I just mounted my first fish (largemouth).It is drying right now and doesn't look too bad.However,just today,I noticed that the show side cheek has started shrinking at the bottom-no big deal I think i can fix it with epoxie.The problem is there is a small ridge there that will make things difficult.Can i rehydrate this area and rework the mache without redoing the whole fish or is my best bet epoxie work? I know what happened( I pushed too much mache up when flattening the cheeks)and the fish has been drying for five days(in a damp environment-the mache was workable for a couple of days).I also poked holes in the bottoms to relieve excess fluid so I don't think that was the problem.
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Dave, sounds like your on the right track. Once your mount has dried, rebuild the shrunken areas with appoxie sculp, all game,or whatever choice of epoxy you prefer. You did say that it is in kind of a damp environment, you may want to put your mount in front of a fan to speed the drying time up. Use good reference photos, and have fun with it. Good luck, Kent
If by some chance there was still a little meat left in the bottom of the cheek that could cause shrinkage too.Be sure to make sure the cheek is cleaned out as much as possible and if the fish is big enough run you finger in the eye socket and feel for any remnants.
Be sure to initially over fill your cheek to eliminate air pockets (another way part of the cheek can collapse) and then push the excess out the eye socket when flattening the cheek.
Although there will always be some shrinkage on a skin mount it's better to eliminate those things you can control rather than build them up with epoxy later. In otherwords, doing it right the first time will eliminate redundant work later.
Cecil is right about what caused the shrinkage. But to answer your question, you can rehydrade the area by soaking a towel and applying it to the area. You will have to remove the mache, and clean out the meat that is causing the problem then. It won't be fun or easy, but is doable. Next fish will have super clean cheeks I bet.
How about using plaster of paris in the cheek. It will dry really fast with not much shrinkage. Its important to watch the drying process and rebuild with epoxy and use great reference, like a fresh fish.