Sunday morning questions(SMQ's) part 35
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Rick Krane
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« on: October 21, 2006, 09:11:27 PM »

Week 35  I Know it is still Saturday as I post his SMQ's segment #35 but I won't be around to post later! LOL! So its a little early!

Good Sunday Morning! We have a Special Mega CD give away this week for new participates only this week. This doesn'tt mean that the faithful will not contribute! I would have a lot of emails to answer to try and explain where Frank, Ken, Terry, UFD (Dave C) and the rest are! Every time one of the main contributes doesn'tt show up there is a panic! LOL! Not really but some of you have a big following for sure!

Fall is full fledged in the air and the deer are coming into the shops! Are you caught up on your fish work? Did you have a good fish year? No these arent the questions this week but just checking in with you.

This weeks winner of the Mega CD is Longbow of parts unknown (well I know) LOL! Congratulation Longbow! This week there will not be a question for a Mega CD of fish photos however if you have never posted before I will give on of these 250 plus photo CD to a new poster on the SMQs this is how it will work. In the beginning of your answers tot the questions post that you have never posted before and this is your first time and then pick a number between 1-101 and the person closes to the number I have already chosen will win! I have submitted the number already to Bill Yox! He can't be bought or Bribed! LOL!

1. When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success!

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all?

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall.

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this?

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices?

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process?

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%?


 Give it a shot!
 
Any one who emails me personally with the answers will get a few free reference photos from my personal collection. I still want you to answer here so other can benefit form your input on this topic line.

It is all because of you and your awesome replies this has become so successful!
From beginners to the seasoned pro's every one contributes and all benefit from your great experiences! Let see if I we can get more responses on the forum as well as in my email. I will give you some free fish reference photos for the asking just for contributing! As always I just think your answers are so good more and more contribute on here for all see!
My Best and have fun with this!

Rick Krane
Anglers Artistry
312 Chesterfield Rd
Hinsdale, NH 03451
603.336.7296




« Last Edit: October 22, 2006, 10:32:20 AM by Rick Krane » Logged

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Richard C
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2006, 11:04:04 PM »

It's not Sunday yet, only 11:04 pm Saturday
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Ken D
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2006, 11:16:28 PM »

Hehe...caught up on your "fishwork"?   ;D
Couldnt resist!
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Ken D
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2006, 12:33:17 AM »

Rick...thanks again, buddy. This is one thing I look foreward to every week and we sincerely appreciate the time you take to bring this to everyone here on the net. Have a great week everyone!
Heres my take...

1.When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in
your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you
handle fish with success!

Not sure I understand the question but skin mounting is fine. Its pretty
simple but definitely comes with its challenges.
OK...now I get it...I wasnt sure what you were looking for last night...you wanted to know best method. :-[  I used to fill when I started, then went to commercial forms for years. I now prefer to use a carved form...See Taxidermy in Focus Bluegill article.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you
find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for
you.

I can control a lacquer vehicle betterI have used water based paints and Im sure that its healthier to do so, but  I have had   
more problems in my airbrush with it, particularly for detail work. I still use it for T Shirts and craftwork but I use lacquer for taxidermy. I use Lifetone primarily and have for years. Not because it is necessarily any better than, say, PolytransparI just have gotten used to the tones. All of this I think comes down to what you are comfortable with.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all?

No usually with a skin mounted fish, I leave them on. If Im careful, no reason to remove them. If I am using cast fins, obviously they come off right away.

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall.

I use a what works for the situation. I like using an appropriate sized  square stock for bass size fish. I will make a 1 to 2 inch bondo keyhole in the form before I mount the fish. Using my notes, I can find the keyhole after the fish dries and cut it out. With the square stock mounted and extending from the rock , I can  (carefully) test fit the stock into the keyhole. If it is a good fit (and it should be if I used the stock to make my keyhole), I can put some hot glue or epoxy into the hole and slide it in when Im ready for the final attachment. There are a lot of way to do this.

