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Curing an unusual fish skin

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by makoman, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. makoman

    makoman Member

    Hi Fish Mounting People ,It's been along time since I have posted anything on this awesome site .
    I have just molded a 17kg Oilfish Ruvettus pretiosus,due to the texture of the skin the mold was made of rubber !! and now thatthe mold is finished I have decided to use the skin for another project .Now the advice I need is how to cure the skin( something I haven't done before) ,as the name suggests oil would be the main problem .any advice is very welcome !!!! attached is a photo of the beast.

    Cheers Kevin

    Attached Files:

  2. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    You can try several things made out there and sold in the taxidermy supply ndustry or you can try mineral spirits aka paint thinner. Keep in mind if it's really greasy you may not get it all out regardless. I have issues getting all the grease out of common carp skins.

  3. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I have no experience working with this fish but I do have experience working with greasy Lake Trout. Not knowing what you intend doing with the skin here's what I would do to minimize oil leakage from this fish skin. I do all Lake Trout this way. (1) skin and flesh very clean. (2) soak the skin in Denatured Alcohol for two days. This will stiffen the skin and pull a lot of oil out of it. You will see it on the bottom of the bucket. (3) Re-hydrate the skin in a mix of Dawn Detergent and water until soft again, then rinse clean. (4) Depending on your target use, tan the skin your favorite way...as there are many ways to do this. Good luck...JL
  4. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    No guarantees with this one that's for sure! I do a fair amount of big, greasy Lake Michigan Lakers - not much anything out there freshwater-wise greasier than that! Like Cecil, Mineral Spirits is my go-to bath for heavy duty initial de-greasing. However, I believe Acetone would do the job better. No longer than overnight with either otherwise with either MS or Acetone the skin (fins really will be first) will begin to break down from the solvent. The main reason I do not use acetone as a degreaser on greaseball species is because it is expensive and evaporates quickly. I would go through a ton of it. M.S. is the next best thing. Follow up as mentioned with Dawn/water rinses and eventually a water/denatured alcohol soak. DA alone IMO is not enough for the big greaseballs JL. JMO though. Soak in 100% cold water a half hour or so prior to mounting to relax the skin. Lastly, mold the head and all the fins and the tail as well or you'll be asking for trouble down the road! Good luck!
  5. duxdog

    duxdog Active Member

  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Marty, I've read here that you soak your skins in a bucket. do that with the acetone and it doesn't evaporate as quickly. You do have to agitate the skin to make sure it gets all of the grease, but this works. Or a tote big enough to lay the skin out. I often do this, put a pan like a cookie sheet or plastic tote big enough to lay the skin out as flat as possible and put enough acetone to cover it and put a lid on it and cover with poly. This cuts back on the evaporation, or I put it inside a larger tote with a latching lid. I use acetone for part of my degreasing of skulls and do it similar as stated.
  7. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info 3Bears - noted. My problem though is lack of numbers of greasy species and not enough volume. Not that I'm complaining, I'm happy with my 50-60 mounts a year. Of which I may have a couple of big salmon and trout. Lake Michigan has tanked through the years with numbers of big, mountable fish. The bulk of my work is now with LM and SM Bass, Walleyes and Crappies. And then replicas and restorations. Again, not complaining. But, I don't even use my M.S. that much anymore. Once you put acetone is a larger container like a bucket with a sealable lid or a Rubbermaid there is some evaporation due to the air that is in there and lack of a really good seal. I like your big Rubbermaid idea though via spreading the acetone out and only using a shallow amount. Might take you up on that idea next big arse greaseball Lake Michigan Laker I have to do! Thanks!
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Marty, I use it on pike as well.
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    But what would I do with my MS then 3Bears? lol! Most pike and muskies are replicas here via customer's choice. I'm down to doing only one or two skins of those a year too. Again, not complaining!
  10. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    I use gasoline. Much more cost effective and works great. Just make sure you do a good rinse with dawn.
  11. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    And no cigarettes or matches!

    Gasoline is not an option in my shop as it's part of the house. My wife would kill me.
  12. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    MT your secret is out now, that is how you dry them so fast. light em up. ;)
  13. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member