scales poping up

Submitted by John on 6/8/01. ( )

when I mount trout the scales seem to life after the fish
is dry
why is that is it becouse I pull the skin to tight or what
need your input

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This response submitted by John on 6/8/01. ( )

the scales seem to lift why is that

Fit and water/oils

This response submitted by Elmer on 6/8/01. ( )

John if the skin is stretched onto a form that is to big that will happen. Also make sure you smooth all wrinkles and wipe it down to ensure all water is removed from the scale pockets so they lay naturally. Make sure the fish skin is properly degreased. Hope this helps.

Curling on the edges?

This response submitted by John C on 6/8/01. ( )

This is because the skin has water in it. Try a hide paste like WASCO hide glue premixed. this will help hold the skin in place and dry with a fan.

Possible fixes for lifted scales.

This response submitted by David Campbell on 6/10/01. ( )

Lifted scales can be broken down into two basic types:

1) Those that have lifted due to a twisting or stretching disruption in the scale pocket. As said above by others, this can be due to rough handling during skinning and fleshing, or overstretching the skin while mounting it on a form. These scales can be identified not by the fact that the outer edge has lifted, but by the scale being cupped or folded from top to bottom. These types of scale pocket distortions can be seen immediately after the fish is mounted and still wet. If I have been a little heavy-handed or stretched a little too much in one area, I'll deal with them right away and remove them if necessary on the still wet, mounted fish by stabbing them with a pin and pulling them out rearward, because there usually isn't that many even in extreme cases. If you let the fish dry first, try to iron them down, and/or cut off or remove the most unruly ones if there aren't that many. Mostly these will show up on the apex of a curvature such as on the peak of the back.

2) Those scales that the edges have lifted or curled on the outside edge, such as John C mentioned. This can be due to several of the above factors in lesser degrees of rough handling, but for the most part I believe that it is simply a factor of the life-history stage that a coldwater fish is in. The brighter feeder fish will have very thin skin and scales with a very thin layer of skin over the top of them near the outer edges. These very thin layers are subjected to raising, almost feathering, effects that a dark spawner will not. Sometimes this feathering will show up immediately, sometimes not for a week or even longer if the fish is allowed to dry for a longer duration, and sometimes it won't show up until water from hands and epoxy contacts it during finish work.

There is a sure-fire way to take care of these feathered scale edges that have already happened on a dried fish, and eliminate them from raising later on.

The first step is to lightly dry sand the fish from top to bottom with 220 grit, blow it off, and then give it a quick wipe-down with acetone. (During the sanding stage, the scale edges may appear more feathered, but that is okay.) Using Lifetone Basecoat Sealer, hand brush the sealer in a moderate coat over the entire fish skin, forcing it under the scale edges if necessary. As the sealer begins to soak up into the skin and dry, lightly drag the brush from head to tail over the skin to pop any bubbles, distibute the excess, and encourage the scales edges to lay down. The purpose of this water-based sealer is that it will penetrate the skin and slightly soften the scales and glue them down. When it is completely dry, any edges that are still up will be very easy to trim off, sand off, or iron down. At this stage with one dry coat of sealer on it, sanding will be very nice because material will come off in powder rather than flakes. If the first coat took care of everything, great, if not you can put another coat on, and I usually wait till the tail end after I have all finish work done.

I have used several products for this (it has to be water-based to take advantage of the penetrating and softening function) but I have always come back to the Lifetone Basecoat Sealer product, regardless of what brand of paint I may use or type of paint (lacquer or water).

Another advantage of sealing the fish with this material right away after uncarding and coating fins is that any water on your hands or any water from smoothing epoxy will not be absorbed by the fish skin, so there will be no swelling of the dried fish skin due to uneven water absorption in the modeled areas or greater chance of scales raising from the edges being lifted from the water.

I have tried applying the sealer as soon as I detected the skin to be mostly dry but not completely dry (this works also), however, I prefer to apply it as described because of the finishing techniques that I employ.

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