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Head on or head off that's the Q

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by timheff, May 4, 2012.

  1. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    If it only takes 30 minutes more, I would probably remove them like Rick does if I had someone to show me how, but I don't want to make a mistake on a customer's fish and currently I know my method works fine. I do have a DVD of Rick's where he shows how to do it, but seeing it and trying it are two different things. I could see it making it easier to clean out the head and detail. One of the things I have to rebuild a lot is the throat latch because I often tear it when cleaning. I'm not sure if taking the head off would help prevent that.
  2. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    Well Doug, let me say first, I have visited your website and have seen your work. It is definitely upper end I feel totally out of sorts as I feel I should be listening to what you have to say, not vise versa. I would never claim to do a skin mount as good as those and to even get close would be a considerable amount of time on my part.
    This is my humble opinion and it breaks down as pluses vs minuses.

    + Is the Real Head - is not
    - shrinks + does not
    - meat removal, brain removal, and cheek filler + none
    - time spent rebuilding shrunken area + none
    even: time spent securing attached head to body with wires even: hot glue and epoxie seam at body head juncture
    and bondo or other adhesives. and carding gill covers
    - dry time + ready to go immediately
    - odor + none
    - shelf life + not a concern
    - durability + not a concern
    even: Inner mouth detail rebuilt with epoxie even: teeth rebuilt with fishtooth
    + finding head to fit ( not a concern) - can be a concern

    other human interactions could tip the scale either way, such as speed to one way or the other, weather it is open gill or not, and paint which would depend totally on the individual artist.

    What sells it to the client for me is first you have to believe in what you are selling. I believe a replica lasts longer and are more durable. Especially in sub prime conditions, like over a fire place or out in the garage.They are much easier FOR ME to work with as I feel i can get them more accurate than I can a skin mount with allot less work. I also am thinking about charging more for a skin mount as opposed to a replica because of said work. Another point is it's a big deal for allot of people now a days to catch and release. Another motivator is when you have a skin mounted fish on the wall next to the replica and you can point out differences between the two. I often hear : yeah, I've got two or three at home and they don't look anything like that.

  3. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Thanks Steven. I appreciate you're taking time to answer my questions.

  4. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    Sorry Doug,

    Didn't make clear price on replica vs real head because of human factor of speed one way or the other and materials (which are minor for real head ) but the repro head alone can be salty. To many individual factors to tip either way. the individual only can depict plus or minus.
  5. tracy

    tracy coon dogs

    great post
  6. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

  7. Perca

    Perca Well-Known Member

  8. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    HUH????? Who's on first.
  9. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

  10. marshy creek

    marshy creek New Member

    with all do respect to all posters, this whole tread is focused on inland fish...what about the "salty" guys?......geez, George does not need a "brother".......no disrespect to anyone......Doug, Marty, Aron,George and many others produce quality mounts based on years of figuring out what it takes to make happy customers......Mr. Klee states he has high end clients, and validates his open selling time to secure them....on the other hand, states that those mounts might make it over the fireplace or in a garage.....something doesn't make sense.....there is a huge difference in the location of the said taxidermist.....I quit doing skin mounts in 1979, and went to all glass.....now, with over 2500 molds, I know exactly what it will cost to produce a finished product.....my "TIME" and effort becomes continued profit from those molds.....the less dissimilar materials will extend to life of the mount considerably.......this whole thread would be mute if any salt water species was included in the mix.......it's totally understandable why in- land taxidermists are debating this issue.....however, us "Salty" guys, make a very good profit over inland [email protected] 30.00 per inch, I have plenty of time built into the production to produce a quality mount......George, has years of experience, and charges and tells it how it is.....it doesn't take a genius to see that location has a great effect on this whole thread......after all, aren't repo heads just part of my post?......Mr Klee states he is "still learning" so hopefully, he won't become George's brother........wisdom, comes with age......by the way, no fish needs to be hung over a fireplace or in the garage...kinda tells you how the product means to the customer
  11. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    "Wow" Marshy, you're not still mad over the toilet paper deal are you? You got a lotta hate built up inside don't you buddy?.

