Molding a Catfish step by step- The Stehling Way
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Tutorials  |  Topic: Molding a Catfish step by step- The Stehling Way « previous next »
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Author Topic: Molding a Catfish step by step- The Stehling Way  (Read 26417 times)
Aaron Stehling
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« on: October 11, 2008, 10:41:42 AM »

Here is a short tutorial on molding a catfish. Due to the oily nature and skin of catfish, molding and casting is the best way to go.
The pictures will do much of the talking.

Want to learn the "Stehling Method" of taxidermy  through full HD online videos ? click here www.taxidermyinsider.com

Our fine specimen -A 13" bullhead. As you can see, the fish is slightly dried out and shrunken in. This is common for catfish that have been frozen.


First step is to spray the fish off. If it has been frozen, this is all you need to do to prep for molding.

The biggest obstacle when molding catfish is to bring the fish back to a natural shape---in other words fill out the wrinkles and shrunken gut. Here is my method:

There are a number of methods you can use to plump or fill the gut back out. We will be using latex caulk. I have three main tools I use to inject the caulk into the shrunken cavities of the fish.


To start, I need to make a small incision under the gill cover to access the gut cavity. I use a scalpel to make the cut and push it into the cavity and move it around a bit so I have a clear shot



Through this hole, I can now inject my caulking. I start with this set up


I push the tube end into the farthest reaches of the cavity. I am not trying to completely fill it at this point, just plump out the edges of the cavity.

After this is done, I insert the caulk gun into the cavity and fill it until the skin is smooth. Do not overfill .


Take a Small amount of cotton and push it into the hole we made under the gill cover---this will contain the caulk so it doesn't leak out .

I use this set up

To inject a small amount of caulking up the vent.


Now for the wrinkles near the tail and on the face. I use a needle and syringe to inject water under the skin. Always do this from the seam line.




I "swish" the needle back and forth under the skin with steady pressure until the wrinkle area is restored. Catfish have some natural muscle detail that looks like wrinkles---use reference when injecting.

Time to lay the fish up for molding. We will start by making a dam out of high fiber-----mix it thick, and make a ring bigger than the fish


Mix up a batch of "soupy" high fiber and fill the inside of the dam. You want the fish to fall into place----you do not want to put s lot of pressure on it to get it bedded half way down. This is the KEY to molding catfish. Smooth the fiber out and add mold keys.




Do the same with the fins


Dry the fish with a hair dryer. You want it dry to the touch. 

The next step is to add pva mold release. I brushed it on in this case.

Safety first. Be sure you are working in a well ventilated area and you have on eye and respiratory protection. Were gloves when handling chemicals.

After the pva has dried, mix up a batch of auto body filler mixed with resin. The mix should be like pancake batter. From a foot above the fish, pour a stream of the the mix onto the center of the fish, working from head to tail. Let it roll off from the center until covered.


After it has cured,Reinforce it with fiberglass.



Do the same with the fins.

After your glass has cured, flip the mold and clean off the high fiber. Re inject if necessary.




Put one coat of part all paste mold release on the mold edges. Put a coat of pva on the fish and mold edges. Let dry and repeat step your auto body /resin pour. After it cures, strengthen with more glass.

Do the same with the fins.

Time to demold the fish.

You may have to use a jig saw to cut around the edges of your mold. I use a screw driver, and work it under the edges and carefully pry up. Go slow on this step and don't use to much horse power. Wash your mold out , and clean up an imperfections with a dremel and apoxie.







You can now cast your blank. I normally give the mold three coats of part all paste ( buffing between coats) and one coat of pva. I use white gelcoat first, and laminate fiberglass with resin to strengthen the gelcoat. Mix cabosil with resin to form a paste. Apply the paste to the seams of the blank and clamp shut.

The finished bullhead


A catfish molded using the same method




To learn more through video, please check out www.taxidermyinsider.com





« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 11:32:37 PM by Aaron Stehling » Logged

Stehling's Taxidermy LLC
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Jknuth
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2008, 12:13:27 PM »

NICE!!!

Cats are tough fish to mold, your techniques are great here!.
Thanks for taking the time to write this up, its going to help a lot of people.

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Nil sa saol seo ach ceo, Is ni bheimid beo, ach seal beag gearr.

List of available blanks
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scotty 39
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2008, 09:19:45 PM »

Nice job.
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TomL
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2008, 10:02:47 PM »

Thanks for taking the time to show us.  It helps alot to see pictures of how its done.
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DWC Taxidermy
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2008, 11:36:13 PM »

Thanks for the tip.
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Travis
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2008, 01:18:18 PM »

Aaron, Thanks for taking the time to share this with everyone on here. Nice to be able to see how it is done. I hope to give it a try soon.
Thanks
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Travis Jones
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2008, 07:47:02 PM »

Cool thanks Aaron. You really plumped that cat back to life. I just molded a 26" redfish today. It was actually my first fish of any size and I plumped his belly with caulk too. Pretty neat trick there.
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ChadF
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2008, 02:24:07 PM »

i need a small bullhead mount, is that one for sale?
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Aaron Stehling
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2008, 08:06:40 PM »

Thanks for the nice comments guys--glad I could offer a bit of usefull info.

ChadF

The fish was custom cast for a client.  We are not selling blanks from our molds at this time. I would try contacting Josh Knuth [email protected] . I am sure he could come up with something for you.
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Stehling's Taxidermy LLC
780 North Parkway Street
Jefferson, WI 53549
Main Office  920.674.3724


  
 www.stehlingstaxidermy.com

Learn Taxidermy Online www.taxidermyinsider.com

Joey Arender
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2009, 01:52:44 AM »

now I see what I need to be doing on my trout. cant wait until I try the next one.
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2009, 08:41:05 AM »

thanks aaron for taking the time to do this. I don't do fish, but would assume the techniques would be basically the same for casting other specimens!
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urcysk
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2009, 08:54:11 AM »

well done thats great
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Pascal
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2009, 01:40:41 PM »

Thanks Aaron. Great Tutorial.
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jigginjim
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2009, 09:03:36 PM »

what did you use to make whiskers (BARBS)? I was asked about doing a catfish for a guy maybe getting this month.
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Aaron Stehling
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2009, 10:43:44 PM »

Weed whacker line for the larger whiskers, fishing line for the smaller. Put the weed whacker line in a vise and taper the edges with a dremel with a sanding drum bit.
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Stehling's Taxidermy LLC
780 North Parkway Street
Jefferson, WI 53549
Main Office  920.674.3724


  
 www.stehlingstaxidermy.com

Learn Taxidermy Online www.taxidermyinsider.com

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