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gap in back of fish

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by gary04, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. Am going to try my first fish and in a couple of dvds they leave a gap in the back of the fish. They did not pull or connect the two haves together why is that. The fish am going to try will be a salmon chinock, any advise I would be grateful
  2. i always have some of a gap or like to... as long as my fins are centered dont care how much gap in seam. find it easier to adjust and taxi the skin in place with a little gap.. and if no gap sometimes have some extra skin to deal with.. with commercial mounts comp is another story.

  3. Jimmy Lawrence

    Jimmy Lawrence Well-Known Member

    Fishstuffer, I always enjoy your work. I would've never guessed there was such a gap on the backs, as you posted on a similar thread. Shoot , I think that was back in the day, maybe even a couple years ago, when people used to actually post on here. Big thread, stitched quite a ways apart. Super quick and easy.

    I do much of the same, only I staple when I can *depending on foam Im using to carve*. Felt , and hotglue for most of my backs, and 1 eye.

    As Gary Bruch says, "if you wow them on the front, they won't look on the back". Or shouldn't anyway. Its the backside. Shows only to the wall .

    And like you stated, competition fish , or pedestals are different . I get it close, make sure my fins, and vent are fairly close, and go with it.
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    ok I'm asinine here and don't believe in gap one eye or even missing fins, like I said I'm asinine and love it. I don't skimp on one eye deer cause it's going against a wall and gee they wont see that or hey leave a gap in the cape cause it's going to hang up high and who going to see that, right. That's what's being said about doing fish and I'm against it but it's my opinion and others also.

    I do understand if your buying fish bodies their not right for every fish and that's why I carve them. I have only bought three fish bodies in my career as a fish guy. I hated all three along with the fish heads you buy. So I learn a long time ago to carve fish bodies. Again my choice.

    Fish aren't like deer or birds where we have a good range in size to fit these scaly things. Most of the time we do alter our life size to make it fit correct but when we do make the alterations don't we make so the skin fits tight? I know I do.

    It's a to each your own thing but thing is this how you would do your other work and if not why are you doing to your fish? lol Told ya I'm asinine.

    For me I say learn to carve all your fish and you'll never have a gap again unless you choose to carve them that way lol.
    TPT66 likes this.
  5. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    I've been mounting fish for 44 years and have carved my own bodies for 35 of those years. I to have only used maybe 3 purchased bodies in my experience. However every wall mount fish I do has a gap on the backside because I choose that. Every hunter wants his deer to have a thicker neck and when I can gain an inch or two in girth with a fish the customer loves it. My wife has always told me it's all about the girth! Lol. Anyways, one eye and felt back. I've had probably had a couple customers over the years complain about that and that's probably because some asinine taxidermist had to prove how his fish were better because the side you don't see is better!
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I love it when fish guys argue. They sound just like bird guys.
  7. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    MT, In this case his front side would also prove he’s better ;)
    However, your explanation of why you leave a gap makes sense.

    I’m guessing those, asinine or not, that have issues with one eye are probably not making their eyes from scratch.
  8. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I always use 2 eyes, but I almost always have a little gap for the reason MT mentioned. If you cover it up right, nobody can tell.
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    IMO, unless your customer is a competition fish judge there ain't no way in heck they would even think there's a 3/4" gap UNDERNEATH the covering! Even Frank's clients - lol! Sorry Frank, but if it's important to you that's all that matters, but you know how I feel - lol!

    As far as a second eye and Gary Bruch's comments, he's right. And also wrong IMO. For years I fought the one eye or two eye deal and then realized "why"? Gary is right, it shouldn't matter on a wall mount. But, customer's DO look at the backside regardless of the front. Perceptions are reality. There is no right or wrong, just better decisions. What's the point of arguing over one eye or two vs. just installing the dang thing?!? (And for the record, I've also dumped Triple Thick lol!) But the seam gap? Not spending those ten more minutes carving a pedestal mount body on a wall mount more than PAYS for my second eye - lol!

    P.S. M.T. you can stretch things a bit, but to "gain an inch or two" to make look fatter on the show side most assuredly means your fins are not lining up...
  10. I have gaps :)
  11. I want to thank all of you for answering my question and am sorry if it caused a argument it was not intended to do so. Am going to look into how to carve a fish body since I have plenty of time before I do one.

    FORTMEEKS New Member

    I'm a newbie as well, I've mounted around 5 fish in the past 6 months. I'm sort of ocd too. The one commercial mount I've done, a lm bass, the first thing the guy did was flip it around to see the back! Thankfully I had disguised the seam with hand made apoxie sclupt scales. Took an hour or so but I like sculpting so I enjoyed the process. I've just started trying to carve my forms and wasn't near ready to make one for someone else's trophy so I used a commercial form and there was around a 1/2" gap in the back after drying (the fins did line up, I'm guessing the anatomy was wrong on the form... lesson learned). If I checked the numbers I probably went in the hole on that fish lol but the customer was thrilled!

