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Fish measurements

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by memorymakertaxi, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. When ordering my mannikins,I use the measuring guide in the catalog for the mannikins I am ordering.But when they arrive the shin doesnt fit.Usually the circumfrince is off.Shouldn't the skin meet on the back of the mannikin?What am I doing wrong?Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    As long as the fins are where they belong I don't worry about it. Customers aren't likely to complain because their fish looks fatter.

  3. X2 , most customers don't care if their fish mount is bigger.

    Here's how I see it. If you hand a measuring tape to three people and ask them all to measure the same fish, they will all have different measurements. For years I have measured forms when I get them in and they never match what is listed in the catalog.

    If you want the seam to match up on the back side, then you need to order forms smaller then what you measure. Think about it, When measuring most do so on the outside of the fish but you are replacing what is to be the inside.

    Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire
  4. den007

    den007 Active Member

    That is so true about the seam in back. It seems I can get the front to line up perfectly almost all the time using catalog measurements. The back always has a gap…..which, as said, is fine if it keeps the fish fat and sassy looking. You would thick the guys who designed these forms would compensate for the skin thickness, and make the form to fit INSIDE a 20 inch fish, it just never seems to work that way. That is what amazes me about the competition mounts with no visible seam. They have to fit like a glove and be carved. I don't have the patience for that……….plus, you have to start with a perfect specimen as well. How rare is that?
  5. When you carve a form do you use measurements before skinning.I still can not believe the fish skin is that thick that it would make that great of a difference.He as taxidermists accepted inaccurate forms for fish.I will measure my next fish after skinning.So it should fit correctly.WE WOULD NOT ACCEPT THIS GAP ON OUR DEER WHY DO WE ON FISH.NO BODY CARVES THEIR DEER FORMS DO THEY?
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    I don't measure when I carve, other than for charging by the inch, I trace the fish prior to skinning. I think the fish forms were likely casted from a whole fish prior to skinning. This isn't snap together lincoln logs, one size doesn't fit all. I can have 5 or more 30" walleyes in my shop and it isn't likely that all will take the same form or am I able to carve the same form for all of them. Go ahead and make the forms fit the skin if it bothers you that much. It won't be long and you will likely be carving all of them.
  7. Interesting reading you guys comments re measuring fish. I think I'll start measuring the body for the form once the skin has been removed, particularly on large trout. Im presently working on a 20 lb Brown, measured it prior to skinning, carved n sanded what I thought was a perfect form only to find that I have to sand it down a lot more for the skin the fit correctly. Not surprising really as id overlooked the fact that the fishes skin is actually 3 to 4 mm thick in places. So there ya have it, make allowance for the skin thickness particularly on big fish, common sense really but easy to overlook. ;)
  8. hambone

    hambone Well-Known Member

    I think another consideration would have to be the method for preserving the skin, some methods cause shrinkage while others cause stretch, when I used da/ water it tightened the skin considerably and had to be relaxed.
  9. JimRollins

    JimRollins New Member

    How did you relax it? I have had the same problem.
  10. hambone

    hambone Well-Known Member

    Jim just put the skin in some dawn dish soap and water and let soak for a hour or so, also there are a lot of other solutions that have been listed on here that are good degreasing solutions without the d/a good luck.
  11. Thanks 3bears but if I am to make the form fit the fish then why ,not make a form to fit the fish.I understand you can have 5 fish of the same species they all will require a different form.I also am not afraid of adjusting a form.But you did not answer my original why dont they make a FORM THAT CAN FIT THE FISH.AND WHY DO YOU ACCEPT THE GAP IN BACK.I will take the solution that Hambone offered ,possibly my skins need to be relaxed.I am just trying to learn something here and thought I was asking a positve question.No othe type of form or mannikins are like fish forms.Ducks Geese,and shoulder mounts we have more wiggle room.I also understand that with the gap in back your fish looks fatter,but to me this is poor quality workmanship.I would never leave a gap on the back of a deer and try and hide it with bondo and paint.I would just like to order a 16 inch circumfrance form and be able to mount my 16 inch fish without a gap.If I need to start carving my forms I will but some where along the way somebody thought it was a good ides to make this simpler by producing a form.So if I have a 16 inch circ.Should I order a 15 ich circ?I am frustrated that it seams that we are accepting a sub standard product.
  12. A- Fish

    A- Fish Stehling's Taxidermy

    Many fish taxidermists sew rather then staple. If you order the exact size and apply your hide paste and sew the seam, it will be almost touching, if not touching. Fish skins can have a lot of stretch, with some species having more then others. I carve most of our fish, but if I do order an occasional form I always order the girth an inch bigger( not on panfish), to compensate for the stretch from sewing.