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this?

Looksno difference IMHOthat said, I am right handed and right turned fish are easier for me to mount. I usually put the  thumb and middle finger of my left hand  in the eye sockets and in my right hand I grip the form behind the anal  and spiny dorsal area and work the head into place. Its a little more awkward for me the other way but not too big of a deal. I do give an option. Its their fish and I tend to look more at the quality of each side and steer them based on that alone if they have no preference.

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices?

When the cost of doing business or the cost of living goes up!

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?
Ill be honestI have mounted some huge stripersa lot of them and the standard was skin mount all the way. Im not that confident with natural heads, although thats all I did for years.  Most that I have seen locally still look good with no grease bleed, but I do know that it is a potential sore spot on someones wall. I will probably stick to cast heads for the bigger guys. Other than that, no issues.

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process?
Mostly silicone caulk. I use a toothpick to scoop up a small amount , set it where I want it and pull the toothpick straight up. I have used other mediums but this is the simplest method for me.

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?

I have skin mounted a pile of saltwater fish, but limited to only a couple of speciesSpeckled trout, Redfish and a couple of chub species. I think they pose the same challenges as the Stripersreally oily fish. Specks have vertically running tendons that are very difficult to remove from the skin and can be problematic as well. Recommend cast heads on the redfish.

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%?

I used to pitch 6 to 8 months on everythingbass or bear. Expect the worst and hope for the best. I usually have no problem meeting my goalprobably 100% of the time on fishfish do tend to go out quicker but I still quote the same. With a full time full service business, its tough to do when you have several freezers full of everything on the planet.. Fortunately, I dont have that problem at the moment!
« Last Edit: October 22, 2006, 10:24:08 AM by fishwork » Logged

Perca
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2006, 08:17:52 AM »

1. When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success!
A; I carve their bodies out of low density foam. That foam can be sanded fit to a skin in very little time. I glue in a piece of paneling to accept the screws  for the hanger.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you.
A; I use water colors. Safety is a big concern, and while I do think lacquers produce a superior result, the difference is not great enough for the risks.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all?
A; I do both at times. I occassionally remove the fins if they don't align with the body after drying.

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall.
A; I countersink a couple of deck screws into the backing if I use one. I almost always just install a mountmate on the fish to allow the option of displaying it by itself. Very few of my fish go out the door with a backing like rocks or roots.

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this?
A; This is a repeat of a SMQ question many months ago. The customer gets the choice but I like to be given the option of choosing which side is free of flaws.

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices?
A; When the new year rolls around...every year.

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?
A; Never done one but from what I've heard I'd want to do replicas of any size. Of course, I doubt I'd convince a customer of that. My customers want skin mounts 98.3% of the time.

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process?
A; Still looking for something that will make a big tooth(salmon, pike, walleye) and not sag or turn yellow after a few weeks...eh? I use silicone caulk for small teeth. I too use a toothpick to dip, touch and pull but I pull at something like a 45 degree angle to the posterior. Having ALL of the teeth slant toward the rear is a big deal for me.

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?
A; Never do saltwater fishes.

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%?
A; I offer completion in 6 months.  I've had many done in half that time and have delivered 100% on it.
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Fish often, leave the barbs on, keep some to eat or mount, and apologize to no one.
CJ Herring
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2006, 09:53:56 AM »

New Poster here and I pick # 35 as per 1 to 101.

1. When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success!

I personally like to stuff these type of fish with fish filler if I can. Before skinning I will mold the fish in plaster to get a body shape, then skin out. When I fill them back up the skin will be in the mold so I do not over stuff. Any imperfections can be fixed after with epoxy sculpt after the fish is dried.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you.

I use water based paints . The main reason is safety, although water base inhaled paint pigments can be just as dangerous.  All my fish painting is done with water base paints . I do not have an adequate ventilation system and this is the reason I have chosen water base over lacquer. There are down sides to water base though. Number one is it dries slower IMO then  lacquer based . As far as brands go I like and use WASCOs PolyTranspar .

