Don't laugh folks, this is serious stuff

Submitted by mrdux on 6/27/06 at 9:05 AM. ( mrdux@refugemail.com ) 70.157.247.26

I recently had 3 fish brought in for mounting by a guy who was vacationing here. He and his father are from South Africa and great folks. The fish were 2- 6 pound stripers and a 17.5 lb smallmouth buffalo which looks very much like a carp. As I explained the mounting process I would use, I went into detail how I would cast a head and fins and use the real body skins. The son was very curious as to why? I explained the oily problems with stripers and the shrinkage that was sure to happen in the mouth and other areas of the buffalo. They are also aware that I have never mounted a carp or buffalo. When they left the studio I was convinced that they were fine with my techniques. A few days later I got a call from the son and he says he does't want any cast parts on the fish, he wants all original parts used. I'm in a quanadry now. I have full skin mounted stripers and after taking extreme measures to get all tissues out of the heads and body, ended up with nice mounts. This buffalo is another story! I would appreciate any input as to how you would proceed on the buffalo and any tips on dealing with such a skin mount. I have actually considered injecting Masters Blend into the fleshy mouth areas but again have never done this. I guess there are some jobs we should consider turning away but as a relative newcomer to taxidermy in my area and being one of very few that does fish, I don't want to turn away a chance to do something new and keep the bills paid at the same time. Thanks.

Return to Fish Taxidermy Category Menu


Stick to your guns

This response submitted by sbetkoski on 6/27/06 at 10:33 AM. ( sbetkoski@sbcglobal.net ) 192.152.243.237

your the expert here, not these guys.Again explain to them the consequences of using some of the real body parts on these fish, and maybe remind them that you don't use the real eyes or the body either for the same reasons .


its really very simple...

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 6/27/06 at 11:30 AM. ( ) 67.138.10.129

I believe you know what youll need to do, and are just looking for additional advice, so here is my take. I would think, well, I know how it SHOULD be done. If they want skin only, and thats not how I should do it, I can only tell them no, Im not interested in doing the procedure that way, and be further ahead for it. BUT...if you still want to add it to your list, and do a new species, then Id get some extras to test or practice on before committing to the customer fish as practice. Like I said, I would politely decline the job as they dictate it.


Hmmmmmm...maybe this would work...

This response submitted by Dennis on 6/27/06 at 12:02 PM. ( ) 68.77.244.246

As you said, those stripers are no problem. The buffalo, like a carp, is a maze of cartilage and junk inside the head. If you are careful in skinning not to lose any large scales, you might try cutting off the head, and cleaning and degreasing it separately. Dry it on the form with the skin so it all fits, take it off, grind, scrape, or blast out any remaining gunk, and cover the whole thing with Envirotex lite or some other epoxy product, like Rinehart's trout head grease stop. Another option might be freeze drying the head then sealing it before attachment. I don't skin mount carp, and won't, but I would charge them more than the usual rates for their request. If you cast the head first, you can always fall back on it and heave to real head to show the bloke why it is unusable. I have done this with fish caudal fins when they were so shredded that I had to cast my own to replace them, and when the customer sees what they would have had ( I save and dry them "as is") they understand.
It is worth a try if you like to experiment, and if you cast the head, you don't have much to lose.


Mr. Dux

This response submitted by Frank E Kotula on 6/27/06 at 12:34 PM. ( basswtrout@msn.com ) 72.79.144.159

Personally I would stick to what the contract said. Now if they are really insisting on doing a totally skin with real fins, that's fine. Now I will explain to them being there is a change in the contract and since my normal procedures are being changed I must inform you of a price change. I would explain that the quality of work I do is top nocth and casting saves me time and money in getting a high quality job done. Using a real head and fins I must do a lot of rebuilding to get this quality up to par. There is way to much shrinkage in the head and fins so I must charge you for this.
From there then let them make a choice. Once a contract is being changed there has to be either a lower price because of less quality in products or a higher price because of the time.


You are the taxidermist and you make the decision!

