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Crabs

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by hodx, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    out on the ocean pier and the 2nd street bulkhead..plan to go back after labor day....for triggerfish and sheepshead and the big spider crabs 5 to 6' arcoss the legs
     
  2. 7-Point

    7-Point Active Member

    cool. we may take a trip back down there later this month sometime. but we stay in DE and do most of our fishing in DE, however we make a few trips to the Rt. 50 Bridge. Maybe we will have to try those places.
     

  3. 7-Point

    7-Point Active Member

    What kind of crab is this CrabCrazy? I caught it at the Indian River Inlet in DE. I snagged it while flounder fishing.
     

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  4. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    spider crab...a baby one....they get a lot bigger....like 5' across
     
  5. 7-Point

    7-Point Active Member

    thanks CrabCrazy. that's a new species for me.
     
  6. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    did u keep him to mount???
     
  7. lol, Crab Crazy, sounds like you want 7-point to send it to you if he decides not to mount it, lol... Thing is, 7-point, once you get comfortable mounting crustaceans you want to do them all the time. For an example, In my taxidermy business, I mount birds, mammals, fish, deer, bear, moose, etc as my main stay, but whenever I get some free time, I'm lost in a far corner of my shop mounting lobsters and crabs, lol. Though mounting crustaceans are somewhat time consuming, especially at the painting stage, I usually make a pretty nice coin doing them and I'm always trying newer ways to do them. If only I could find a faster way of doing them, I'd mass produce them in a heart beat, but thing is, I'd have to find a better market for them, and if I could, I could make some serious cash...
     
  8. 7-Point

    7-Point Active Member

    No I didn't know what species it was at the time so I didn't know if it was legal to keep or not, so I threw him back. Now looking back, I should've kept him. But we may go back down later this month and even though I primarily fish, I will try some crabbing and try to get some keepers.

    Yea I'm going to try to get into it because I think they make really sweet mounts. Plus, I have relatives who would pay for me to mount one for them, $$$. My only problem is the painting. I wouldn't know how to paint one right.
     
  9. Through trial and error and a fair degree of imagination and guts enough to make it happen my friend is how I learned and many good references and some good people to shed me some sound advise... The archives on this taxidermy site has a lot of info on how to do them in many different ways and I heard that quite a few of us in here know how to do them and I'm sure most of us who know how will help you. I think you already know that. BUT. do get a good camera though, and start taking pics and if you primarily do fish you already know how to paint them. I use my air brush, paint brush, finger paints and even different colored and various shades of woman's make up, especially a wide variety of eye liner pencils and I paint them in layers and final coat several time with a good uv gloss. I blow myself away everytime I mount one because I can't usually see the 3 d effect till I gloss them, and voila it's a master piece, lol, well, sometimes, lol... I will admit, at first when I first started, I made a lot of mud and a few mistakes that I learned not to do the next time, lol... Give me a holler and I'll help you if I can. No one does it the exact same way, but they all work, so it's ok to pick and choose and learn at first from your mistakes like we all did. Good luck on your endeavors and don't sweat the small stuff, just do it and learn as you go and if you come across a better way of doing them, give us a holler, lol
     
  10. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    Actually Ii caught one soon after.......My biggest seller is 2 crabs fighting over food.....i sell alot to crab eaterys and places that sell steamed crabs....i mount 14 crabs in about 4 hours...they sell like shark jaws and gator heads
     

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  11. 7-Point

    7-Point Active Member

    nice pics of the crabs. what do you catch them on? and do you hand line them or use traps?
     
  12. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    ring traps....fold flat.....use chicken neck or squid in a bag
     
  13. 7-Point

    7-Point Active Member

    Oh ok. I know what you're talking about. I'll give it a shot when we go later this year.
     
  14. Crab Crazy, what kind of crabs are those? I like the markings!!! Our crabs in downeast Maine are different, why? Could it be because our coastal waters are colder than they are in Maryland, so the species are different? Just curious... Anyway, so far I've only been selling my mounted crustaceans to friends, tourist and to people that live inland away from the coast and at that I'm having a hard time keeping up with the demand. I live in a coastal town full of lobstermen and not many of them are very interested in buying mounted lobsters. They tell me they see them all day long and they don't really want to come home and see one hanging up on their walls, lol, and I can't blame them. I know I need to find a better market to sell my mounted crustaceans, and sea food restaurants and other businesses would probably be a better market...
     
  15. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    the speckled one is a calico or lady crab...the surf is full of them and the other is a spider crab...they get big, like 5' across the legs.......seafood resturants and seafood dealers are a good market, so is interior designers looking for a sea motiff for a house or room
     
  16. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I've been doing blue crabs for over 20 years and I've never had this urge to make a living doing them. Few people are willing to pay what I charge. It's the finishing that takes time and it's taken me almost 15 years to get a paint schedule down to where I feel comfortable with it.

    I never crack a shell. When I get them alive, they go in the freezer for a day. Usually they're already dead, so I contact glue two pieces of cardboard together. I sit down with the crab and about a half pint of Touchstone 4in1 injection fluid and an insulin syringe. Every joing ot every leg is injected. The body cavity geta almost half the fluid until it seeps out. With my magnifier I open the mouth parts, put a drop or two of superglue insided and carefully set the parts back in place.