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all?

Nope, they all stay on. Only the head is removed. The only time I remove fins is when I am doing a fish restoration project.

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall.

All fish are wire hung. I drill a 2 hole on the back side of fish. I take the appropriate size wire for fish in question and make an L bend on one end. This end is inserted into the drilled hole and pushed to one side of hole so L part drives into foam, under back side of fish skin. Hole is filled with bondo after. I then drill a hole into the habitat base the size of the wire. Insert wire with fish attached through wire hole in habitat. Secure wire in habitat by running a sheet rock screw along side of wire from back side of base. Always have enough room behind fish, so you can grab wire with a pair of pliers , to adjust fish position, by bending wire. 

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this?

Not my call ! Its what the customer wants. I always ask the customer, exactly were in their house will fish be hung. How will fish be viewed . Example, will it be viewed mostly by passing traffic or will be viewed head on. You must ask these questions when someone brings in a fish.

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices?

Increase in material cost along with higher shipping costs is one big factor. Then you have increase in overhead costs not to mention an increase in living expenses. But you must keep your eye on the competition too. This will influence your price also. If all my competition starts rising their prices, I will too. I do not want people coming to my shop just because I am cheaper. I want them their because they have confidence in my work.

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?

Never mounted  a striper and cannot answer.


8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process?

Never reproduced teeth and I am assuming you are talking about a reproduction head. I think in 10 years I used one repo head and the customer could have cared less if the tiny teeth were back in since it was a closed mouth head.

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?

I do not do salt water fish.

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%?

6 months guaranteed and I have a 100% success rate on that deal. Most customers that come in feel anything within 1 year is acceptable . I do not , as I must eat !



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Frank E. Kotula
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2006, 10:35:40 AM »

Sorry for being late today but my son got his first deer yesterday we me his dad LOL. What a day, though it was a long and hard trail to follow, we ended up getting it and of course a long and great night we had to enjoy this deer.
Oh my son is 22 and has hunted archery for 10 years miss quite a few LOL. Besides that I don't know how was more a kid out there him or I ;D

1. When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success!
I really don't mount small fish. I will tell the client why doing a reproduction of it is better and will last longer. I do make a cast of their fish.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? I use both now. No real reason yet, just trying different options to this type of work.
 Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you.
I'm a polytranspar fan and will always stand by them, next to that wildlife colors and then lifetone.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? I will remove all fins and head before I skin out the fish. I find that so much quicker and easier.
If no do you remove the fins at all?

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? I use an all thread to attach all my fish. I find where I want it, drill a hole into the body and bondo the all thread in it.
Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall. Doing this I can then make the roots or a branch come into the fish as it glides over the habitat.

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this? There is none for me. I ask the clients what they may like and 90% of them say what ever is the best side to do. You know what looks best so they let me make that choice.

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices? Economy dictates this.

7. When it comes to mounting Striper's (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount striper's up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?
I don't get to many in so I really can't say. The biggest was over 50" and I did a skin mount. All heads and fins where casts.

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Epo-grip
Tell us what you use and how you do this process? with a pin and trying to explain this is like how do you make a peanut and jelly sandwich. Hard to produce in words.

