Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
July 31, 2014, 09:43:16 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
1598063 Posts in 188433 Topics by 42678 Members
Latest Member: toofunv
* Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Tutorials  |  Topic: Casting your Own Foam Body-instead of carving « previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Casting your Own Foam Body-instead of carving  (Read 11462 times)
Jim Tucker
Platinum Member
*****
Posts: 2560


WWW
« on: June 02, 2008, 03:43:38 PM »

I had a request to post how I cheaply cast my own foam bodies for odd sized or rare species fish.  It is fairly easy and time efficient IF you do it while you are working on other things.  It is NOT time efficient if you are going to sit there and watch OR if you want to mount and skin a fish in a day.  The whole process takes very little time but explaining it does.  I would suspect I have about one total hours worth of ACTUAL work time in making a cast body....about the same as I would have in carving one......and I HATE carving.

The process is similar to mounting a half cast fish.....only you cast both halves.  Also similar to molding a fish with Plaster.....only you do not need to worry about detail or even accuracy all that much.

Materials:  Plaster of Paris
              Vaseline/release wax
              burlap strips
              duct tape
              2 part foam
              wood block
              3 fish
              Patience

DAY ONE - USE GLOVES FOR THE WHOLE PROCESS

Have 3 fish ready.  Two to skin.....the other that needs a "form" made.

First take a towel and "dry" your fish.  Nothing too thorough, just get the main slime off.  On really slimy fish like muskies ....sprinkle borax over the whole fish and then wipe towards the tail.  The slime will come off in a big pile :P

Lay your fish in position.  I lay mine in a bed of wet sand.  I have a sand box from the old days when halfcasting was common.  You can use high fiber as well.  Either one works fine for this.   I dig a trench to get a good curve and then tuck the material under the head and tail to get good position.   Make sure and have the MOUTH in the FINAL position you want  in other words OPEN or CLOSED.  If OPEN I prefer to fill the mouth with old newspaper.  Fill the belly.  Some people fill the fish with CALK.....I just stick the air hose in the vent and give a few PUFFS.  That really fills out the belly.

Once the belly is full and I have good position I tuck sand/fibre all around the fish half way.  Just like you were going to do a Reproduction cast.   Then I build a halfhearted dam to save material out of waste cardboard that is lying around.  Just stick it the sand around the edges.

Mix up a KAYRO SYRUP consistency of plaster and pour it on the fish from the eyes back to just past the tail junction.

SKIN ONE OF YOUR OTHER FISH

Mix up a batch of PEANUT BUTTER thick plaster and smear some on the cast.  Then take a piece of burlap and lay it on the wet plaster.  Smear the rest ON TOP of the burlap.

DETAIL FLESH ONE OF YOUR OTHER FISH.  PUT IN WATER

Pick up the plaster cast FISH AND ALL and flip it over.  Rinse the sand/fibre off in the sink.  The cast is STRONG enough at this point to handle but CAN BREAK very easily.  Just be cautious.  Do a decent job.  No need to have it perfectly clean.  The less water the better.

Pat dry the open side.  Look at the edges and get rid of any funny places the plaster may have run "funny" along the edge near the fish.  The plaster is fairly soft at this point I just scrape away any funny edges.

I make a CLAY DAM along the edge of the front mold just to help hold the next pour.  Take VASELINE and thickly smear it on ALL EDGES where the plaster will come in contact with itself.   I cannot stress the importance of using PLENTY.  This is NOT a detailed REPRODUCTION.  A ROUGH SEAM is not a problem.  You want these to pull apart easily.

Mix up a KAYRO SYRUP consistency of plaster and pour it on the back side of the fish from the eyes back to just past the tail junction.  Keep inside your dam best you can.

SKIN YOUR SECOND FISH

Mix up a batch of PEANUT BUTTER thick plaster and smear some on the BACK cast.  Then take a piece of burlap and lay it on the wet plaster.  Smear the rest ON TOP of the burlap.

