Wolff Atlas Fly Tying Vise Review

Wolff Atlas Rotary Fly Tying Vise Review

Wolff Industries is no stranger to the industrial manufacturing world. They have a sterling reputation for precision instruments and tools, which can be seen and felt in their fly-tying vise range, the Apex and Atlas. The Atlas is their premium rotary vise, and if you know anything about the company, you will be happy to know you’re buying quality.

Wolff Atlas Fly Tying Vise
Wolff Atlas Fly Tying Vise

When it comes to buying a fly-tying vise, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, it is how much you want to spend. Some modern vises go for a few hundred dollars, but they aren’t what you need when you are starting out. Most passionate fly tier’s start out with a basic vise and migrate to a more advanced vise suited for their wants. The Atlas vise offers the best of both worlds, in my opinion. It has an upmarket look and feels to it, functions well when you are starting out.

Check current prices and reviews on Amazon with this shortcut link 👉 Wolff Atlas Rotary

There are a few key functions to check when you are looking at buying a vise. The first and most important is to check the jaw strength. This will make or break your tying experience, and if the hook keeps slipping, you aren’t going to get very far with it. Secondly is the balance of the base plate in ratio to the jaws. A well-balanced vise won’t tip much or at all. Lastly, is whether or not the vise has a rotatory function or not. The rotary part we will touch on later, but for now, let’s look at the Atlas vise.

What vise came out on top in my review and what vise do I recommend? 👉 Peak Rotary Fly Tying Vise

Overall Rating Compared to Other Popular Fly Tying Vises

In my comparison the Wolff Atlas came in Third Place out of the six fly tying vises tested. (This is purely my opinion using a vise I personally purchased) Check out my Review Summary 👉 HERE

Wolff Atlas Rotary

Wolff Atlas Rotary Tying Vise
Wolff Atlas Rotary Tying Vise

Rating = 3rd Place out of 6

The Atlas is a pretty nice vise. The machining is exceptional, the only downside is the vise clamping strength. I really wanted this vise to come out on top. The base was one of the heaviest, which I appreciate.
Below is my scoring. With 10 being highest

  • Ease of Use = 7
  • Vise Clamp = 5
  • Weight = 4lbs, 1oz
  • Assembly score =8
  • Rotary = 8
  • Fit and Finish = 9

Guide Recommended Pro Tip: Download the FULL Fly Tying Vise Comparison PDF here 👉 Fly Tying Vise Comparison and Review

Description of the Wolff Atlas Fly Tying Vise

Opening the Atlas vise box and seeing the vise for the first time blew me away. It looked like a really fancy piece of equipment, and that it is! The machined finish is spectacular and is really pleasing to the eye. The vise is also nice and heavy, which is a good feature to have. All in all, the Atlas vise looks and feels great. It is well-balanced and has a lovely smooth rotary function.

For a video, breakdown check this out

Pros and Cons of Wolff Atlas

Hook Clamping

The hook clamping test is a very important one to do. It allows us to gauge the strength of the vise jaws. A vise that the hook slips in isn’t ideal. While you can most certainly tie the smaller hooks in these vises, the larger hook will slip, and you will struggle to tie it nicely.

The strength test is usually done by clamping a medium-sized hook in the jaws and pulling it downwards as you would with a bobbin and thread. If the hook bends before it slips, then you have a good set of jaws. Unfortunately, with the Atlas jaws, the hook was slipping before it would bend, even with the maximum pressure applied to the vise clamp. This isn’t great for the larger hooks and fly patterns, as you just won’t be able to apply enough tension on the thread before the hook slips. The Atlas vise will work just fine for the smaller hooks and patterns.

The hook size accommodated by the jaws is often a little off, and I never tend to push the boundaries of this. The Atlas vise is advertised to accommodate 7/0 to #32 in hook sizes, but I would feel more comfortable with a size #8 to #20 in hooks. Basically, your trout hooks.

Testing the clamp on the Wolff Atlas fly tying vise
Testing the clamp on the Wolff Atlas fly tying vise

Base and Weight

The base plate, or pedestal base, as it is often called, comes in at a weight of around 4 lbs which is on the heavier side of the scale. I tend to like a heavier base plate for better control and less tipping. What is important when you are looking at these things is the balance of the jaws over the base plate. You want the jaws to be about half to two-thirds the length of the base plate. Any more to the outer edge and the vise will tip very easily, and you will be using your free hand to hold the vise more than you would like.

The Atlas has a great balance to it and is well-designed in this aspect.

Rotary Function

The rotary on any vise is a great addition to have and use. It makes tasks like palming a brush, wrapping hackles or ribbing a lot easier and gives a more uniform look and results to the pattern. The Atlas vise has a lovely rotary functionality. The Delrin sleeve bearings, along with the Teflon bushing, provide a smooth full rotation. The extended finger arm with a ball point finish can be adjusted to any four of the predrilled holes for comfort. Together the full rotary on the Atlas vise is brilliant and right up there with the best.

Guide Pro Tip: Hey, I’ve got a FREE Fly Tying Class. Videos, and written instructions can be found with this shortcut link 👉 How to Tie Flies Step by Step

Fit and Finish

The fit and finish of the Atlas are great. It is made with high-grade stainless steel (440-C and 303) Delrin. The pedestal base and C-clamp are both made out of high quality steel as well with a brass tightening handle on the c-clamp.

Ease of Assembly

The jaw stem easily fits the base plate stem holder, and the entire assembly will take less than five minutes.

Extras Included with the Wolff Atlas Vise

The Atlas vise comes with a C-clamp and metal material clip. These are both very handy to have. The C=clamp can fit a table up to 1-3/4” thick. I tend to use my c-clamp a lot more I originally expected, and it is my go-to way of tying it these days. The metal material clip is great to have to clamp materials out of the way on the larger patterns.

Fur and Hair for Fly Tying

Fly Tying Materials

Materials for Tying Flies I intentionally use the word materials.  Nearly anything can be used for tying flies.  Heck one of my favorite “finds” for fly tying is…

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One Last Fly

The Atlas vise is a great overall vise to start with, and I would recommend it to a tyer that will predominately be tying smaller patterns as the jaws tend to slip on the larger hooks. At $384, it is not the cheapest vise, but it will last you a lifetime, that’s for sure.

Happy Tying!

Kyle Knight writer Guide Recommended

Kyle Knight

Fly fishing has been my passion and pursuit for the past 20 years. I am a South African based fly fisherman who loves nothing more than spending a day on the water. Fly fishing is more than catching fish, being in the outdoors with good friends and family is what it is all about.

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