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? I would say a redfish. I have one that is over 8 years and still looks great. Again all fins and head are casts.
 What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? no more than one year less if you can
 What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? They know the amount of work I have and the quality I do. So they only call to see how's doing when it's close to the marked time. So far so good  on all aspects.
What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%? 100%

Again for the late response for it a late morning and I had church and breakfast with my dad and son. :D How lucky I am to have this...........
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Frank E. Kotula
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Paul C
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2006, 11:06:00 AM »

RATS!  Long time observer--first time player and all I wanted to do was beat Frank to the posting.  Oh well...congrats on the deer!  I'll give it a shot this week since I'm waiting for a coyote to drain.  Here goes:

. When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success!
--------I have skin mounted small fish like perch and bluegills with success on a carved body.  Even tiny brookies can be mounted that way (cast heads though).  I have also used the fill method on hard scaled pan fish with good success as well.  I guess the "best method" to use is one you are most comfortable with.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you.
-----Out of the airbrush I always use laquers.  I find they are easier to thin and transition and seem to cause less problems for my airbrush.  I have always been a "Lifetone guy" because when I started in this business 25 years ago there were two brands of paints--Lifetone and Polytranspar and I happen to pick Lifetone.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all?
-----For "run of the mill" commercial work I leave them on. 


4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall.
-----This is determined by the particular base itself.  Each piece of wood is unique--on some you can use long screws, on others you need to install mounting wires into the fish and glue the wires into the wood.  If I'm building a rock ledge I generally leave a "window" in the back of the ledge to allow attachment/

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this?
-----Unless otherwise instructed I tell the customer I will use the best side of the fish for display.  The customer always has the "option" because, after all, he/she is going to have to look at it for the rest of their lives---I only have to look at it for three weeks or so.

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices?
-----It is ALWAYS time to go up on my prices!  The electric company, gas company and banks seem to have no qualms about raising THEIR rates why should I?  My prices go up about 5% per year.

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?
----I have skin mounted a 25# striper with a cast head.  I saw the fish not to long ago and after 15 years it still looks fine.  However, with the quality of today's reproductions I woud probably only do a repro today.

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process?
----Bill Turner taught me how to do fish nearly 20 years ago.  I still use his method for reproducing teeth simply because its the best I've found--  Fiberglass resin thickened with Cabosil and one drop of hardener.  TIP:  you can add a "smidgeon" of Off White laquer to the tooth mix to produce VERY realistic spawning salmon teeth.

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?
----The few saltwater fish I've done have all been repros.

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%?
----Average turn around time for EVERYTHING in my studio is 8 -12 months---usless otherwise requested by the client.  Fish caught on my charterboat are usually returned when the customer fishes with me the following year.
I have found that by having a 12 month turnaround stated on my contract and returning everything within 8 or 10 months I have very pleasantly surprised customers.
I have to admit, however, that I've not always delivered as promised.  Large lifesize pieces and things like coyotes get put off as long as possible.


This was fun Rick.  I might have to do it again next Sunday---if I'm not 15 feet up a tree in NY!

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Chad See
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2006, 11:13:56 AM »

Another great week of questions!  Thanks again for doing this each week as it is something I look forward to even when I dont get the chance to reply!


1. When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success!

[I guess when it comes to small fish, it really depends on how small we are talking.  I dont get much call for bluegills and perch, but I do get a fair number of small trout.  I have found I have found that very small fish are far ahead to be cast and made into replicas as to doing skin mounts.  At least for me anyways.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you.

I was taught using water based and that is pretty much all I use, however I have used some lacquer and liked it just fine.  No real preference for me at this point.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all?

I have done a ton of fish leaving the fins on, but have recently realized that I like removing them better.  I can skin the fish faster and I feel like I get a better end result.

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall.

This varies.  I sometimes install a wood block into the fish then use screws to attach to my base.  Sometimes I install metal rods into the fish then epoxy them to the base.  As for making the fish look good, I always try to position the fish in a natural way so that it appears to flow well with the habitat.  Good flow is important to me.  

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this?

I have no real personal preference, and I do let me customers pick.  However, when doing a wall mount, I try to encourage the use of the "best" side of the fish.  

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices?

When I learn a new technique that requires more time or more expense, it's time to raise.  When I have an increase in my overhead, I will raise to cover that as well.  I usually have a small raise every so often to cover for inflation.  

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?

I have never mounted a stripe bass, but would assume you can mount them up to pretty large size as long as you are using a repro head and fins.  