    Any of the anglers I know would be pissed over the one eye thing, and did I read Frank right: missing fins??? ... I'm kind of disappointed that this is even an issue... but like I said... OCD (or asinine ;) whatever)

    Dead On Taxidermy, to answer your question on why.. IMO, they do this cause it's always been that way. It's simply more cost effective to just use a commercial form and leave a gap cover it with felt. If you're not comfortable with that then do what I'm doing: study ways to get it done right.

    Good luck on your first fish!!!!!!
  13. Jimmy Lawrence

    Jimmy Lawrence Well-Known Member

    No arguments at all . Just different people on different levels sharing how they operate. Some do it as a business, and weigh time/materials vs money . Some do it because they enjoy the process. Im almost positive I have a bit of A.D.D. I can't stay focused on anything long enough to really dive into it and do a "world show quality" fish. I just can't.

    Frank, you're not asinine. You are particular in what you do. I agree on the deer heads, but thats apples vs oranges :D You put out top quality ,and no one can question that. You have the Akeley to prove it! What works for you, works . What works for others works also.

    And Pete, I have tried making eyes. Its super frustrating .Haven't got a good system down for it yet. Constantly learning, and failing, and learning, and failing.

    I buy 90% of my bass bodies . I prefer Tom Sextons vs Matt Thompsons. I know Danb uses mostly Matt Thompsons, and he does the best bass I've ever seen. I also carve some too. Carving is very rewarding . You assure yourself it will fit, and match your fish. I like carving when I do partially open mouths, or S curves, or Closed mouth fish. I carve most all my panfish, perch, etc.

    I wish that more of the others would post here more often. 10 years ago, this place was FLOWING with knowledge and talent. Most of them are gone, or inactive. Super sad . I've learned so much from this site, and met so many cool people.
  14. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    You've heard from a few of the best fish artists out there, and there are a few more who have written on these topics in the past. Some use two eyes, some use one eye. The anglers you know would not be pissed with any of their work. In a side by side comparison with pedestal mounts by even "very good" fish taxidermists, greatness stands apart. I'll take Pete's wall mount with one handmade eye and Steve's with an open seam (and one eye I believe) any day of the week.

    I don't disregard the opposing argument that Frank presents, in fact I use as many eyes as is anatomically correct and try to avoid a visible seam or gapped seam. But that is just my preference, and I don't project that on anyone. In order to make money producing fish art as a business, time has to equate to earned income. Since everyone has differ skills and different situations, no one approach is going to universally be best. Two eyes doesn't necessarily equate to EITHER happier customers or increased profit; nor does an invisible un-gapped backside seam.

    Given my latitude with regard to how taxidermy "should be done", why is my preference so. I find that often a c-curve shows much of both sides of the face, without pressing up against the wall to inspect. Folks like to look inside open mouths, so I'll work up both sides of those heads. If the tail is out, I'll do some painting to detail it as well. But honestly, why put a pedestal finished mount on a wall if you aren't being compensated? Pride is good; intelligence is good too, no? I wish I could give every piece everything I have, but at some point enough has been done.

    BTW, I also think half and three quarter cast mounts can be really incredible pieces of art if done well, and would choose one of those with spot on anatomy and paintwork over a "good" full mount. Frankly, I think this type of work could be represented in competitions, instead of all these species divisions, like the World Championships that are on many minds this time of year. One of the things I enjoy about full mounts, however, is the propensity to give the specimen action.

    Best, Scott
  15. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    Good resin is critical. When I started, I had a batch that wouldn't cure consistently and it almost drove me to quit. Same brand, good batch, and it was game on. (If I had a better situation, I'd be trying the clear urethanes next.) Same goes for your molding material. Poor material means pits and or deformation. Other than that, study fish eye anatomy.

    Josh K's method gave me the courage to try making my own, but I had long thought about trying to get closer to a real eye. His mention of special effects eyes helped me find some info to tailor my thoughts on eyes into results, with some I have still yet to explore or achieve. Some day......

    Failing and learning is THE SYSTEM. Even the prodigy fails in time. No matter who, knowledge gained by failure is the key to that next step. Of course that is why everyone benefits from these open forums.

    Best, Scott
  16. Brian W

    Brian W Well-Known Member

    The bottom line here is this topic has generated more attention, in ALL the times its been discussed on here, then some guys spend on the back of a fish.... ;D

    FORTMEEKS New Member

    Scott, didn't mean to offend. Just shocked that its done like that. I'm not claiming to be "very good" either, just hope to be one day.
  18. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    More like the FRONTS of numerous fish Brian - lol
  19. Brian W

    Brian W Well-Known Member

    lol....that too.
  20. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    I wasn't offended. And I'm not claiming to be "very good" either, just also hoping.

    I do recommend looking at work by the guys who have posted in this thread, and then thinking about how customers would react to what they do commercially, and how you react(ed). Maybe you'll think about something in a new and beneficial way, or maybe it will strengthen the conviction of your initial intuition. Either way it is positive, as the facets of what has been said that apply in your scenario are takeaways that should help you grow to be the taxidermist you hope to be. I know it's helped me tailor my approach.

    Best, Scott

    Some more reading if you wish: