If you want to know about a pattern you found at a shop, ask them. You can certainly slice away with a razor and it may be worth it to try on a few. Another option if you know the name of the pattern is to search for online tying tutorials. You'll probably find a range of methods and materials that will get you to a generally similar end product.
I always do an online search. There is also a book out there, something like 1000 best flies, that I carry in my tying kit when camping. It is great because it has almost all patterns I am interested in with the materials necessary for the fly.
You can take a fly apart with two or three common fly tying tools. Take a razor blade and cut the whip finish on the head. Use your fingers or a pair of tweezers and unwrap the tying thread. If you come to a half hitch, use a bodkin needle to untie the half hitch and continue uwrapping the tying thread. With a little practice it is possible to untie some patterns and retie them with the original material, minus a few turns of tying thread. SS
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