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samsonboi

Ekich Ultimate Bobbin review

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This post is a follow up to my last one quite a while ago asking about the Ekich automatic bobbin as mine (the S model, with the same components as the nicer A, but with a (still durable) plastic vs. metal frame and housing) was already on the way and I wanted to see people's opinions about them. I received several conflicting responses. The negative ones were based on the different method of thread control and the way it has to be reset, and that it is hard to get used to; personally, I found the learning curve pretty easy; I picked it up really fast and now it's second nature. I have used this bobbin for several months now, and I'm not giving it up. Long story short, it's a joy to use.

On to the review:

This bobbin is amazing. So much better than the Nor-Vise bobbin in many ways. First off, you don't have to wind your own spools, you can just use factory ones. I use mostly Uni, Danville, and Veevus threads, and they all work with it. However, it doesn't work with older wooden spools of thread unless a hole is drilled in them (i.e., Belding Corticelli silk) because it has a drive prong that needs to stick into a hole in the spool. This is easy enough; however, I don't do it because I don't feel the need to wind silk fast, so when I use silk I use one of my conventional bobbins. Additionally, the weight of the loaded bobbin balances its spring, so unlike the Norvise bobbin you don't need to put it on a bobbin rest every single time.

 

The S-series bobbin was meant to be more competitive than the A-series with the Norvise bobbin, cost-wise, because even though the A bobbin is infinitely better than the Norvise product, it is almost double the cost- and he still makes pennies per hour making the A bobbin. This is because Mr. Faruk Ekich (who, by the way, is a very nice, helpful guy, willing to sit on the phone and talk tying on a couple occasions even though he probably had something better to do) hand makes each frame. The S-series eliminates that, so it is about the same price as the Norvise bobbin, and I think he actually makes more money on it. That's not to say it's easier to make, though, since he told me designing the mold was a significant time investment. According to him, he makes these to spread the gospel, so to speak, and provide tiers with a great tool. Taking into account all the time he spent designing them, and the time spent making them, they are not really a moneymaker. Before he started to sell more of them, he actually made them out of hand-carved burled hardwood! The wood ones are beautiful works of art, but way too labor-intensive to make.

Both models are very ergonomic and thread control is amazing. You hold the bobbin frame with your thumb and two fingers, while your pinky and ring finder are free to palm the spool or lift it up to reset the spring. Resetting the spring takes just a second or two, and makes a really satisfying "whoosh" noise as the spring unwinds. Plus, the tube of the bobbin is really good steel, machined to a 5-micron finish. Mr. Ekich advises against ceramic inserts, although he does make some bobbins with them, as creating too much heat and burning through the thread at high (rotary vise-type) speeds. His ceramic inserts are specially made so as not to do this, but he still likes the metal tube finish better. It will never cut your thread, ever. But don't use a metal threader, with any bobbin, as it creates excess wear on the tube. He provides a dental-floss threader made of nylon mono, meant for threading floss through braces, with each bobbin. These can be gotten, usually in 10-packs, for free from your dentist or orthodontist. Or you can make your own by melting or supergluing a piece of monofilament line into a loop.

Speaking of vises, he makes vises with an aesthetic similar to Waldron vises out of Damasteel damascus steel. They are works of art, although too rich for my blood! 

I would not advise taking the drive plate assembly out of the housing. While it's fine to remove the O-ring bearing that holds the spool in order to oil the spindle, wipe it off, and put it back on, don't take out the drive plate. I did, because I am naturally curious, and the spring sproinged right out and freed itself, making a nice neat coil- which was obviously far too big to get back in to the housing. It took me about half an hour to get it coiled back down so it would fit in the housing. It was kind of like those snakes-in-a-can that are coiled up springs with a snakeskin-print covering and surprise you by jumping out when you open the can. Thankfully, I put it back in the right way! It wasn't hard, just took a while.

I will be ordering the A series as soon as I have an extra hundred bucks to spend; probably after I buy my first car this year (I'm 15, soon to be 16, and saving $$$) and that bobbin will be reserved for my indispensable 8/0 hot orange thread only, because I live on the Au Sable and Fran Betters advised the use of (and used) hot orange thread for almost all flies, as many of our natural insects have an orange cast. The orange thread makes a light orange undertone in a fly body when the body of the fly is moist.  As it is, that's mostly what's on my S bobbin, but sometimes I have to switch it out for other colors.

 

Bottom line, if you tie with a rotary vise, or even if you just tie a lot of flies on a fixed one, this is the bobbin for you. The best bobbin, IMHO, money can buy.

 

P.S.- I am not affiliated with Ekich Bobbins in any way. I also did not receive anything as payment or otherwise in return for writing this review.

 

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20 minutes ago, samsonboi said:

This post is a follow up to my last one quite a while ago asking about the Ekich automatic bobbin as mine (the S model, with the same components as the nicer A, but with a (still durable) plastic vs. metal frame and housing) was already on the way and I wanted to see people's opinions about them. I received several conflicting responses. The negative ones were based on the different method of thread control and the way it has to be reset, and that it is hard to get used to; personally, I found the learning curve pretty easy; I picked it up really fast and now it's second nature. I have used this bobbin for several months now, and I'm not giving it up. Long story short, it's a joy to use.

