effective vise, nothing fancy but it would work fine for most folks.  The Thompson Model A is similar to the Pro except is has an added feature of a much nicer adjustable head to the shaft, so you can adjust the angle at which you are tying. It's a good feature and makes this vice worth upgrading to over the Pro, in my opinion.  Thompson vises come with directions and  arrive in a nice foam lined plastic pack useful for storage and travel. The jaws hold just fine and the packaging is effective to store and travel with it as is some simple directions so kudos for that.

Mark's Rating - 2.50








Manufacturer's Comments -

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