Steelhead Dorsal fin damage

Submitted by wesjara on 11/27/05 at 5:56 PM. ( )

I just received a beautiful Steelhead mount from a taxidermist I used.
Unfortunately, the dorsal fin was damaged when it was shipped. The fin was bent & cracked but is still on. The taxidermist I used is moving to Oregon & will be jammed up trying to finish all mounts outstanding to his customers.

I would like to repair it myself & was hoping that there was an easy solution or glue that can be used.

Can anyone help or offer advise?


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This response submitted by bruce on 11/27/05 at 6:57 PM. ( )

to cecil. use your real name though or he wont talk to you.

If the break is clean why not gel super glue?

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/27/05 at 7:16 PM. ( )

But don't use so much it will run where you don't want it. Briefly put some heat on it from a blow dry to get the glue to set faster. If it's bent apply some clear tape to the back to straighten it out after gluing. If painting is involved I'm afraid it may be above your head.

Inquire at a local taxidermist that does a lot of fish. I've actually fixed something like this as the customer waits.

Super glue

This response submitted by wesjara on 11/27/05 at 7:31 PM. ( )


Thanks for the response!

Is gel super glue a brand or is there one in specific that should be used?

Just use regular Super Glue!

This response submitted by marty on 11/27/05 at 9:39 PM. ( )

Cecil always gets WAY too technical - lol!

Just use regular Super Glue. Gently open up the crack and apply a drop or two and bring the fin back together. Immediately wipe off any excess glue with a paper towel and after holding for 30 seconds or so, it should be set.

Now, if the damage is anything beyond that you might be better off taking it to another taxidermist to finish the repair. Or if you do need to blend some paint you can attempt to do it yourself. BUT, 1)Do you feel comfy matching the color? 2) If you don't have paint, it might be cheaper to take to a pro. What I was getting at is many times you don't need to airbrush any paint to fix a cracked fin. Manytimes I'll take an artists brush and sparingly brush some paint over the bad areas to blend. Also, keep in mind that the dorsal is going to be pretty high up on the wall and subtle issues will not be visible to the viewers...

Almost forgot...

This response submitted by marty on 11/27/05 at 9:43 PM. ( )

...IF the damage is anything more than a small crack or two, I recommend taking it to a taxidermist to fix. Reason being is because you'll probably need to re-gloss the fin to help hide things as well. So now, you'd have paint and gloss ($) into it and it would probably be cheaper to have a pro do it.

FYI, fin repairs should be no-brainers for any taxidermist worth a grain of salt. And should only run you about $25 bucks if the fin is salvageable. Not a whole heck of a lot more if it needs to be replaced. It's a relatively easy fix...

Gee Marty I'm so honored

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/28/05 at 9:34 AM. ( )

that you always edit my posts. After all you're too good to compete. LOL

As well you should be Cecil - lol!

This response submitted by marty on 11/28/05 at 11:04 AM. ( )

Enlighten me - why the Gel vs. regular Super Glue?

Personally, I use Zap-a-gap for everything. Which, I believe is pretty much regular Super Glue. I like it because it lasts quite a while w/o the hole getting clogged up. And, it's dirt cheap...

Because gel doesn't run as easily Marty

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/28/05 at 12:05 PM. ( )

It's easier to apply as little as you want, but with the runny superglue you can easily overdo it and get it in places you do not want and screw up the finish. Comprende? verstehen? comprendere? comprenez?

And yes I too suggested he take it to a taxidermist if it's more complicated. Funny how we repeat ourselves on here.

With all respect, I'm going with Marty on this one.......

This response submitted by Dave on 11/28/05 at 12:39 PM. ( )

In my opinion, with a fin break or a skin tear for that matter, you want the cyanoacrylate glue to flow into the break (into the interior fin ray stucture itself if possible) so that it sort of plasticizes the joint in a more thorough bond. It is also easier to build the repair up on the back side in a flowing manner so that it doesn't look too globby.

Gel CA pretty much sits on the surface and therefore the bond is surface-oriented at best. Remember that cyanoacrylate glue has a relatively low sheer strength, so penetration of the glue is desirable for strength.

For careful application, you don't have to apply the glue with the applicator tip. Just drip a little puddle onto something that is smooth and hard and then use a pin to pick up a small drop of it and apply it where it is needed.

If you are a tool junkie, here is a nifty little device to control application of flowable CA:

I do use the gel CA occasionally when I need a larger gap filled quickly (using CA accelerator) and usually after the area has been penetrated with a flowable CA.

