1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Skin mount

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by jimss, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    I'm new to fish skin mounts (trout). I did a search and found a couple posts where guys basically soaked fish skins in borax for 6 to 12 hours. One guy used 1 cup of borax + a cap of lysol/gallon of water. Does that sound good?
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    There are many different ways of doing this and what you posted is fine.

    I wouldn't use Lysol any more for it doesn't have Phenol any more to kill bacteria and if I'm doing a lot of fish it's no problem dumping it and making new.

  3. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I use denatured alcohol/water 50/50. Leave the trout skin in this overnight to draw out the oils. This will stiffen the skin so you will have to soak it plain water to rehydrate and soften it for mounting. Good luck...JL
  4. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    Well, I guess some things are learned the hard way! Too bad it was on a personal best trout but I can always do a replica mount. I put the trout skin in dawn for a couple hours and the skin pretty much fell apart and many of the scales fell off. It seemed fine before putting it in dawn so I'm not exactly sure what happened? The skin was around 2 years old. After unthawing the skin it didn't look dehyrated or freezer burned at all and was still wet throughout. Before freezing I soaked the skin so it was saturated with water inside a soaked paper towel with no air inside 2 ziplock bags with tape wrapped around it. I found a post on this website that said this is the best way to freeze fish skins for an extended amount of time. I'm not sure if it disintegrated because it was a couple years old or if the dawn did it? Maybe I should have put it in borax prior to the dawn? I have a brown trout that is the same age and will try it possibly without dawn and something else? I thought I would add this post to prevent someone else from making the same mistake I made..,but I'm not sure what I did wrong unless it was the dawn soap? I didn't put any borax on the skin before freezing and maybe that would have helped? Anyway, I sure would like to know where I screwed up!
  5. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    Maybe the denatured alcohol mentioned above would stiffen it up so it wasn't a soggy mess and fall apart? Thanks for any tips!
  6. well you screwed up when you used the dawn,, NEVER use any soap, not even bar soap with a fish skin,, I use borax and a shot of knoblocks '' liqua - cure ''it will last for days in this solution..
  7. I have screwed up then with thousands of fish that have been soaked in DAWN. Now I'm freaking out! ;-)
  8. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    I use Dawn ..............

    I wash/soak all my fish and reptile skins in Dawn. Never had a problem, ever.

    For fish, I skin, flesh, soak in dawn, rinse, soak in Coleman fuel, rinse, soak in Dawn, then put them in a zinc sulphate and borax solution (can keep them in there for months). Then rinse and mount. The Coleman fuel is not for degreasing, but it sure makes them dry faster once mounted.


  9. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I've done the borax soak for years with no problems. When a fish is extra greasy I add a squirt of simple green. Too much soap was your problem. A borax soak for 6-12 hours is all you need.
  10. Never had a problem with dawn either, have used it on ALL my fish for years. You might have used to much of it like boarhunter67 said and maybe let it soak for to long?
  11. Perca

    Perca Well-Known Member

    Ditto. I advised the OP (via PM) that a soak in Dawn would help degrease his trout skin, and was pretty surprised at the post warning against its use. I don't give any advice unless my many years doing fish validate it. You can add my thousands of fish that were soaked successfully in Dawn to yours Randy. That's all I have to say about that..
  12. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I think the question would be how much dawn and for how long do you soak? I think that's where he went wrong.
  13. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    I didn't measure how much dawn I put in but I put quite a bit in and the water was "sudsy". I soaked it for around 2 hours. When I took the skin out it was a soggy mess. The skin had been frozen since Auguest 2012 so it had been in the freezer a while. Maybe it was a combo of being old plus too much dawn?
  14. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Dawn is pretty much an industry standard to wash fish skins. The Dawn was not your problem. It could be simple as the time of year and species, some silver trout species fall apart if you look at them wrong

    Also you never know how an old skin is going to react no matter what you do.

    Heck, one taxidermy supply company(no names please) used to re-package Dawn in little bottles and sell it as de-greaser.
  15. Brian W

    Brian W Well-Known Member

    LOL...all those Blue Ribbon fish dissolving right before your eyes Randy.....Glad I took pics when I did.....good thing I never use it.. ;)
  16. hambone

    hambone Well-Known Member

    First a soak over nite in DA and water then Dawn and simple green for me, but I keep the container in a cooler with ice so the skin never gets warm, you can leave it like this with no worries for a couple days it does stretch the skin and needs to be soaked in plain water after.
  17. dbronco

    dbronco Member

    How warm was the water? I have experimented with various fish skins and found that trout and salmon skins will fall apart within seconds in even mildly warm water (this happened faster than I could believe!). It is possible that the water was too warm. I too have soaked many fish skins in Dawn, sometimes for a couple of hours, and never had an issue.
  18. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    When I did .....

    When I did the 17 lb skin mount carp I soaked it in the dawn for days and changing it with fresh dawn every couple of days.


  19. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    I have a feeling rainbow/cutbow trout skins are a little more sensative to things going wrong than other fish species with thicker skins? I unthawed the frozen skin in a ziploc bag with very warm water. I have a feeling that plus adding too much dawn may be some of the reasons the skin turned to mush. Remembering back I caught the cutbow on a warm day. I had it on ice within a few hours but it was a fairly long drive (4 hours) home. I have a feeling the combo of all those factors may have lead to the skin's demise.

    On a positive note. I just finished putting a brown trout skin on a form that was caught the same year, froze, and put in the same freezer as the cutbow mentioned above. I let it thaw without warm water and soaked in less dawn and borax for a day. I kept close tabs on the dawn and added less dawn....and changed it several times. The skin turned out great! The brown skin was a lot thicker and appeared to tolerate a lot more abuse than the cutbow. I will be a lot more cautious with delicate skins similar to my cutbow in the future....especially learning from the possible mistakes mentioned in my first paragraph.
  20. I think the fact that you put the skin in very warm water to thaw it out is where things started going down hill. I never use warm water to thaw skins. I'll either let it thaw on its own in a bag of if I need it to thaw quicker, i'll set in some COLD water, usually still in the bag. Just my opinion but thawing in warm water, too much soap and letting it soak to long will never do any good to a fish skin regardless of species..especially finicky skins like trout/salmon.