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Mounting A Largemouth Bass. With pictures and lots of them!

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by K.N Fish Taxidermy, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    Thanks Rian! I really like those paints too. They work great for me also. I still trying to figure out how to take close-ups of the eyes. I doesn't want to focus for some reason. Going to take some better photos today of them out-side. These photos don't do them justice.

    Ken
     
  2. Ken, thanks for the hard work and time invested in your tutorial. I got to tell you, the thing I am most impressed with is your great attitude and willingness to receive comments and even criticism. It's so much easier to learn while listening rather than talking. Your example of keeping your ego in the background is appreciated and will speed up the learning curve. Looking forward to seeing you advance quickly friend.
     

  3. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    Dale thanks for the kind words. I really wish we could have talked more at the Va show. I like the criticism because like I have said many times before. It only helps me get better. I would rather have people be hard on me than soft. You wouldn't learn anything if everyone just ignores and says "looks awesome" when they see some things that need improvement. You wouldn't get anywhere. Thats just how I view it. I just want to get better and always be open for improvement. Thanks again Dale!

    Ken
     
  4. ryanstraw

    ryanstraw my first brook trout on a fly 13"

    Ken you are a very skilled taxidermist your work is great. Thank you for taking the time and making this tutorial. I love the eyes I can't wait to see the rest!
     
  5. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    Thanks and your welcome Ryan! Glad you are enjoying it! I can't wait to start on the fins and sculpting. These eyes came out really nice. If anybody has any questions just send me a PM or email.

    Ken
     
  6. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    I am now going to tell you how I do the fins. The fish has been drying for 12 days now. The fins are completely dry and are ready to be finished. I like to use the product Tuf-fin which is made by Lifetone. It has worked really well for me so far. There is also other products out there to like, Modpodge, Polytranspar Fin Backing Cream, ect. I like to back my fins with Silk-span. It can be purchased at McKenzie taxidermy. People have also used lens tissue the same way and have had great results to with that. This is the stuff I use when backing and repairing the fins. Silk-span, Tuf-fin, Some sharp scissors, some Polytranspar lacquer sealer (spray can) and a soft bristled brush. These steps are done to all of the fins. Here are the fins with the carding removed.
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    I will spray a layer of the Polytranspar lacquer onto the fins first. This will keep them from wanting to curl up when you apply the water based Tuf-fin to them. They will want to re-hydrate and curl when they dry if you don't do this step.
    Here is the Tuf-fin.
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    I apply one light coat on all of the fins and let it dry completely before backing.
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    I also applied it a little to the flared gill covers.
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    Here is the silk-span.
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    A piece cut for the caudal fin.
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    Now after the first coat has dried completely, I apply another thicker coat on there. I then press on and align the Silk-pan to the back of the fin (wall side). Then you will take some more Tuf-fin and apply it to the Silk-span. You want to soak it but not so much that you get runs.
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    Now for the pectoral fins I put down a paper towel to catch any Tuf-fin that may drop off of my brush.
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    Here are all the fins backed and still wet. They have not dried yet.
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    After they have all completely dried. You can then cut them out to the shape you are looking for. Follow the edges of the fins.
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    Now as you can see with this fin I need to cut it a little more around the edges.
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    Here is the back of the fins.
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    Now after you have cut out the fins you will need to apply another layer onto them. Here they are after they have completely dried.
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    Here is the whole fish so far with a total of 3 coats.
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    I will apply one more final coat to the fins and then they will be finished. Next is the sculpting and rebuilding of the fin bases and shrunken areas on the head. I am working on that tomorrow and will have more stuff to post soon.

    Ken
     
  7. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    This is like watching a step-by-step of my teacher showing me how to do it years ago. I do everything almost exactly the same. For me the most difficult part is the head and throat latch. I did a bass today without tearing the throat latch, but at least half the time I have to rebuild it. Also, it seems like no matter how much spine and brain cavity I remove, I can never get the head on to the top of the form unless I cut the tip down some so it is thinner. Even then I have a hard time shoving the head back enough. I use fix-all instead of mache, and the acrylic caulking thinned with water for the fin protecting. If you paint it on both sides, you won't have to worry about it curling to one side. I even use the silk span, but I only use it for fins that need repairing, and I burn the edges after cutting so they aren't unnaturally perfect. Fish fins never have a perfectly smooth edge. For big bass, like the 10 lb. one I mounted today I sometimes use a hammer and screwdriver to chisel through the spine. I have very sharp sheers, but for really big spines I find the chiseling works better for me. I'm going to have to find some sheers like George says. I have similar ones now that aren't curved. George, can you be more specific about where you got your snub nosed scissors? Ken, what did you use the syringe for?
     
  8. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    I use it to inject caulk. If I feel that some has been been squeezed out when mounting I just inject some more in the area. Forgot to say that Lol!