    I'll take it a little slower for you, and I'll try to address the many things you mentioned.
    1. Being hung over a fire place is most times a person's LIVING ROOM but refers to heat resistance. Being hung in a garage is in reference to the worst place a replica ( anyone's replica by the way ) could be hung and it would have little effect on the quality of it. Not where people hang mine.
    2. Who is the one boasting of accomplishments ?
    3. I think I spoke earlier of location and other taxidermists around ones self. Some more food for thought, with the invention of the internet and ups, a location is less of a factor.
    4. I am still learning and I am by no means referring to myself when I say some people just learn faster than others. Learning curves are not the same and age is not the deciding factor, especially if one is ignorant.
    5. Age alone does not give license to wisdom. Wisdom is gained through a combination of things. Having a brain capable of intelligent thought is the first thing, experiences in life ( even a young person can have experience) and the gift of it bestowed upon us by our creator. ( NOT to say George isn't wise, so don't take it that way, this is just to help Marshy out with assumptions in general. )
    6. Don't carry the weight of that hate around forever Marshy, it will eat you up inside.
  12. [​IMG]

    Skin head on this steelhead, never has leaked grease of any kind. Justa quick hit it with sand paper on the disk and epoxy its ready to go. Oh by the way this is one of those project that has been put off for many years, I mounted it in 1993, since its mine just now doing the finish work.
  13. Hi Marshy,do you think something is wrong with hanging a fish or mount if you have a fire place.I think they look very good in a home with one.And it does not mean I don't like the product,it looks great !!!!!
  14. A- Fish

    A- Fish Stehling's Taxidermy

    To get back to the original question a little...... We keep the real head on warmwater during the skinning / fleshing and mounting process. I have never had a problem with scale loss or removing meat. It makes little sense to me to remove the head IF you are going to reattach it. If you are going to cast it, then of course removing it makes sense. I like the look of artificial heads on warmwater , and it does speed up the process. However I still feel it is for the most part unnecessary . I would switch over in a second if I thought it was.

    I always find it amusing when people compare replicas to skin mounts. I have yet to see an indestructible replica . In fact, replicas have many problems that show themselves over time. Fins losing flexibility, and of course paint losing flexibility . Paint chipping, weather extremes affecting the life of glass. Unproven composites being sold to " last forever" . Bad craftsmanship with uneven wall thicknesses and eggshelling .. Mold release incompatibility leading to paint issues down the road ( inadequate adhesion). On and on and on. I like replicas, but please don't try to tell me it is" win win" over skin mounts. In some cases it is, but certainly not every case.
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Thank you Aaron.
  16. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

  17. DanB

    DanB New Member

  18. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

  19. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I don't know that it was suggested that a replica head is necessary, merely some taxidermists' preference....including mine (or did I miss something).

    Aaron, I think you bring up some good points about replicas that haven't been flushed out, maybe in another thread. Put me on the record as saying that a well done all skin mount for many species can last longer than any of us FOR SURE. Heck, Martha Stewart has 100+ year old Tarpon mounts on her walls that look great. Still there are other skin mounts that don't hold up as well. 100 years from now, that will likely be the case for replicas too. Craftsmanship is a big factor in any mount. I think the key is to present the pros and cons of every method honestly, and unemotionally (not to suggest that this hasn't been the case). Then the beginners get an opportunity to take what they've gained from more experienced folks and make their decision based on their situation.

    So, in this case (1st fish right?), I would still advise cutting off the head to investigate whats in there and to perform an uninhibited thorough cleaning. I also still think a replica head is the easiest mounting method. So, in my opinion, the optimal 1st fish choice would be to rebuild the head for practice and if happy with the results, mount with that; and if overwhelmed or the head doesn't turn out great, use the reproduction head. (And if you really want practice, try molding and casting the rebuilt head). Win-win-win....Another suggestion, I'd still buy a good reproduction head as a reference for rebuilding (others may not agree, but I think a 3D model helps, even if there are some "very minor flaws").

    Best all,
  20. I've been sort of keeping up with this thread, but something just amazed me!!! Five people all in a row completely agreed! I don't think I've ever seen a "X4" on here, lol. Not a heated thread anyways.