This step-by-step guide will teach you the ins and outs of how to use a hair stacking tool.
If done correctly, it’s a fast and rather unassuming process. But, to the beginner, it might seem a little complicated. Follow along and have a look at the attached video to master this tool in no time.
Table of Contents
- Fly Tying Tutorials
- What Is Hair Stacking?
- What Hair Stacker Should You Buy First?
- How To Use a Hair Stacking Tool
- Step 1: Cut Off a Section of Hair
- Step 2: Remove Loose Fibers
- Step 3: Insert The Fibers Into The Tool
- Step 4: Tap The Hair Stacking Tool
- Step 5: Open The Hair Stacking Tool
- Step 6: Pinch The Hair Tips
- Step 7: Transfer The Hair To The Tying Point
- The Hair Stacking Tool
- How To Use A Hair Stacking Tool
I always struggled to tie dry flies that look the same that those in the books. Looking back at it, avoiding the use of a hair stacking tool made life harder than it should have been.
The moment I started using a hair stacker I immediately saw results in my dry fly appearance and effectiveness.
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What Is Hair Stacking?
Hair stacking is the process of aligning the tips of hair or other fibers. This is essential to create neat and well-balanced flies. A hair stacking tool makes this process simple.
In essence, the hair stacking tool is an open-sided cylinder that fits into a base. The fibers are placed into the cylinder and base. The tool is then tapped against a solid surface, which aligns the tips to the bottom of the base.
Once the cylinder is removed from the base, the aligned fibers are revealed.
A hair stacking tool is used to create dry fly wings and tails, such as those found in the Stimulator and CDC & Elk patterns.
When creating collars on large deer hair streamers, such as a Dahlberg Diver, a hair stacking tool is used to align the fibers. This not only makes for a more pleasing look, but it ensures that the stability of the fly is correct.
I also make use of a hair stacking tool when tying synthetic saltwater patterns.
What Hair Stacker Should You Buy First?
To start out with I recommend making use of a medium-sized one. With a medium size hair stacker, you’ll be able to tie large deer hair streamers to smallish dry flies. Once you’ve mastered the tool, go out and look for more specialized hair stackers.
Recommended Hair Stacker:
→ Dr. Slick Hair Stacker
Let's Get Started!
How To Use a Hair Stacking Tool
Below is a step-by-step guide to teach you how to use a hair stacking tool. To practice, make use of a cheap section of deer hair.
Step 1: Cut Off a Section of Hair
Select the desired skin and pinch the tips of the hair between your thumb and forefinger. Cut the desired amount of hair from the skin with a scissor while maintaining the pinch on the hair fibers.
Step 2: Remove Loose Fibers
Still pinching the tips of the hair fibers between your thumb and forefinger, pull out any loose fibers and tuft from the base of the hair with the opposite hand.
Transfer the hair to the opposite hand, gripping the base of the hair between your thumb and forefinger. Now, pull out any short and damages fibers.
Step 3: Insert The Fibers Into The Tool
Make sure that the hair stacking tool is assembled and is standing on a level surface. Place the hair into the hair stacking tool, tips first.
Be careful to keep all of the hairs together as they are placed in the tool. Once the hairs are securely in the tool, you can remove any rogue fibers from around the tool.
Step 4: Tap The Hair Stacking Tool
Grip both the bottom and top parts of the hair stacking tool. Tap the base of the hair stacker (usually covered with felt or cork) on a hard surface. This will align the fibers in the tool.
You shouldn’t need to tap too many times. Usually two or three light taps will do the trick.
Step 5: Open The Hair Stacking Tool
Very gently, turn the hair stacker on its side (horizontal). Slowly pull the top and bottom sections of the tool apart to reveal the aligned hair inside.
Set the bottom (base) part of the tool aside, while being careful not to let any of the fibers move or fall out of the other part of the tool.
Step 6: Pinch The Hair Tips
Pinch the aligned hair tips between your thumb and forefinger and remove the fibers from the tool.
While doing this, be gentle and do your best to ensure that all of the fibers remain aligned and stacked neatly.
Step 7: Transfer The Hair To The Tying Point
The Hair Stacking Tool
Now You Know
How To Use A Hair Stacking Tool
Getting to grips on how to use a hair stacking tool is quite simple. The key is to move slowly, especially when removing the aligned fibers from the tool.
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