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Mystery of all time......

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by den007, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. den007

    den007 Active Member

    With fish, how com ' you can get the front aligned, but there is a gap in the back???? With pike and muskie I can often get a gap of almost 2 inches in the rear, but the front lines up perfectly???
  2. DaveT

    DaveT "But with God all things are possible"

    often there are heavy tendons and the skin is thicker near the tail end (i.e. less stretch). Also, many folks carve this area of the fish incorrectly.

  3. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Hey Dennis!

    With out bit more info on this difficulty your experiencing I will take a shot at what may be the answer or part of the answer.

    I will go with the direction your carving your own bodies. It comes down to 2 things. Each and every time I go over body or anatomical interpretations with students I talk about “flow”! If there are 2 perspectives of templates you draw in order to carve your fish bodies 1. Topographic and 2. A side profile, you must of course draw accurately and key note sevr4al reference point on the fish. I like to use the head line where the skin and scull meet as well as the beginning and the ends of the fins placements on the body. I also include the lower skin line as the Branchiostegal rays (the gill flaps) come together and meet the scales. The more useful reference marks you put into your templates the better. Lets move on to where the problem may be taking place. The topo template is sop critical due to the nature of a fish and hydrodynamic flow.

    If you think about a fish regardless of species and from a topo perspective as starting from a point at the head and ending at a point where the Cuddle fin (tail) flows off from you will notice that the fish is perfect basically with out any anomalies or changes I the flow line of the topo shape. So if you take a line and have a few thickness references and draw a perfect flow line on each side of the fish you will see that regardless of curve or movement that the topo shape always has a consistent uninterrupted flow. So why is this past of the answer? Well if when you draw a template and put anatomical anomalies or changes in to the topo to accommodate the side profile this will change or add to the over all change of the skin meeting together constantly though out the length of the fish.

    The rear shape of the fish in this caudle peduncle section is very block shaped and not as round or tapered at the other areas of the body my display. So when you carve pay close attention to the anatomy changes, which take place typically when ever a fin, begins or ends.

    I don’t know if this helps I sure can send you a template sheet that I use for my workshops if you think it may help!

    My Best!

    Rick Krane
    Anglers Artistry
  4. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Simple answer - if your fins are all lined up on top and bottom then you simply haven't removed enough material from the backside. IMHO, two inches is a bit much, but I don't worry a whole heck of a lot about the backside gap. I may have a good inch or so gap on some bigger fish and as long as the front side is anatomically accurate, and the fins are lined up, it really doesn't matter a whole heck of a lot how big that gap is on the backside. After all, it's going to be covered anyway.

    Personally, I think the hardest part about carving a fish body is getting the proper radiuses. A little trick that I discovered to help get those radiuses correct (or close, I'm only human) that also helps everything else come into allignment (front and back) is to carve the body BEFORE skinning out the fish and using the fish as reference. The BIG part of this equation though is to remove the head and either cast it or order one. My typical order to do things now is to take a tracing and get measurements, cut off the head and then re-freeze everything until I have the head done. Then you can use the artificial head to test-fit as you carve the body. It's SO much easier to get those radiuses correct IF you keep test-fitting the artificial head. Obviously with warmwater species - if you're using the real head, this is not practical. But in these cases, simply rough-carving the body while referencing the pre-skinned fish helps immensely. (This probably isn't anything you don't know Dennis, but I figure it's a good tip for some beginners that may read this.) For me, when starting out I think it was actually easier to get that body correct by starting out with a salmon or trout where you're using the artificial head. At least until of course you get the experience carving uder your belt.

    The key really is to only use the tracing as reference. Visuallizing something in 3D and replicating it in my opinion is one of the most difficult things to do in any taxidermy (Heck, sculpting in 3D has always been considered the most difficult of all art forms). Continually test fit and trim (the backside in your case) until that gap is more reasonable. Even to this day, I still have difficulty occasionally. I did a Crappie a few months ago that for the life of me I couldn't get the darn thing right. Took me over an hour to finally carve the body accurately! Practice, practice and more practice along with good reference (3D reference) is truly the key...
  5. den007

    den007 Active Member

    I just threw that out there for the heck of it.......I only carve when absolutely necessary which no doubt is part of my problem.....It still seems odd that the front can look just perfect, all things are aligned where they should be, and there is still a gap in the back. It doesn't bother me, I am doing commercial mounts and just like the ease of pre-made forms, and refuse to sew. Thanks all for the answers!