DETAIL FLESH YOUR SECOND FISH

After an hour or more has passed check the hardness of your mold.  Stick your fingernail in it.  If it EASILY leaves a mark WAIT LONGER.   When it seems hard enough start to pry apart the two halves....USE CARE.  It should pretty easily pull apart.  Take out your fish and rinse the plaster off the skin.

Wipe the edges down to remove the Vaseline off of your mold.  Set aside to dry.  Whenever possible I set them out in the SUN, OPEN.

SKIN THE FISH YOU JUST MOLDED.

I personally like to wait a fewdays of drying BUT you can make your body the NEXT DAY if the mold is dry on the inside

CASTING THE BODY

Check the two halves and see how they fit together.  Since we took LITTLE care in the molding keys will NOT be necessary......the mold should only fit together ONE WAY.

Cover the inside of the mold with WAX.  I use whatever the cheapest hard car wax in a can I can buy.  Rub it into the mold and especially thick on the edges where it MEETS.

I like to pour my foam from the HEAD to the tail SO.  Start wrapping your mold in duct tape from the tail towards the head.  Seal it GOOD!  When you get to the head area I take strips and go across the BIG opening leaving just enough room to POUR the foam in.

Set your mold up with the opening towards the top.  Mix up your Two-Part foam(your choice of density I have used them all) per instructions.  As your are stirring it will go CLEAR and DARK suddenly.....start pouring immediately.

Once you get enough in take a couple strips of duct tape and cover your pour hole.

Myself I like to wait 24 hours before removing my form....BUT you can follow the foams advice.  Pull apart the plaster halves and remove the form.

If you did it right you should have a nice foam body to mount on.  It will take a little rasping to remove fins and other artifacts but all in all it will be ready to go.....AND it will be strong.


SOME HINTS

When doing coldwater fish remove the HEAD before molding.  It makes it easier.  In fact it works on all fish but I don't really like to remove heads on most fish.

If you do remove the head VERY LITTLE work will be need to use the form.  If you leave the head on you will have to shape the head, collar bone and throat areas.

If you break or CRACK your mold DON'T FREAK OUT.  Just save the pieces.  When they are dry hot glue them in place and cover them with some cloth.   Remember this will be a form you can sand and rasp.  A little BLEMISH here and there is NOT IMPORTANT like it is on a REPRODUCTION mold.

You can add the wood block at any time.  However I find it easier to cut the form and put it in after it is cast.  they tend to move around if you do it prior.

Take your time the first couple until you get the hang of it.  It really is VERY QUICK after you know what your doing.  Almost automatic.

When pouring plaster make sure you mix enough.  If you fall short QUICKLY mix some more and get it poured before the first batch is fully set up.  Use your hands to smear the seams together.

You CAN use BONDO for your molds BUT it is more expensive and really the molds for these odd shaped fish are USELESS.

I have used CANNED FOAM for filling holes in your house.....it works BUT the form is much softer AND it is only good for pan fish sized forms.

PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE.  Like I said ACTUAL WORK time is negligible BUT WAITING until things have set up takes PATIENCE.  Don't wait until the last minute to do these.  If you can just let each step get properly set up you will have very little headaches.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 03:56:11 PM by Jim Tucker » Logged

OHIO TAXIDERMISTS ASSOCIATION - www.ohiotaxidermists.com
TomL
Bronze Member
**
Posts: 164

« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2008, 03:58:55 PM »

Thanks for the step by step.  I'll have to try this as my carving skills are not the best yet.
Logged
FishArt
Platinum Member
*****
Location: Shorewood, Illinois
Posts: 8199


Marty & Son Cass Lake Minnesota

WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2008, 05:09:28 PM »

Thanks for taking the time Jim. It's a bit more involved than I expected. Question - what about concerns of cooking the fish with the plaster? I would think some species it might cause premature breakdown of the skin and/or scale loss from the heat? What kind of two-part foam do you use?