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process?

I have been using epo grip fish teeth, and I use a tooth pick and dab it onto the place where I want a tooth.  As I pull the toothpick away, a tooth is formed.

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?

I have never done any salt water fishes.

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%?

I try to run no more than 6 months of fish.  As a full service shop, it really depends on what time of the year that the customer brings the fish in.  Obviously during the spring and summer months, the turn around is a faster than in the fall when I am covered up skinning deer and bears.  I tell all customers 6 months to one year and I dont recall ever not meeting that.  
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Mark V.
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2006, 11:17:20 AM »

1. I mount them as I do all other fish trace,skin, carve mount and paint. I sometimes use a half cast method on real small fish but usually don't take the time to do so.

2. I have tried for years to kick the lacquer habit for helth reason but have not in my opinion found any of the water colors to be up to the standards of lacquer paints for alot of reasons. I recently tried wildlife colors and they were about the best of them all so I'm slowly weining myself off the lacquer based paints. As far as lacquer goes I use Lifetone almost exclusively and some polytranspar. I also mix my own on occasion.

3. I remove fins only on trout and salmon. I use real on all other fish.

4. I attach using 9 gauge wire. I attach the wires to the base or wood first and then drill holes in the backboard. I then screw or hotmelt glue the fish on.

5. I do give the customer the option to decide which way their fish are to face. When they bring the fish in I tell them I reserve the right to change the direction if it has bad scarring and such and the fish will look better the other way. I like left facing fish myself like reading a book so to speak.

6.Usually go up on prices once a year or every other year. If the season is going good and we are getting lots of fish in we will usually base it on this.

7. Hven't done too many strippers as we don't have them but the ones I did were 20-30 pounds and I skin mounted both with artificial heads. I wouldn't go much more than 30 though.

8. I use a combination of bondo and gelcoat. I start with a dab of bondo and add a little gelcoat to it. I mix it up with a little hardner. I turn the fish on the stand to the angle i want the teeth to be going and take a pencil and form the teeth. The gelcoat gives the teeth some strength straight bondo does not.

9. Not sure if there is but I have done sailfish,durado and others and I have seen them after a few years and they weren't cracked or anything so I believe them to be a success. Although what was real on them but a half skin and bill basically the entire fish I encased in fiberglass so they were pretty much reproductions. On the other hand I did a barracuda that never stoped bleeding grease. It might all depend on the fish. I probably wouldn't do these types now except for reproductions.

10. our average is 30-60 days on most fish but when we get behind it can go as high as 6 months. We try to keep up on them as I don't like to leave them in the freezer too long as fins might get broke and some may be already freezer burned. In years past we got about a year behind because of the amount we were doing but not anymore.
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Stan N
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Location: MA.
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2006, 12:27:48 PM »


Ill take a chance at the CD of fish. My pick is 9. I will do my best at the questions my Husband and sons are the fish people around here.

1.   When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success!

For smaller fish like Blue gills or red eyes we use the half cast method and for perch we carve a body if it is big enough.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you.

Both. In the past several years we have been using Wildlife colors but still use Polytranspar lacquers. I dont do any of the painting but my Husband like the wildlife colors because they have a lot of richness to them.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all?

Leave then on the fish. I would like to read more about why you would want to remove them.

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall.

We use either screws to the plaque or some times wires for roots. I think it is pretty self explanatory. When it comes to fish on root I think thy look good away from the root a little bit.

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this?

I think it depends on the fish. I some times find it better to have them facing to the left but when possible we leave it up tot the customer.

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices?
We have been raising our price just about every year to keep up with increase on every thing form gas to deliveries. I would like to see us go back to every other year but we need to do it at this time.

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run?
Walt has done them with out a problem up to I think any size. He has been using artificial fins for a few years and is trying to cast heads to save on the dry time and cut down on the greasing potential. We do a few repros each year and I think it would be a good idea to them as repro if there were more choices out there.