    Having a 1/4" seam on a fish is not poor craftsmanship. Fish are simply handled differently then other kinds of taxidermy. A small seam will not effect the quality of the mount. If you are doing a pedestal mount, then obviously you do not want any seam. Even if your seam is touching , after the fish dries you will have a small seam to repair( probably an 1/8" at least). The skin contracts and shrinks a little as it dries. Hope that answers your question.
  13. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    The real answer memorymaker is if it's important to YOU that the gap come together perfectly on a wall mount, then do it! My personal opinion (that doesn't really matter to most anybody else) is as long as the fins line up and the fish isn't ridiculously fat on the back and obvious, nobody is going to know once it's covered. My philosophy has always been to spend the bulk of my time on the show side - what I deem important.

    I also don't use purchased forms. But, I suspect that they are made using a general example on the big/fatter side for a reason. Simply put, it's much easier to sand down material vs. adding it.

    As far as the skin thickness being a concern. Maybe, depending on the specie. Walleyes for instance are going to have much thicker skin than a crappie. However, we aren't building watches here. And I doubt many of us can take the initial measurements THAT accurately to worry about skin thickness all that much. If anybody doubts this - go ahead and take caliper measurements in various places and then do it two more times. IF you come up with the same measurement each and every time down to the millimeter, then my hats off to you! Again, we're not building watches here...
  14. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Do you measure the girth over the skin? Do you measure it at the exact same location as the form? Fish are like people they all come in different proportions. The suppliers cannot possibly supply a form that fits every one, without modifications. The form was made to fit a certain fish exactly, just not the fish you have in hand. Fish go through many changes in body shape and proportions in a single year. Think about it, deer necks change sizes throughout the year as well. That is why they offer them with different swells, but the measurement from eye to nose and tight to the ears is pretty consistent, regardless of time of year, those change with age. As I stated, carve your own from exact tracings and meticulous measurements and you should never worry about it. I assure you that I may not produce a world champion mount on every one that goes out of my shop but I sure as hell don't put out poor quality mounts either. I thought I was anal but you are over thinking this. Do the fins sit where they belong? Does the head juncture as well as other anatomical features match your reference pics? These things are what matter in commercial fish mounts.
  15. Some people don't even put an eye on the back side and you are worried about a little gap? Don't call it poor workmanship. I hope you charge enough to make that back side pretty. You are getting a lot of good advice from people that have been doing this a long, long time and you seem to be offended by what we have been doing. How long have you been doing taxidermy?
  16. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    I agree with 3bears, Aaron and Marty! I too, don't give a rat's a$$ if there is a gap on the backside. Who cares? Fill it in, cover it up, whatever! If the fins are right and the length is good, customer is happy. I have carved all of my own bodies for 40 years now and still purposely make a fish deeper than what it was causing a gap in the back. Poor workmanship? I don't think so! Pleasing customers? hell ya! Fish may be slightly more narrow but who cares, you can't see it! I would much rather have a fish on the wall with a deep profile than a shallow profile and thick back. J S'ing
  17. I do what makes my customers happy. I have a gap in the back of my fish usaully and no, i dont put an eye in the back either. The front is the showside unless its a pedastal mount and then i take time to widdle down my form to close gaps and finsih the seem work and do the back eye, or for a competition quality mount. The more work you put into a mount the more you have to charge and my customers here in south GA are happy with the showside done right and care less about the backside. Most forms i order i end up widdleing down to get the fit i want, if i have to add, that is no trouble either. Do what makes your customers happy and you will be happy if they are period!
  18. Diehl2229

    Diehl2229 All Critters & Pets Freeze Dry LLC

    My customer wanted it fatter so leaving a gap is the only option. It's not poor workmanship? Just dress it up with some black screen and brush coats of clear bondo or mod podge. Looks good after.

    Attached Files:

  19. Brian W

    Brian W Well-Known Member

    Yes...I have a "seam" on the back of this fish too....can you see it...... ::)..... 8)

    Attached Files:

  20. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Look...if you want the back seam closed, no problem....make the body fit the skin! The fact that you want this seam to fit is a testament to your taxidermy work and I commend you for that...don't accept mediocre in your work. You don't seem to want, or are able to carve your own fish bodies but want commercial bodies to fit with a closed back seam.....it probably will never happen for the very reasons that have been expressed here. The main target is for the fins to be positioned where they need to be on the bottom and top of the fish and the center lines like the top of the back, belly, and lateral line. If these fit without pulling and stretching chances are the back seam will also close. If you are pulling, something is wrong with the measurements of the foam body and it will need to be altered (SANDING) to get the front...top...and bottom to line up properly. Concentrate your efforts on the front and make that fit, then do the back the same way until you're happy with the closed seam. As for fitting the repro head, make the center lines fit the body...top of head and bottom of the jaw. Any repro head can be made to fit by heating or splitting and taking a small wedge out of it then rebuilding it. I have only had to do this a couple of times as the heads for sale usually match the measurements listed in the catalogs. Even commercial deer and animal manikins, and some bird bodies, have to be altered sometimes so don't expect a fish body to be perfect. Good luck...JL