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How Important is a Hair Stacker?


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27 replies to this topic

#1 Ty Flyer

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:29 PM

I would kinda like to know 


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#2 SilverCreek

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:46 PM

Very important. So important that I have 4 sizes.

 

Evens up the hair tips so hair wings are even and makes picking out hairs with broken tips easier.


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#3 utyer

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:11 PM

You can make your own from half inch or 3/4 inch copper or better still brass tubing.  Just need a cap for one end.  You need to sand down the end the cap fits on so you can get it off after tapping the hair down.  Glass tubing will work as well, but it need a good cap to tap on.  Plastic will NOT work, it will develop a static charge and not even up the hair.  I have a one dozen stacker I made from 12 glass tubes and drilled holes in a piece of walnut for the base.  With that I can stack 12 tails or wings at the same time.  

 

When I first started tying, I had never heard of a hair stacker.  Now I wouldn't be without one.  


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#4 JSzymczyk

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:03 PM

IMO it is not optional.   If you work with deer body hair or deer tail, or any number of other straight hairs, a hair stacker or a few hair stackers are required kit.  I've found in most instances, larger is better--- at least larger than you think it should be.  As with any tool, there is a bit of a learning curve.  You don't just clip a bundle of hair off a bucktail and throw it in a stacker and expect perfect results. 


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#5 mikechell

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:23 PM

You don't just clip a bundle of hair off a bucktail and throw it in a stacker and expect perfect results. 

Speak for yourself !!!
I fully expect to get perfect results after throwing a bunch of hair in a stacker.

 

Of course, I don't get it, but I FULLY Expect it !!!

 

As has been stated ... home made or store bought, to get the best looking flies, a stacker is as necessary as a bobbin.  Sure, you could tie without one and get a perfect fly .... once in a while.


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#6 Crackaig

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 01:52 AM

Stacking is vital to get really good results. Using a hair stacker is optional. You can stack hair in your fingers, but it takes some practice. For a few flies I don't bother to get the tool out. For larger numbers I do.

 

There are some really fancy sets out there. In my experience you only need two. The biggest and smallest, if the hair will not go in the small one it will go in the big one. Veniards did a nice big one with a window in it so you can see when the job is done.

 

What is also vital to stacking hair well is the removal of all the under fur. This is best done with a comb. Chris Helm once told me (and I defy you to find someone who knows more about working with hair) that the less you handle hair the better. He can cut comb and stack hair without changing his grip on the hair. Doing this means having your comb fixed with the tines pointing up, at the side of your vice. A cheap nit comb from a chemists is good for this job. Drill a couple of holes in it and screw it to your bench. Or you can get holders to fit a vice clamp.

 

For me a comb is a more important part of the stacking process than a stacker. What I do use more than a stacker is a Hair Evener. It is like a flat bottomed scoop that you drop the hair into and tap like a stacker. It is, I find, faster to use (may not be a consideration for you, but is for me), and cheaper to boot. Mine cost about $2.

 

To sum up, a hair stacker is not essential. Stacking hair is.

 

Cheers,

C.


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#7 flytire

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 05:20 AM

if you prefer wings and tails to have the paint brush look, then a hair stacker is essential for that effect.

 

if you prefer wings and tails to have a staggered look then a hair stacker is not essential.

 

if you prefer to do hand stacking that is also an option

 

however, whichever way you decide to go, cleaning out the hair is probably the most essential thing to do before tying in a bundle of hair. a small comb such as a moustache comb will remove a lot of the under fur from the clump of hair. you may still have to run your fingers over the butt ends to remove any left over under fur.

 

again it all comes down to tyers preference. do whats best for your tying situations


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#8 phg

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:46 PM

I got along without a hair stacker for over 20 years, and, yes, I tied a lot of buck tail streamers.  There are a number of techniques for even-ing the tips of hair bundles including, ta-da --- stacking it.

 

A so-called hair stacker doesn't stack hair, it evens it up by inertia.  Now that I have one (actually 3 of them) I rarely tie a hair winged fly without using one.  It's quicker, easier and gives relatively consistent results. 

 

Making your own is an option.  I've seen some nice ones that were turned out of hardwood, but, really, if you have a friend that hunts, a cut off (spent) shotgun shell works fine. 



#9 mikechell

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 05:32 PM

But "hair stacker" is so much easier to say than "Hair tip inertial evener".


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#10 phg

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 07:53 PM

:D



#11 Al Beatty

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:41 AM

Hi Ty Flyer,

 

A hair stacker is one way to even hair tips on flies IF you think a "polished look" is important to your flies. We use a hair stacker on almost all of the flies we use or sell. That said, we had one customer who  did not want the hair stacked. His name was Gary LaFontaine and he (and his flies) seemed to catch a lot of fish. <G> Take care & ...


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#12 vicrider

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 04:58 PM

Tho the two piece stacker is nice, I did stacking in a couple of different sized pistol/rifle shells. Not as nice as the polished brass versions but did the job. I personally don't like a paint brush stack but prefer my ends kind of ragged.



#13 rotaryflytyingdotcom

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:04 AM

Renzetti Vise just put a video up on YouTube which highlights their R-Evolution line of Hair Stackers.  If bigger is better they have come up with two that meet that requirement.

 



#14 m_grieb

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:15 AM

Absolutely not optional. they key to optimum consistency.

 

Matt


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#15 Sundance

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 02:08 PM

When Dan Bailey and Lee Wulff were working out what eventually became the Wulff series of flies, Dan cut a Prince Albert tobacco can in half, used it to even the hair tips for the wings, and the hair stacker was born.  Got that story from Dan himself when I was a kid in Livingston, MT.

 

Is it necessary?  Probably not because one can even the tips by hand, but if you value your time and want consistency, it is essential.  Do flies with unstacked hair wings look good?  No.  Will they catch fish? Yes.  Will they catch fishermen?  No.

 

 

BTW  I own those first attempts at a hair wing fly tied by Lee and Dan. Pretty shaggy looking.   I inherited them from an uncle who was Dan Bailey's best friend.  They go back to their early days in the Catskills before Dan moved west in the 1930's.