I did a steelhead about a month ago and used an artificial head. The fish looked great but after a month the bondo cracked around the head. I've seen this on other mounts now and then. What causes this and is there an easy fix other than sanding it down and starting over ?
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There can be a ton of reasons why this happens, skin not totally dry, poor way of how the head was attached, it wat hit, etc.
The best way to attach a head is to use a good epoxy or expandable foam. Also depening on the size and weight I just might run a wire into the body and head for better support.
A simple fix is to mix up some epoxy and smooth over the problem area. A simple touch up with paint and gloss and it's ready to hang.
If you seen this on other mounts then I would seriously look at the way those heads are going on. Till this day I have yet ran into this problem. I have seen some type of seperation when I first used to use water to smooth out the head junction. The problem was the water was actually ryhdrating the skin and when it dried it pulled a bit. No more water and no more slight split, but this only happened as the epoxy set not after the paint job.
NOT AN ADHESIVE. Use the right stuff and it won't ever crack.
It sounds to me as though you didn't properly degrease your fish and probably didn't allow a long enough dry time. I dry my fish a minimum of two weeks before begining any apoxie work. Longer on the large greasers. I truly believe that these were the root of your problems.
Stop trying to use bondo as an adhesive and you many not see the problem again. I use minimum expandable foam in a can found at any hardware store and don't have any problems with cracking. After a 24 hour cure I smooth out the junction with apoxie sculpt and may go over it one more time with the apoxie scuplt after the first coat is dry. Then after the second application of apoxie sculpt I sand with very fine sand paper and seal and paint.
The guys above hit the nail on the trout head. Use epoxy to blend the artifical head to the body. I usually use appoxie sculpt or smooth out and don't try to get it perfect. Then come back the next day and fill the divots in with bondo but never let the bondo touch the fish skin. That's a crack waiting to happen. Eventually the skin will move due to temperature or humidity and you have a crack in your head.