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apoxie sculpt crack

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by axel, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. axel

    axel Member

    Just had a fish returned for repair on a crack at the head junction on a steelhead. The whole seam from artificial head to body cracked and separated approximately 1/16". Head was seated with fin magic and seam was repaired with apoxie sculpt.

    Never had this happen before. The only thing I could think was the fish was displayed near a window and, although the room was temperature controlled, I offered up that maybe display the fish on another wall.

    Planning on a light apoxie reapplication to smooth out the slip, blend the color and regloss. Hopefully get a color match without a major repaint.

    The fish was done just a few months ago and have never had this happen before with apoxie. Just wondering if others had this issue.
  2. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    I could see it happening if the fish wasn't dry before finishing.

  3. axel

    axel Member

    Confident the fish was dry. Another thought I had was the apoxie may have been on the older side. Thinking back, I was finishing up on my apoxie and just reordered. That may have been completed when I was finshing up my last container. Not sure, but may have been over a year old if that has anything to do with it.

    Still leaning on the weather change as this is wisconsin with sub zero weather
  4. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    What are you using to blend your apoxie work? Some use water and while apoxie has 0% shrinkage, if you use water, it has to dry up, thus causing cracks. I use 90% alcohol to blend, haven't had any issues with it, but I use it very sparingly.
  5. axel

    axel Member

    I use water. That would make sense and never thought of that. Never had an issue with it before. To add with it, the apoxie was getting a bit stiff towards the bottom of the container and I wet it for more pliability.
    Thanks for the tip Matt.
  6. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    I'd say either temp changes from window area..Though I've never had that happen. Except on a deer I rushed and the apoxie on the bottom lip fell off lol. Or the mount fell and hit the head. Regardless I'd dermal a small Chanel along the crack That would allow you to blend the repair easier.
  7. Monty Artrip

    Monty Artrip Active Member

    I use smooth out for initial attachment and to fill seam and finish with a thin film of apoxie on top. Have doneit that way for years with no issues. Smooth out doesnt seem to crack period. Another thing to keep in mind is angling the fish with head down both while doing epoxie work and while it sets up to avoid water or whatever you are using from running onto skin and rehydrating it.
  8. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Another little trick is to super glue some skin of the top of the fish to the artificial fish head and use your Apoxie Sculpt over that.
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    First read I thought the Apoxie Sculpt was used in the seam too - BUT it appears the only cracking you had is at the head juncture? Assuming so, I have some ideas. First off, I don't believe the use of water caused the issue. Too many fish of mine went out the door using this method and not a single one has ever come back.

    I also don't think the window caused the problem UNLESS it was very close to the window and was poorly insulated. I have care instructions I hand out to my customers that explicitly state not to hang near direct sunlight or near a heat source or kitchen (grease in air).

    I wouldn't doubt your customer moved the fish and jostled it causing the cracking. Is it a large fish? Did you have a nice, snug fit of the head on your form? Did you use bondo or some adhesive at all the touch points in the head and on the form? IF you simply used Apoxie Sculpt (or whatever) at the head juncture only and not at the inside touch points, I can almost bet that's your problem. I also set a few wires into the head and into the foam to "pin" the head on bigger fish. I tend to overbuild things, but I also have never had this issue. Answer my question about how you attached the head before I go off on any more ideas...
  10. He used Fin Magic which I also use. Basically a two part epoxy, much better than bondo.
  11. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Yes, but just at the head juncture?
  12. axel

    axel Member

    Hi Marty,

    I used the fin magic to set the head on the form, not the seam. Also a dab to secure at the throat latch. Apoxie was used just at the seam to blend. Crazier things can happen but I doubted it was dropped as no fins were damaged or bent (first thing I looked at) and the fish was mounted on a horizontal driftwood which would have struck first if crashing to the floor head on...

    The fish was a smaller sized steelhead, 24". Just an odd thing as the crack runs perfectly along the seam. Shrinkage was be the most logical conclusion but as advertised, 0 % shrinkage. Not sure the shelf life but I've had older product in the past without issue.
  13. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Please excuse me if I'm being redundant, but I enjoy these puzzles and maybe we can all learn something. So, you have a good amount of the fin magic (not just a small amount, I'm talking a golfball sized gob at each attachment point) up in the nose of the head where it'll adhere with the top of the form and then you also have a good gob I guess where the inside jaw of the artificial head hits the bottom of the form (plus the throat latch). It sounds like you did all this, sooooooo.

    I'm back to the temperature and humidity fluctuations being close to a window. The Apoxie Sculpt may not be affected. But, the skin of your fish will expand and contract ever so slightly if there's some decent temp and humidity changes. Since it's the first time you know of this happening, statistically speaking I think it's more likely it's something your customer did vs. what you did...
  14. axel

    axel Member

    Not sure it was a golfball sized gob but darn close. Good sized gob of fin magic on top, sides and throat latch. Didn't think it would be the skin pulling as, although obviously a thin overlap, seems it would take a bit of power to break the apoxie. I did see where he had it by the window and, although did not appear direct sunlight, it was within a couple feet.

    I have repaired fish damaged before and this just had zero telltale signs. I also know him pretty good and would think He would fill in any mishaps. I don't think it will be much of a repair (hopefully) but just has be scratching my head. A puzzle indeed.
  15. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    If you're laying down the Apoxie Sculpt very thin between the head and body then that could contribute to your problem. When I attach a head, the skin actually goes over the "hump" about 1/4 to 3/8th's of an inch down where it's stapled and eventually the Apoxie Sculpt goes over the skin in the head juncture gap here. The A.S. for me is a good quarter inch thick. If you've got an ultra thin layer of A.S. here and the skin fluctuates with the temps and humidity the A.S. might be too thin and prone to cracking when the skin shifts. Whereas, if you have a good 1/4" "bead" I think the A.S. is more able to absorb the temp fluctuations. So, maybe it was a combo of the window temps/humidity and the A.S. being too thin? Just another theory...
  16. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Oddly enough I just had the same experience...the seam on a pedestal walleye. Can't figure it out because I never have had this problem before. Worst part it was repaired once then happened again!! Hopefully this is not going to be a common occurrence.
  17. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Now, this sounds like the possibility of a bad batch?
  18. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Hope not a lot of fish went with that batch.
  19. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Isn't fin magic flexible? I've never used it. When you use a flexible glue to adhere 2 more rigid objects this can and will happen.
  20. When I have mixed up to much for what I needed the remainder seems to set up very hard.