Thanks again. I know it probably took more time to type this than if you would have made a body - lol!
Logged

"FishArt"
Marty Shimkus
Fish Specialties Taxidermy
Shorewood, Illinois
www.FishSpecialties.NET
Lisa M
Platinum Member
*****
Location: Rifle, Colorado
Posts: 5906


Swing like no one is watching...lol

« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2008, 05:35:21 PM »

JIM!  This totally belongs in the Tutorial section too!  Mind if I point it out to the Moderators & they move it over there?  It was very nice of you to take the time to write all this up!  Have you thought of adding pictures too?  Even without the pictures, you did a great job.  ;)  Thank you!
Logged

If you don't stand behind our soldiers, remember you are free to stand in front of them. 

My e-mail address is in my profile. Holler if you need to.
Jim Tucker
Platinum Member
*****
Posts: 2560


WWW
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2008, 06:59:30 PM »

Thanks for taking the time Jim. It's a bit more involved than I expected. Question - what about concerns of cooking the fish with the plaster? I would think some species it might cause premature breakdown of the skin and/or scale loss from the heat? What kind of two-part foam do you use?

It's not that involved just seems like it when you explain it.  If you have any experience in molding fins, heads, etc. it is easier than those.

I have never experienced any negative results when doing this to a fish.  I have even left them in the mold overnight before, although now I know it is not necessary.

As far as two part foam goes....I use whoever is the most convenient.

If I am making a Mackenzie order and I need foam I order it there...and so on.  Medium density is fine.
Logged

OHIO TAXIDERMISTS ASSOCIATION - www.ohiotaxidermists.com
Jim Tucker
Platinum Member
*****
Posts: 2560


WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2008, 07:00:49 PM »

JIM!  This totally belongs in the Tutorial section too!  Mind if I point it out to the Moderators & they move it over there?  It was very nice of you to take the time to write all this up!  Have you thought of adding pictures too?  Even without the pictures, you did a great job.  ;)  Thank you!

I don't care.  I figured this would be a common knowledge thing....guess not.

I don't have any photos....however if I do one next time I will take some.
Logged

OHIO TAXIDERMISTS ASSOCIATION - www.ohiotaxidermists.com
Kerby Ross
Platinum Member
*****
Location: Arizona
Posts: 6083


KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

WWW
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 10:04:50 PM »

Doesn't the plaster heat up and ruin the skin?

Thanks again.

:)

Kerby...

Logged



I'M NOT A TAXIDERMIST, BUT I PLAY ONE ON THE INTERNET
wildwings
Silver Member
***
Location: Fairmont, MN
Posts: 345


WWW
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2008, 12:19:36 AM »

I never had problems with the skin after doing the fish fill 1/2 cast method. Its about the same but just plaster on 1 side not both. Plus you cook the meat and have lunch after its set :) YUM Steamed fish.
Logged

FishArt
Platinum Member
*****
Location: Shorewood, Illinois
Posts: 8199


Marty & Son Cass Lake Minnesota

WWW
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2008, 07:34:08 AM »

Thanks again Jim. Just another tool in our arsenal to problem solve. I could see using this method on unusually shaped fish and it could also be cost-effective on very large fish...
Logged

"FishArt"
Marty Shimkus
Fish Specialties Taxidermy
Shorewood, Illinois
www.FishSpecialties.NET
Jim Tucker
Platinum Member
*****
Posts: 2560


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2008, 09:25:14 AM »

Doesn't the plaster heat up and ruin the skin?

no

I could see using this method on unusually shaped fish and it could also be cost-effective on very large fish...

The main use is for odd fish.....like ever had someone bring in a Pacu??

« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 05:18:29 PM by Jim Tucker » Logged

OHIO TAXIDERMISTS ASSOCIATION - www.ohiotaxidermists.com
Scrubby
Platinum Member
*****
Posts: 1090


« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2008, 10:08:05 AM »

great post Jim
Logged
al from sc
Platinum Member
*****
Location: Lexington..S.C.
Posts: 1038


« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2008, 11:56:06 AM »

Thanx for sharing,your time and talent.......
Logged
Pages: [1] Print 
Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Tutorials  |  Topic: Casting your Own Foam Body-instead of carving « previous next »
 



Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP
Contents © 2006-2012 Taxidermy.Net, LLC. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy.
Powered by SMF 2.0.6 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.095 seconds with 20 queries.