On to the review:

This bobbin is amazing. So much better than the Nor-Vise bobbin in many ways. First off, you don't have to wind your own spools, you can just use factory ones. I use mostly Uni, Danville, and Veevus threads, and they all work with it. However, it doesn't work with older wooden spools of thread unless a hole is drilled in them (i.e., Belding Corticelli silk) because it has a drive prong that needs to stick into a hole in the spool. This is easy enough; however, I don't do it because I don't feel the need to wind silk fast, so when I use silk I use one of my conventional bobbins. Additionally, the weight of the loaded bobbin balances its spring, so unlike the Norvise bobbin you don't need to put it on a bobbin rest every single time.

In defense of the Nor-Vise Bobbin, once you have wound the spools, the storage is much more compact and organized than keeping the tread on the original spools. I store my spools in the Norvise storage case the threads of identical diameter are organized by color.

35555724252_31ab1b795b_z.jpg

Secondly, there is no need to put the Norvise bobbin on the bobbin rest. I suspect you have never used a Norvise bobbin since the tension is adjusted so that the tread can be retracted or pulled out to any length you want and the tension keeps it at that length hanging from the fly.

 

 

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I have used the Norvise bobbin on many different occasions; although I don't own one, Tom Conway does, and he lets me use it when I'm tying with him at the shop. It hangs well at the beginning, but the force on the spring would grow as it was used and I needed to put it on the rest in order to not have it suck the thread up to the fly. I like the Ekich bobbin's Constant Force Spring, which won't do that.

 

I agree, the Norvise bobbin is very nice- but it's not perfect. The Ekich bobbin is pretty close to perfect; and I don't see a problem with keeping thread on the spool, since it will keep the same layering and the thread factory purposely puts on their spools.

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My beef with the Norvise bobbin is just that the spring's force is not constant, and I don't like the minispools as much, although I have toyed with the idea of making a spool from 3 or 4 sewing machine-size bobbins, soldered together so I can have a 3 or 4 color spool for the silk I use for soft hackles and some Catskill dries.

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Nice review.  No, an EXCEptionally good effort!

Do you also own and use the Nor-vise bobbins?

Both of these are kinetic works of art, have mostly strengths and no drawbacks.  Essential tools, for me, to fully exploit the full rotary vise. Vices in my case.

Faruk is a friend, as was Norm Norlander.  For me, if there was a competition it ends in a tie.  Norm’s requires loading spools of thread, Faruk’s requires periodic tension-release.  Norm’s made in USA, Faruk’s in our great neighbor, Canada. Both WILL improve your thread control. 

I owned an Ekich first.  I quickly realized I had not bothered to learn how to hold a bobbin properly.

Pete Gray tells me his Ekich vise works as beautifully as it looks.  Only wish I had the coin right now to order one.

I admire the work you put into this post, thank you

 

 

 

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Enough with the chatter Boyo lets see some flies !    p.s.  Very nice review.

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Thanks. I didn't directly knock the Norvise bobbin because it is a great tool, and others may like it more than my choice- but I like the Ekich one better because it suits my tying. It's all subjective. My father was French-Canadian and I am a Canadian citizen as well as an American one, so Canadian manufacture is not a minus for me, ey?

 

Now for this picture- the flies on the right are original Fran Betters ties- I have 2 Au Sable Wulffs by him, and a pair of Haystacks as well, plus a few other flies I believe to have been tied by him- they were given to me by a friend who used to frequent Fran's shop back in the day. The Au Sable Wulffs and Parachute ASW on the left are my ties. Since my laptop camera is terrible, the colors are a bit muted- particularly the rusty orange body- but it gets the point across.

IMG_20200503_160705.thumb.jpg.2dbfab8b5fdd8effffdba7a1a8f8d562.jpg

 

I will post some closeups with a good camera soon.

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Here's some Fran patterns. Some by me, a couple  by him. I try to tie my Betters flies like Fran did and would have- a bit messy, not really "messy" as such, just a bit disheveled and super buggy. I focus on fast-water proportions, especially since I fish the same water he did. The orange colors are a little more vivid in real life- I'll be taking a photography class next year if I can fit it in, and I'll either get a school loaner camera, or buy my own- then I can take some really good pictures. I toyed with the contrast until it was more lifelike, but it's just an old, obsolete iPhone.

Fran Betters-tied Au Sable Wulffs:

IMG_9837.thumb.JPG.e9aa9ebe30de0c6cf0a239741eec9daa.JPG

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My first, mostly decent Au Sable Wulff a while ago:

IMG_9836.thumb.JPG.88ac7f729de840931bb0e669356a7f3b.JPG

An Au Sable Wulff Parachute I tied:

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A hi-vis Au Sable Wulff I tied the other day- Fran would be proud because I used orange calftail instead of pink or chartreuse, which I also have. I'm very 

IMG_9840.thumb.JPG.e997d0cfe474b421b188bbc60af74ba0.JPG

An Au Sable Stimulator sort of like what Fran tied, but with a twist- no rear palmered hackle, and a CDC underwing. But the woodchuck tail is still there, as is the body and the mixed brown and grizzly hackle. Fran tied his stimulators mostly in dirty yellow and rust orange.

IMG_9842.thumb.JPG.98a8f15abcb6f3f4fc7ab36db97da94a.JPG

Fran Betters-tied Haystacks

IMG_9841.thumb.JPG.a6b69b142ccc8564240290ba1a46830f.JPG

 

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