    I put the crab on the cardbord and use T pins, 3 inch japan pins and even sharpened pieces of 12 gage wire. I secure the shell in place by pinning between the apron and the flippers and then elevate the heqad slightly. I pin the legs out symmetrically and then elevate the pincers and open them accordingly. I pin the antennae and superglue the bases. Then it's to the shop attic. In summer time, it takes about a month, but later in the year can take 6.

    When dry, I bring it down and I just break off the antennae. It just saves time in that no matter how careful you are, you'll end up breaking one or both of them anyway. I carefully turn the crab over and with a Dremel and a bit, I cut open the bottom of the shell to just inside the leg joints leaving me a 3 inch hole. With forceps and a fish cleaning tool, I remove all the dried meat, "dead men's fingers" (gills) and break out the thin boney walls. Then perfectly clean, I spray it with lacquer thinnner to wash away any grease or oil. Then I mix Bondo with resin and enough hardener to make it hot. I pour the Bondo into the shell and quickly insert a bent #8 wire to stand vertically and allow to cure. Now I have a popsicle crab to work with. I take a 6 inch piece of 20 lb monofilament. I take my scalpel and scrape both ends until they're hair thin and cut off them off about 2 inches. I use Epo-Grip Clear paste and a dot on the base end is sufficient to attach it to the antennae stub. I pose them and hold them for about 5 minutes till they cured and my antennae are back in place.

    I mix about 3 ounces (2 ounce "A" and 1 "B") of Epo-Grip Ultra Clear epoxy and spray the crab heavily. I set the wire in the cardboard and let it cure for 24 hours. This insures that all the joints have now been reinforced and are much less likely to "break" when I'm finishing.

    It takes me about 4 hours to paint one "properly". I use transparents and opaques with lots of carding and touchups. I then finish the paint job with a clear gloss and let it cure overnight.

    Next day, it's back to the Ultra Clear with 3 more ounces sprayed to sandwich the paint and reinforce the fragile parts. It cures for another 24 before I run my "popsicle" wire through a basket lid (I also sometimes cut a luan circle 14 inches wide. I mix a few drops of yellow ocre into foam and pour over the luan. As it foams, I sprinkle sand over the foam to give it a " beach" effect for those who want that.)
     

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  17. Nice crab George, I really like your paint job.
     
  18. psycho

    psycho 2011 WORLD CHAMPIONS!

    I want to see your Tutorial George. Great crab..... :eek: FANTASTIC!
     
  19. Thank you Crab Crazy and I think you're right about your marketing advise. I'll have to check on which sea food restaurant (s) and possible sea food wholesalers that would be interested in buying up some of my crustaceans. The State of Maine is full of them right now, so that should be pretty easy to do and like I mentioned the tourist are up here by the bus loads right now and they buy anything they can that has anything to do with Maine. Though still rather time consuming, especially at the painting stage, I find that crabs are easier than lobsters to mount and George is very correct on it took him alot of years trying to find the right paint schedule that works, but then again I see that not all crustaceans, especially lobsters, are exactly the same color. Some are darker than others while some lobsters look more orange, or greener, or blacker, or browner than others, lets not even mention the occasional blue lobsters that come across my shop, and sometimes I even make up a few blue lobsters for my lobstermen friends who are dreaming that some day they'll harvest one. I tell them they don't have to wait till they catch one to get one blue one mounted, I tell them I can paint one up any color they want. As you know the coloration fades when drying anyway, so I like to take as many live pictures that I can and I play around with the colors and patterns and markings to make them look as believable as I can and by what my customers want... And George, I like your finished blue crab and I find your technique interesting but I do mine somewhat different, but your way would work as well, but I live on the coast and especially this time of the year, we have alot of humidity and lots of fog so my drying time, doing them your way would take forever and I'd be worried about setting up an environment for possible mold growth, eventhough I use a fair amount of bactericide and anti-fungal agents to kill off the bacteria and I noticed that sea bacteria can be some dangerous stuff to have to deal with, so I take out as much of the meat as possible and on dry windy days I open up my shop to air them out and that usually works pretty well and in the winter months I bring them in the house in my back room with the doors closed and the dry heat from my furnace usually dries them out pretty quickly and this also works well for my salt cured bear skins before I send them off to a tannery, so though your way would be easier but it wouldn't work as well for me unless I'd move to a more arid climate, like Arizona, or Nevada, or some place like that and I don't see that happening in my life time, lol, so I guess I'm stuck doing them my way which is provenly do-able for me without any mishaps due to my high humid days and fog. And we don't have any blue crabs this far up the Maine coast, or any that I know of that Crab Crazy mentioned, unless way off shore, but a friend of mine is sending me up some blue crabs and I can't wait to mount a few of them up, so any of you guys that are successful in mounting blue crabs, especially with the painting schedules, any advise on the right colorations would be helpful. I am planning on taking pictures of them when they get up here because I've never seen any up close and personal except maybe when I was a kid living in southern Maine where they do catch blue crabs now and then. Anyway, thank you all for your advise and please feel free, if you feel led, to share with me some advise on painting these beautiful blue crabs that I've never seen up close...
     
  20. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Lazarine, that's exactly why I use epoxy. It's impervious to humidity. It depends on temperature and anything over 70 degrees only accellerates the curing times.