Oh comeone guys

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/28/05 at 1:58 PM. ( )

If the fin has a break in you should be able to bend it open enough to get the gel in. It's not rocket science. This is getting silly -- what's going on here - a one up Cecil contest?


This response submitted by marty on 11/28/05 at 2:03 PM. ( )

...I don't even agree with your comment that the gel stuff is easier to apply! I figured you use the gel because it doesn't flow as easily (which is what I don't want in the above situation!) BUT, I couldn't figure out (and still can't) WHY you'd want the thicker stuff in the above application. Sorry, don't agree.

Try Zap-a-Gap Cecil if you're having trouble applying too much of the easy flow stuff. I have no problems releasing as little as one drop at a time with the Zap stuff. Then, all you do is wipe off any excess with a paper towel. And since the gel stuff doesn't flow as much (as Dave metioned), you'll have less to wipe off as well. (I'm sure you'll stick with your stuff though because you are one STUBBORN dude!)

Also, why bother with the heat? The Superglue sets up in about 30 seconds and is completely dry in less than 5 minutes.

This is why sometimes I'll jump in and offer my two-cents Cecil. Your advice sometimes is WAY too complicated. Job security? (LOL)

internal glue splint

This response submitted by whatever on 11/28/05 at 4:47 PM. ( )

I assumed that the break would be split open at first for application of the glue, and didn't mean that it would be just an exterior surface application.

The point was that when the flowable CA penetrates, I mean that it will penetrate up into both of the open ends of the broken fin ray and basically provide a sort of longer internal splint (than just putting gel on the ends of the break) for additional strength when it sets. (It works very well if it is a larger fin and it has some slight open structure within the fin ray.) That's what I mean by plasticizing the fin ray. This might give it back some of what the original fin ray had and not sheer real easy if the fin is bumped. The type that works real well is actually much thinner than what Marty uses. Woodcarvers also use this type of CA to strengthen very thin fins carved out of wood.

Just trying to add some additional info to the archives beyond the additional question.....

Thank you!

This response submitted by Wesjara on 11/28/05 at 5:59 PM. ( )

Thanks again!
After reading everyone's comments, I've decided to take it to a taxidermist to make sure the crack is repaired correctly.

I appreciate the help!

Great forum.


This response submitted by marty on 11/28/05 at 7:23 PM. ( )

(it worked guys!)...

If it's just cracked...

This response submitted by Craig on 11/29/05 at 6:56 PM. ( )

glue it with some zap-a-gap and then coat both sides with sobo glue, modgepodge, or any other white glue that dries clear. If paint is missing then the route to the taxidermist should be an option.

This ain't rocket science.

So, Craig,

This response submitted by Dave on 11/29/05 at 9:55 PM. ( )

you want this guy with the broken fin to glue the crack and then coat the fin with a white glue. Is it possible that the white glue is going to bead up over the gloss that his taxidermist put on the fin? He might need a little more info on that one...

And on a lighter note, I - just - don't - see - how discussing the merits of different viscosities of super glue in one's work and the possible merits of said use in certain situations, as well as careful application of them, qualifies even remotely as rocket science. Cecil likes gel from his perspective of ease of use, Marty likes medium from his perspective of ease of use, and some folks like 'em all for different reasons because they're gluin' SOB's.

Many people can get by in life with one screwdriver. Some like to have the right one for the job. That ain't rocket science either...

Well, Dave...

This response submitted by Craig on 11/30/05 at 3:13 PM. ( )

speakin' from experience here. I just fixed one that got knocked off the baitshop wall(don't you hate it when that happens) and had three broken fins. The Sobo glue worked fine and had no residual problems with any underlying layers. It was brushed on over laquer clear coat in numerous coatings and it turned out just fine. idid have to repaint some areas so I even went as far as to regloss the whole fish without any problems.


This response submitted by Dave on 11/30/05 at 7:58 PM. ( )

Sounds like your Sobo glue is the perfect consistency. Some of the white glue that I have used is a little thin when it is from a fresh batch (even if shaken well) and tends to bead up quite a bit. I actually have a partial container of some other white fin coating material that has thickened up a little and is perfect also, so I have kind of set that one aside just for such purposes.

I have had both good and bad luck with glossing over the glue within a day or so, with one of the polyurethane finishes (Lifetone) giving the most problems. Once in awhile I'll also get a gallon of Polytranspar lacquer gloss that seems "hotter" than others and it will want to creep through the recently dried white glue and cause a little bit of a problem, but for the most part I'm in full agreement with you about lacquer properly applied not being a problem.

Glad to hear you got that bait shop fish back up to specs!

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