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King Salmon scales lifting - UPDATE

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by jim tucker, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

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    Mounted a sliver king. At the time I mounted the skin I debated wether or not to blow off the scales as they were pretty loose. However it looked like I could salvage them so I did not. I was wrong. Lifted scales all over. Before I decided to just get on with it I thought I might throw it out there to see what you guys do with a badly lifted trout/salmon. Normally I just iron out small patches but this is all over.
     
  2. Cory

    Cory Keep an eye on quality!

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    How tight are the scales that aren't lifted? If they seem to be tight I have "scraped" off the loose ones and then penciled in the back of the scale and painted in the scale tip to try a re create the look of a scale being there. This all depends on your methods you like to use, though. I know there are a ton of scales to tip on a King, but the time invested in doing it this way with a good gloss has not let me down yet. If the scale tip on the bare skin is not as sharp as you would like, i have taken a black (not charcoal) pencil and drawing in the entire scale, then when tipping, leave the back edge of the black scale slightly exposed to give a little depth and definition. I'm sure there are better ways of doing this, it's just what I've done!
     

  3. Jim F.

    Jim F. Let's go Fishin!!!

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    I feel your pain...
    I usually just scale them as most are gone before it even gets off the lake.
    On the rare occasion one comes in with good scales I do my best to keep them on. Not an easy task.
    I iron all of them down once the fish is dried, then I clear coat the whole fish with a heavy coat of automotive clear coat before painting. It seals the fish real well and allows me to sand down any stubborn ones. Then I go over it with a torch VERY LIGHTLY to burn off any fuzz left behind.
    The only reason I prefer to keep the scales on is it makes it easier to see where they are when painting scales.
    I paint the whole scale, not just tipping.
    I hope that helps.
     
  4. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    I think at this point it's going to be tough to get the remaining scales off Jim. So what you're basically looking for is a nice, smooth surface to start from. You may have to do a combo of knocking off the ones that are really lifted. Then, ironing down what you have left. You should be able to get the remaining scales down. But, you will end up with patches of very subtle dips where there are no scales. Very subtle b/c they're so thin, but noticeable. From there I use a lacquer based sanding sealer cut 50/50 to thin it up. Brush it on with a nice thick coat and you may even want to go back and do a second coat. Dry. Then, come back and lightly sand the whole fish ending with 150 maybe 220. Jim F mentions "fuzz". Sanding sealer will help alleviate that fuzz and IF you do start to see it - STOP SANDING. I would be very, very careful using a torch on the side of the fish as Jim mentioned as it would be real easy to heat up that foam underneath and then you're screwed if you get a dent! FYI, I use sanding sealer on most fish (taught this way by DougP). It is a necessity on fish like walleye for instance otherwise those scales are a BIOTCH to clean! Just remember to use a lacquer based sealer with 1/2 lacquer thinner to thin it up nicely. You'll be fine. Paint from there of course. You can either use an ink pen to outline the scales. Or blast the whole fish with an "aluminum" base. Your choice depending on how much time you wanna put into her...
     
  5. den007

    den007 Active Member

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    12
    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Ah, summer salmon from the Great Lakes…………..I refuse to do them anymore unless I can talk my client into a replica. I swear that, for an example of why not to go skin on a summer salmon, I will get a skin and head, let it dry out, and wait for the grease to bleed all over the place, then show it to the prospective trophy seeker. Now, I fully expect the skin mount purists to vent their blowback for this, but perhaps they have not tried Great Lakes Salmon in the summer. It ain't British Columbia!

    Cast head, cast fins, what is left…….a strip of greasy skin. Hey, it rhymes! Not worth the effort for me.
     
  6. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

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    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Den

    Are the scales tighter in the spring and fall?
    And does the same hold true with trout?
    I just did two large rainbows and had these issues with scales.
    70% of these fish I can get away with repo's but have those that must have skin mount.
    And I'm seeing the same as Jim t

    Carl
     
  7. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    The problem Dennis as you know is most customers have already kept the fish before they even think about researching a taxidermist. So, you're left with either trying to convince them to go replica (and toss their fish) or figure out a way to do the skin. I personally don't have any problems with them. I typically scale these chromers before mounting. Those scales are SO thin anyways customers don't even know their gone. The head gets an artificial one via Caribou if I'm lucky. Fins and Caudal only get molded IF the fish is especially large and greasy (the latter a GIVEN with very large LM Salmon and Trout - lol!) But, I rarely mold things unless they're over 20#'s. Which most are not. Most are in that 15-18 pound range, 4 year class that I've been taking in. Yes, you have shrinkage on the fins, but again most customers (all) wouldn't even notice unless you or I pointed it out. JMO of course!

    Clew - when in doubt, scale them before skinning!
     