    Ken
     
  9. JWShadley

    JWShadley New Member

    I do my fins in a very similar way, except I go a little lighter on the Tuf-Fin at first. I put the Tuf-Fin on the back side of the fin and put the silkspan on. I don't wet or soak the silkspan. I make sure to only have enough Tuf-Fin on the fin to adhere the silkspan. Then I fill any splits with a little Tuf-Fin from the front side. Once that is on, I cut a majority of the excess silkspan off. Once I have it trimmed, I take a lighter and carefully singe the edges of the silkspan, only going up to the edges of the fin. The dry parts will burn right off, but once the flame gets to the water based Tuf-Fin, it extinguishes itself. This allows me to recreate the natural edge of the fin without having the "cookie-cutter" round edges. Once I get the silkspan burned back, I brush off any black parts and go over the whole thing, front and back, with a couple more coats of Tuf-Fin. I learned this trick from a local retired taxidermist, and to be honest, was a bit nervous about doing it at first, but it works like a charm and gives you the most realistic look I have found for the fin edges.
     
  10. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    That's what I meant when I said burn the edges. I'm curious though why you two use silk span on all your fins. I only use it on damaged/split ones. What does it do for ones that are in good condition? Are you just trying to strengthen them?
     
  11. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    Yep and also fix the little cuts and pinholes. Ok I will try out the burning trick. Sounds like a great idea. ;D

    Ken
     
  12. JWShadley

    JWShadley New Member

    That's what I meant when I said burn the edges. I'm curious though why you two use silk span on all your fins. I only use it on damaged/split ones. What does it do for ones that are in good condition? Are you just trying to strengthen them?
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    I do it to strengthen the fins. It gives me a little more peace of mind, as I do mine in my garage, where my wife has the washer and dryer, my ten year old son comes and goes, and I do a multitude of other things in there.
     
  13. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

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    Ken, I don't do fish nor am I familiar with you...but THANK YOU for taking the time to do this. When I did mess with a few fish years ago I did things exactly as you have depicted, just not as proficiently. Anyway, I read the whole thread and enjoyed it. Thanks again dude. Who knows....I may go catch me a fish now. LOL
     
  14. dogisland

    dogisland New Member

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    Ken, for a beginner like me, your photos and explanations are invaluable. Thank you for taking your time to share.
     
  15. MITCHELL4

    MITCHELL4 New Member

    X2 This is Great!!!!!! Thanks
     
  16. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    Glad you all are enjoying it. I am working on getting the sculpting done and will post how I do that too. Its been a crazy last few weeks around here lol! I am working on getting the rest of it done.

    Ken
     
  17. roundyracer

    roundyracer been to the mountain and seen the elephant.usmc 68

    406
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    Ken.I apologize,that I havent replied quicker.(sooner).Many years thats the way Ive mounted so I waited for the last procedure of mounting.This why Ive been called bassackwards.Your shareing is heaven sent.I salute you sir.Give us more.
     
  18. K.N Fish Taxidermy

    K.N Fish Taxidermy Kenneth Newton Phone#804-867-7736

    Now onto the the sculpting. I like to use a good sculpting apoxie. Aves Apoxie Sculpt works great for this. There is also Magic smooth, and Magic Sculpt. I have never tried these out so can't say much about them. I am sure they are just as good. So lets get started. I like to have a big variety of tools at my hands to use. I use a set of dental picks for doing some of my really fine sculpting. I also like to use Isopropyl Alcohol for dipping my fingers in when smoothing the apoxie. Water will work too. Just the alcohol smooths it better. Here are the tools I used today.
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    The alcohol.
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    I start out by drilling out the eye sockets. Note the Taxidermy.net in the background. ;D
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    I then mix up some apoxie and make it into a small ball just smaller than the eye itself.
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    After they are set into the position you want you can start adding apoxie to the head. I like to apply a big ring around the eye and remove the excess.
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    I then like to use a combination of my really small brushes and dental picks. I really don't know how to explain how to sculpt the eyes. It just takes lots of practice to get it right.
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    I still need some practice at the eyes as you can see. I then like to rebuild the front cheek area and also the lower mandible(jaw bone).
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    Next I rebuild the throat latch and lower fleshy part of the gill flares.
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    I then move to the back collar bone and seam area. I use the Mac-Z-Scaler Fish Scale Texture Roller tool to finish the back seam.
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    Next is the interior of the mouth. I rebuilt everything that has shrunken up bases of gills, tongue, basically everything. I think it looks better than leaving it all dried up looking.
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    I then sculpt the anus of the fish.
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    I also rebuild the fin bases.
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    Here it is with all the sculpting finished.
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    Hope this helps you guys out. This is my 6th Largemouth bass I have done so far. If you have any questions just let me know.

    Ken
     
  19. The apoxie work looks great to me! I just finished my 3rd Largemouth, looking forward to seeing the color!!!! ;D

    Thanks again for doing this - picked up a couple great ideas following this thread from you and others.

    Shawn.