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process?
Walt uses silicone for most of the fresh water fish and uses resin and cabasil for the big pike and musky.

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins
or head or special degreasing etc?

Stripers I think that would be about all we would do here at our shop.

Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%?

6-10 months on just about every thing. No more then a year on some of the big stuff. If you dont get it out in less then a year your all done. I would say 90%.

Debbie and Walter
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den007
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2006, 03:35:28 PM »

1. I have almost all of these freeze-dried by Ron's Taxidermy not far from my location. It speeds up my turnaround, cuts work time, and they come out slick every time, especially crappies.

2. Water based for all but fine detailing. I agree with some of the posts. Lacquer is simply an easier vehicle for me to control.

3. I often remove the fins on pike and musky. Most are torn from netting anyways. More and more I am going to cast fins rather than taking the time to scrape out all the fat from fins butts and still have the fins shrink.

4. Gosh, there are a millions ways. I use mostly commercial forms, so a drywall screw pretty well does it. I like the 3-D mountmates for larger replicas. Buck Rodgers showed me a neat way of standing fish out from the wall with a welding rod. Cheap and very effective. Good for shipping too.

5. I am right handed, and for some reason, noticed I was making most of my fish face left, if given a choice. Damned it I know why!

6. I raise mine based on what others in my state are doing. I look at those I consider the best, and try to match their prices.

7. I have skin mounted stripers up to 40+ inches. Heads were artificial. Degreased the heck out of the skins.

8. I have tried lots of stuff, not totally fond of any of it. I do large teeth with Bondo, smaller ones with a mix from one of the fish head companies. It is thickened resin with hardener. I have used silicone as well and kind of like it if I can get it somewhat transluscent.

9. Plenty of saltwater fish can be skin mounted. Mostly smaller, reef species with scales. I have done triggers, grouper, drum, smaller barracuda, surf perch, sea ravens, grunts, and snapper. Not much special, just a good degreasing.

10. Turnaround is usually 4-6 months. If they "need" it sooner, I charge 20% extra.

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Dennis Murawska
Angler's Art Taxidermy
"To live is not necessary...
To fish is necessary."   Latin inscription
longbow
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2006, 03:57:00 PM »

Well I'm late again but I will give it a try and also try not to be too repetative with my answers. I only do a few mounts per year and am able to give them all the attention required as I have another source of income. I am finding lately though the folks I do mounts for are more discerning in the way their mounts are portrayed. I still have a few old friends who prefer a trophy mount while others want the mount to tell a story in the way it is mounted, also more mounts are finding their way into the main rooms of a house and are replacing flat art on the wall, where it used to be the norm where someone had a trophy room, or den and the mounts were displayed behind the bar. Enough now on with the SMQ's.
 
 I will post answers only!
1)On most I lean toward half cast but on really delicate fish I use balsa wood instead of a carved foam as it gives more strength in a small area.
2)I prefer water colors,I use the best line my independent hobby shop offers and it gives me access to all the colors of the spectrum plus a few of Rick's twists thrown in. I do this because if you run out of a color or have a mishap in the shop you don't have to wait on a supply house or sacrifice quality by trying to get by with an alternative.
3)Thus far have always left fins intact but after reading this post for many weeks am about ready to give the removal a try just to see how it goes. See you can teach an old dog if it has an open mind.
4)I always insert a wood block in my carved bodies and caulk it in place before sewing up or stapling the skin and applying a linen backing with epoxy over the seam. I know it sounds like overkill but I get paid for being this critical. Then depending on a plaque or driftwood I use either a small wooden flat spacer or a wedge to steady the fish on the mount.
5)I leave this up to the customer unless there is an obvious flaw on the side they prefer. they are paying the freight so they have first say.
6)When I get a beligerent customer I price my fish by the job especially for them and I price myself right off the market. If your getting the ka-ka treatment right from the get go just think what it will be like on pick up day. I always do well on my pricing as I stay on line with the high side of the scale, your expenses never go down why should your prices.
7)Have no opinion on this subject as I have never had the priviledge.
8)I use fiberglass resin and bondo mix with hardener, have homemade tools for different size larger teeth. also I only use white bondo and hardener so the teeth are already colored.
9)I have no call to do saltwater fish and if I did it would be strictly reproductions.
10)You have to leave yourself some space in case of unforseen circumstances.There is a multitude of things that can go wrong after you are finished, your paint can kick off, your skin caulk can sag, anything and everything is subject here. Three months minimum turn around with six months being preferred,I can't bring myself to hand a customer a mount and ask them if there is another one ready to be done right away. Let them enjoy, and they will be back and bring their friends. It has worked for me 100% of the time.