  8. roonie

    roonie Member

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    4
    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    i am also battling a scale..less fish. Just to add....i was surprised at how much torch i could put to er. Yes it was heat on ..heat off...quikly but i also did hold the flame on spot for a second or two without any damage. Fuzz is gone. How do you guys remove scales after the fish has dried. Im tempted to leave the scales near the tail but if there is an easy way....i will go all the way.
     
  9. den007

    den007 Active Member

    3,467
    12
    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Clew, the scales vary by season and species. Bright silver chrome in summer seem to be the worst. I think trout are generally somewhat tougher. In some areas, fish go through a process called "leathering up" where the scales seem to be almost absorbed and the skin is tough. I stopped messing with these a long time ago, so I don't really know all the biology behind the seasonal things that occur. I do know "leathering up" is a real phenomenon.
     
  10. duxdog

    duxdog Active Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    I have used tiny drops of elmers glue to fill in the missing scales and pockets also. I have thought about wrapping the new mount in plastic wrap and then duct tape after it dried a day or two but have not experimented with that yet.
     
  11. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    I've used super glue and a clothes iron to lay down scales over a large area. I squirt a bunch on an area of about 8 by 8 inches at a time and then wipe off the excess. Then go over it with the iron on a low setting. Make sure your iron is clean by scraping it with a scalpel. On missing scales I just paint them in.

    Never had the best of luck using just heat.
     
  12. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

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    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    This method intrigues me. Just for the info do you have a "brand" that you prefer to use that has worked for you? Never heard of doing this but it is the kind of thing I was hoping to get when posting this.

    Just for info I will post how this worked for me so all can see.

    I can only speak for the fish I see, but there seems to be a real short time window for the scales to be completely useless. Out of hundreds I have done maybe half a dozen salmon/steelhead have fallen into this category. This fish was on the bubble so I tried to mount it up as was BUT I should have scaled it. The LEATHERING phase is also seems to be haphazard as another fish caught the same day on the say boat was leatherized and came out just fine. Maybe someone with more trout/salmon knowledge can explain it.
     
  13. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Jim, I believe this is the stuff I use. I have a different number down, but they my have discontinued the product since I purchased mine years ago (my number is #610 1687). High solids water white or amber. Nitrocellulose. The website has distributor locations. I want to say I bought a sanding sealer from WASCO years ago too that was Lacquer based that worked fine too. I don't think it matters that much as long as it pretty much dries clear (which they all pretty much do) and make sure it's lacquer based so you can thin it.



    http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/catalog_browse_tech.asp?ictnbr=190
     
  14. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

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    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Holy cow

    Marty
    You say scale the fish?
    The whole fish?

    Will this leave me any kind of pattern to set up scale tipping?
    I have heard a few mention this but I figured they were just fooling around.

    Usually I build the scales back in on missing scale areas.

    You really got my curiosity up on this one.

    Carl
     
  15. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Carl, I'm guessing you've never had one of these Great Lakes salmon where the scales fall off just from looking at them! We scale them via the garden hose when we eat 'em (if we scale them). THAT'S how easy they come off! I certainly cannot skin these types out with any good results other than scaling them totally beforehand. The scales are SO thin yet thick enough to be noticeable IF you leave the ones you can save. I cannot imagine TRYING to replace 1/2 of those thin scales and pull it off well. (Ask Jim if he thinks that's a possibility - lol!) We're talking hundreds of scales to replace Carl! To answer your question, the scales aren't really missed all that much. You first have to realize (again IMO) that with these types of fish there really isn't another choice. Again, IMO. The outline of the scales are still underneath to give you something to work with. No customer has ever noticed that their scales were missing I can say that much. I simply can't see any other viable choice with these types of fish...
     
  16. Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    marking to watch.
     
  17. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Throw Back Friday???

    Here's a pic of the very first salmon I did a good 15+ years ago. Maybe my 5th or 6th fish overall (So, be GENTLE - lol!) This one I scaled prior to mounting and you can see the scale pattern is still in the skin. Custom cast head so at least I did something right - lol!
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

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    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Cool Marty
    I am going to try a trout I have in the freezer
    It's mine so no big deal when I mess it up LOL

    Thanks

    Carl

    Ps Marty you fish looks good for 15 years ago
    You have seen my bream from 35 years ago

    Thanks
     
  19. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    Carl, just to clarify the above pic is 15 years old. Scanned in from a photo. I did it for a friend of a friend who's nickname was "Chinook" (for whatever reason, I can't recall). A wedding present I guess. Whether or not it's still surviving is anybody's guess...
     
  20. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Re: King Salmon scales lifting

    You have to remember that the scales on a fish grow out of a "Scale Pocket" which is part of the skin. When you scale the fish the outline of the scale remains and dries out leaving the scale impression which can look like the real scale, and when tipped will look like a real scale.

    Jim...why not just rehydrate the fish skin...scale it..and remount? Good luck...JL