I went to taxidermy school last summer and mounted a few salmon and trout for myself soon after. I'm finally getting caught up with my customers and checked them a few weeks ago and they are still greasing. They taught us in school to soak them overnight in water and borax. I tried wiping them down with mineral spirits, but were greasing again a few days later. I just tried rubbing the borax on the grease spots. I'm not using the real heads, just skin. Is there any way to save them, and what would be a better way to preserve them.
If I put them in front of a fan for a few days will that be enough. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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...and depending on the fish size, you may wish to cast the fins and tail.
Borax is a preservative, not a degreaser. If you wish to use Minseral Spirits to remove grease, soak the skins overnight in it. Then rinse and soak in water and Dawn detergent. Repeat this latter process until you don't feel the greasy M.S. anymore. NOW, put the skins in the preservative (borax solution). Wiping down with Mineral Spirits is only scratching the surface. You need to soak them in something that penetrates the skin and will actually pull out some grease...
Most of us know better Just a borax solution without degreasing first in mineral spirits, or some other grease cutter is courting disaster unless they are really small trout -- where you may be able to get away with Dawn or something.
Now that it's too late to resoak the skins I would try a stronger solvent like acetone or lacquer thinner. Wipe down repeatedly and use a clean piece of paper towel each time you do so. Let them set for a while to see if any more grease comes out. If so wipe again. Placing them in a warm area may coax the grease out, however, it may be a losing proposition.
Bright side is these were your fish and not a customer's and you can learn from this.
I may get flack for this but for the life of me I have to wonder what in the heck some of these so called schools are teaching. Most of my students have already attended a school which should tell us something.
I don't think they're mounted already?
I too was going to give Nic grief about the "school" he went to along with practicing on customer's mounts. BUT, I'm trying to be more POSITIVE these days (Yeah, I know, didn't notice a difference did you? LOL!)
If they're not mounted you can still go back and soak them overnight in M.S.'s and it should pull some grease out. At least you certainly don't have anything to lose at this point...
He has already mounted them.
"I went to taxidermy school last summer and mounted a few salmon and trout for myself soon after. I'm finally getting caught up with my customers and checked them a few weeks ago and they are still greasing."
How would they still be "greasing" in the solution?
I have noticed you're more positive Marty! Are you sick or something? LOL
I just re-read the original post. And you are correct again in that acetone is probably the only thing that'll help at this point.
Well, just thought of something else. Assuming they are already mounted. And assuming you did a decent job of getting the meat off the skin (I know, maybe a bad assumption - lol!). The only places that it SHOULD be leaching oils would be the fin bases and tail. You could simply cut these off, cast new ones and replace to salvage your customers mounts. And continue wiping down the skin w/acetone and yes put it in front of a fan. Do this until it leaches no more.
Cecil, you'd be AMAZED at how much better your mood gets when you finally pass a 4.5mm kidney stone! It IS amazing how such a tiny thing could bring a man down! I've been told that a kidney stone is MORE painful than giving birth. (Now, of course that info was from another MAN - lol!)
Got your message about degreasers. This is the formula that I have used for over 10-15 years:
4gal.semi lukewarm water (75 degrees)
Any bactericide- try 4oz Bollmans
1½ cup Dawn dish soap
¼ cup ammonia
Soak cleaned & fleshed skin 4 hrs rinse in lukewarm water and soak in tan solution.
King salmon & Lakers soak 6 hrs.
I have tested and compared it to Polytranspar's solvent, Bollman's Grease Buster and even Colmans camp fuel. I was amazed at how much better it worked than these others! I haven't tried however, Epo-Grip's, Rittels solvent, or either of Knobloch's degreasers.
Jeff Lumsden • Still Life Studio • 425.353.9884