                          Good fishin....longbow.
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Monty
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2006, 07:05:37 PM »


1. When it comes to smaller fish such as Yellow perch or Bluegills what in your opinion is the best way to mount fish such as these? Tell us how you handle fish with success! I usually do half-cast. I feel this is very acurate if done right.

2. Lacquer or water colors which do you like to use and why? Do you find one brand better the other and tell us what makes the differences for you. I have used water for several years but plan on switching back to laquer as I feel it is easier to handle.

3. Do you leave the fins on the fish when skinning or do you remove them? If no do you remove the fins at all? On cold water fish, I remove them and use repro fins. Not normally on warm water, though I may start using repro fins on all.

4. How do you attach your fish to roots or rock wall bases? Tell us how or you do to make your fish look good on the wall. This depends on the situation.  Screws or wire normally. I view the fish from different angles to dtermine the best look and hang it at a realistic heigth.

5. Head to the left or the right what do you think looks best and why. Do you give your customers an option for this? I usually give them the option unless there is a flaw on the side they want to show. Most seem to leave it up to me.

6. When do you know it is time to go up on your prices? I have heard it said that when no one complains that your price is too high, then it is too low!!

7. When it comes to mounting Stripers (Stripe Bass) is there any size you would skin mount or do you do all reproductions? If you do skin mount stripers up to how big would you try this before you think it may be a problem in the long run? I mount several of these each year up to 50#. I skin mount them with a cast head and thouroughly flesh and degrease them. I have several that guides have used in sports shows etc. that are several years old and show NO signs of grease bleeding etc. I will work on casting fins to fit most of these fish.

8. What do you use to reproduce teeth in fish mounts? Tell us what you use and how you do this process? I have used a variety of materials. Cabasil and poly resin, sometimes caulk. I have learned that most teeth are oversized in comparison to the actual fish when it is alive and gums are not shrunk away. I also realize customers are impressed with bigger teeth!!!

9. Are there any salt-water fish you can mount with any long-term success? What are they and what are some thins you need to know about them to make the longevity of the mount successful? I.e. special castings of the fins or head or special degreasing etc?
I have only done a handful and they were repros.
Bonus Question
10. What should be the average turn around time on a fish for a customer? What do you tell them, what do you think should be fair and do you meet the delivery time? What is the percentage of fish you deliver on time 0 to100%? Of course this would depend on your workload and full or part time status. I give six months in my case as I only do about 50-60 per year average(part-time). This gives me a little more time than I think it will take. I never hear a complaint that it is done too soon!! I hit about 95% on time.

 
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Rick Krane
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Location: Hinsdale NH
Posts: 2464


Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor


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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2006, 09:25:17 AM »

Great responses this week for sure! I wanted to send out a Big congratulations For Young Mr. Kotula ! Way to go on your first Bow Kill! A few new folks this week and lots of good information! I'm still holding out the some of the big Salt water folks Like Capt. Bryan and Bruce Foster! I know your out there and your readers what to know! LOL!

Have a great week and still contribute as folks read all week apparently.

My Best!

Rick Krane
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