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Fish preserve

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Chellelee, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. Chellelee

    Chellelee New Member

    I have searched and searched....and I can't find anything on how to preserve fish skin to mount it on a foam form. I have a 7lbs Brown trout I am trying to mount and I need help preserving the skin.....
  2. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    You'll want to de-grease a trout skin. You can use degreaser from a supply company, or you can use some dawn/water. As for preserving the skin...a mixture of 40% denatured alcohol and 60% water works, or mix some borax and water...that works too. If you use the 60/40 you will want to rehydrate the skin in plain water for 20 to 30 minutes before mounting.

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Different strokes for different folks. Cole's method certainly works as evidenced by his beautiful work, but I prefer to soak my skins in mineral spirits for degreasing -- usually overnight. Just another way to do it. However thin skinned smaller stream trout under 15 inches only a few hours, and the same goes for chrome colored summer lake fish. I then soak in sudsy dawn cold water for about 20 minutes, and rinse well. Next soak in water with borax a few hours to overnight. 3 to 6 oz. of Borax per gallon.

    Don't soak fish in the dawn water too long or you may end up with a skin that isn't all there!

    How long do you soak Cole?
  4. whitetails and fish only

    whitetails and fish only Well-Known Member

    This is an old Leon Pray formula that has always worked for me. Mix 9 parts powder borax and one part powder alum, then put 4oz of this mix in 1 gallon of hot water and stir in.Let cool to room temp before adding skin.
  5. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    I generally use a different degreaser, but have used dawn when I needed to. Probably soak for an hour or two.
  6. Mark V.

    Mark V. Chinook Salmon replica

    I use a commercial degreaser such as eliminator from Van dykes overnight . thin skinned fish a little less time. Not sure if you carve your own or use a commercial mannikin. I use McKenzie paste as it adheres great and contains a preservative right in it. If using a commercial mannikin make sure you sand the whole thing. Yes there are many ways to mont fish with great results. Not saying mine is the best or only way. I do like the bond McKenzie paste gives. Not as much expansion and contraction which will reduce cracking in the long run. , Mark V.
  7. Chellelee

    Chellelee New Member

    Thank you all so much! I am going to try out your suggestions this week, I appreciate your guys' advice!
  8. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    Drop the alum out of the Leon Pray recipe. or better yet listen to Cole or Cecil. Alum will get the slime off fish but it will disturb/destroy some of the epidermis on the scale pockets. I do not recommend anything with alum in it. A fish skin soaked in a borax solution needs to soak in clean water afterward to remove the borax residue. The borax will react badly with most of the fin backing creams once the fish is dried. I don't use borax at all. I have used zinc sulfate for 30 yrs with no bad experiences. I'll use a detergent or D/A for oil problems first.
  9. I soak in a mixture of boarax and liqa cure ( knoblocks) over night, never had a problem with greese on trout at all, also I use wall paper adhesive on my carved forms,
  10. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Two things to add:

    Once I do my borax soak, if I'm not mounting right away I put the skin either in plastic tube laid flat with both ends of the plastic stapled for a heavy scaled fish, or I roll the skin up and put in a zip lock bag for a small scale fish like a trout or salmon.

    I use Elmer's glue on all my fins. It dries clear and somewhat flexible. But I do seal with a Ace lacquer sealer in a spray can before painting it on. No issues with compatibility with the Borax and the Elmers glue. In fact, I could be wrong, but I think there shouldn't be any issues with any preservative as long as the fins are sealed. Another reason I seal is I hate warped fins which can happen when you apple a fin coating without sealing. Got that tip here on the taxi net.