We’ll use this patch of elk hair to demonstrate how to clip, clean and stack just about any type of hair used in fly tying. It’s a good idea to save your primary tying scissors for the delicate stuff and use larger ones for cutting hair from the hide.
Use the points of the scissors to separate out the desired amount and then snip the clump free, close to the hide. Reorient the hair to expose a good length of the butt ends. Pull any shorter hairs and loose underfur out. Finally, use a fine tooth comb or brush to remove any remaining underfur.
Once you’ve got the underfur combed out, pass the bundle to your right hand and place it, tips first, into an appropriately sized hair stacker. Give the clump a real good stacking and end by tapping the stacker at a 45 degree angle. This will concentrate the hair in the bottom of the stacking tube so when you carefully remove the stacker’s base, the tips will be precisely aligned in the bottom of the tube. You can then get hold of those tips with your left hand and pass them to your right, so the hair is ready for tie-in.