This response submitted by Kim on 6/27/06 at 12:44 PM. ( ) 69.171.240.121

First of all, you learned a valuable lesson. Be a$$ured that you know what is best. As a taxidermist, you should not try to over educate the customer on your methods. My honest tip and advice is for you to use the best techniques that you KNOW about... In other words: Mount the fish as you normally would!

IF you feel that you HAVE TO do something that will give less than desired results and could very well cast a bad shadow on your reputation by changing your techniques EXACTLY as the customer requests, always charge three or more times the standard rate you charge.

After all, who really is the taxidermist? It is YOU and NOT the customer, right?

Good luck!


my advise

This response submitted by Jim Marsico on 6/27/06 at 2:06 PM. ( ) 71.32.156.208

Shipping those fish mounts to South Africa is also going to be a story. Most every package gets opened and inspected arriving into SA and a "huge" percentage of items inside become "missing" forever. I would either mount them as I always have and say nothing except heres the balance for the nice job I did or give him the deposit back and get out of the continueing problem this whole job will always be.


You'll learn -- we all do

This response submitted by Cecil 64.184.41.234 on 6/27/06 at 11:14 PM. ( ) 64.184.41.17

After so many years you will learn to keep your mouth shut, stand your ground, or spot an customer that's going to be a pain the butt as soon as he or she open's their mouth. And I've also learned to avoid certain things that just slowed me down.

No offense meant mrdux just telling it like it is.

I still remember one call I got back when I was doing deerheads. I had a call from a customer that thought I was going to beg him to do his deer mount or something. Little did he know I was buried in them and was considering turing them away.

Anyway he calls and talks like he's a big shot and wasn't sure if he would have me do his deermount, and if I'd give a a deal yada yada yada. He went on and one and I just listened. Finally I was able to get a word in. I said, "I really have all the deer mounts I want to do this year and I'm gong to have to turn you down." I swear I could year the disapointment and embarassment in the silence before he spoke again. LOL


My advise

This response submitted by Steinar on 6/28/06 at 3:53 AM. ( steinark@internet.is ) 194.144.89.150

I totaly agree Bill Yox, just tell them that they can put the items in the trah efter 3-4 years if you dont do it the way you will, very simple.
Like allways just be honest and if the dont buy that from you the expert, the I wouldent do this work.
Hopfully it will go well for you
Steinar


mrdux

This response submitted by Laurier on 6/28/06 at 10:18 AM. ( houlel@onlink.net ) 209.105.209.164

mount them send it to HIS shipping brocker
( it will not get lost this way ) if you know what to do.

Use Zinc Sulphate to tan fish

1gal water
1 Lbs salt per gal
4 oz zinc sulphate per gal

I've used this for years on salmon and trout , never had a problem.
And we do a lot of fish.

only my opinion.


Yup

This response submitted by Dave on 6/29/06 at 6:45 PM. ( ) 67.177.25.25

I agree wuth Kim! You are the pro. Don't let the costomer "bully" you around. AND NEVER GIVE OUT TO MUCH INFORMATION!


Yup

This response submitted by Dave on 6/29/06 at 6:49 PM. ( ) 67.177.25.25

I agree wuth Kim! You are the pro. Don't let the costomer "bully" you around. AND NEVER GIVE OUT TO MUCH INFORMATION! The average Joe, has no idea how a "critter" is mounted. I ask them what way they would like the fish done, and how much habitat they want. I do give them ideas on what looks good, and they see what I have in the studio. Never tell them how you do your work! Just do the job as you normaly do, and have them pick it up, and all is good.


Yup

This response submitted by Dave on 6/29/06 at 6:51 PM. ( ) 67.177.25.25

I agree wuth Kim! You are the pro. Don't let the costomer "bully" you around. AND NEVER GIVE OUT TO MUCH INFORMATION! The average Joe, has no idea how a "critter" is mounted. I ask them what way they would like the fish done, and how much habitat they want. I do give them ideas on what looks good, and they see what I have in the studio. Never tell them how you do your work! Just do the job as you normaly do, and have them pick it up, and all is good.


Return to Fish Taxidermy Category Menu