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Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into. The finished results..

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by tomdes, May 13, 2016.

  1. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    I took in this 36" Lake trout the other day, friend of the family etc. It was caught up in Canada and mounted back in the late 60's.. The body and skin are in good shape, but the fins are all beat and will need to be replaced, I plan to replicate them.. The tail is gone, so I'll have to find a replica.. So any suggestions before I start this project would be helpful, things to lookout for? I haven't restored anything this bad before..
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Besides replacing the fins and tail, I would seriously consider replacing the head as well. Once that's all done, I would white out the whole fish and re-paint.
     

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Ditto.
     
  4. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    X2 all of the above with additional information. Matching a repro head with an old skin mount can sometimes cause fitting problems, so remember that you can alter a repro head by heating and also cutting with a Dremel tool along the natural lines of the head anatomy if you need to increase or decrease the top to bottom size. This also works for the side to side profile by cutting out a top and bottom wedge. This is the opposite of fitting a head on a carved body where you purchase a head as close as you can to actual size and adjust the carved body to fit the head without distorting the skin. Here you don't have the option of casting the original head as you would if the fresh fish was available. Looking at this job I would seriously recommend a reproduction to replace this fish.....after you get done repairing this skin mount you will nearly have a reproduction any how. Good luck...JL
     
  5. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Thanks all... JL, I did recommend a reproduction but she thought it would lose too much of the original look and it would be too expensive.. So I thought of the replacing the head too, but I'm going to run it by her first..
     
  6. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Running it by your customer is the right thing to do as long as you explain that the fish she gets is not the fish she brought in. Also explain the cost for these extensive repairs will be pretty close to the cost of a repro. And the part that would bother me is the fact that my name will be on that repair job and as hard as you try it will still look like a crappy job. I would refuse to do the job as she wants for all those reasons unless she accepts a repro fish. Just my opinion...JL
     
  7. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    I understand the desire to keep the skin mount instead of replacing it with a replica, it's been around for 60 years, at this point it is more about the mount, than the fish itself. It looks like a Hawkins Taxidermy mount. I have refurbished a couple mounts from them, one muskie and one lake trout. They did a very nice job mounting them considering when they were done, so refurbishing them is a breeze. I would suggest a fin kit, and a new head. White it out as suggested, and repaint just as you would a replica. Here is the one I just completed, it looks very similar to yours.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Hey Cole, the taxidermist was Ron Telesky of Winnipeg, CA.. I'll post some of the finished pictures below..
     
  9. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Ok guys I got it done just in time for Father's day, she picked it up last Saturday and loved it, below are some more before and after pictures:

    Below are the front back of the lower jaw, that's real styrofoam, fun stuff to work around:
     

    Attached Files:

  10. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Above is with all the fins and head attached and ready to paint:

    Below are the finished results:
     

    Attached Files:

  11. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Re: Ok Fishheads, what did I get myself into....

    Back on the wall and the original taxidermist:
     

    Attached Files:

  12. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Very nice tomdes....I happened to be acquainted with RonTelesky. We met when I was displaying at a Chicago sport show in the late 1970's. He was a very nice guy and had a very good following among Canadian lodge owners and did a high volume of work. We did some business together when he asked if I would do repairs on mounts that were shipped to clients in my area and damaged.
    It worked well for awhile.
    I'm sure your customer will be very happy!

    DougP
     
  13. Nicely done! Great repair and improved update done while keeping the same feel of the original. I'm with Cole, substituting a modern replica of a lake trout roughly the same size would have been missing the point of what is trying to be preserved.

    I hated doing fish repairs; I always thought they were a waste of time and a lot of work getting done at a fraction of the labor cost being put into doing them versus a new mount...which in some cases would be less. Plus you don't know what the hell was used putting them together besides most likely being stuff you wouldn't want to eat a sandwich and bag of chips without washing your hands after working on a repair job.

    Nowadays I see their value. The best new mount in the world still lacks the sentimental value and nostalgia in an old family mount.
     
  14. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Thanks Doug, I actually did some research on Ron's shop, and saw that he passed away in 1999. The shop was then sold to long time employee Jim Baxter, then passed on to Dave Baxter. So it's still around, that was cool.

    Thanks Matt for the kind words, and yes some of those compounds I came across when I took it apart were very questionable.. It was a fun project, and it made the family happy...

    Tom
     
  15. dougp

    dougp Active Member

    Telesky along with Hawkins and North American all used an asbestos mache for their modeling and repair. Ron mentioned that he had a special room where they would mix the dry asbestos into a mache using dextrine and other fillers such a clay. As Matt mentioned it pays to be careful when doing some old restorations...... ;)

    DougP