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Carving fish bodies

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Lonewolf_8126, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. I had previously posted a topic looking for a tutorial on fish body carving. Turns out that isn't what I was looking for...turns out I am actually looking for a tutorial on techniques for making accurate stencils. I am interested in creating stencils like the individual in the Essay tutorial done by Ric Krane ( http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,62844.0.html ).

    Any insight is greatly appreciated
  2. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    When you say stencils I assume you mean patterns for carving?

  3. Yes, I guess template would have been a better word to use.
  4. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    There are a lot of ways to create a template. I've seen a gifted taxidermist not even make a detailed template and make an awesome body for a fish.

    Myself I just make an out line and trace it onto a piece of curved foam. Mark the thickness of the fish at three points that were done with a caliper. If I have time I will post it.
  5. Thanks Cecil, I have been struggling with carving my own bodies since I have started in Taxidermy.

    Attached Files:

  6. The above photos show how I was taught to do fish at the school I attended. Any thoughts? I have since stopped taking fish until I get better at them
  7. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    I lay the fish flat on a piece of paper, with tail up or down, trace the outline. Mark where the scales end at tail and where the collar bone and throat latch are. I then lay it on it's belly, in the bend I wish to replicate. trace it and mark the same spots as before. Take into consideration that the belly will puff out because of weight. Or you can trace it straight and draw a line down the center and cut it into sections and use string and tape to shape it how you wish, I believe I saw a tutorial on that here somewhere. Transfer pattern to foam and remove all excess that isn't part of the form. Oh and I forgot, I can't take credit for this method, I learned it from a talented fish head that is on here now and again.
  8. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    It takes practice. Sure there are people that pick it up quickly, but many struggle with it initially. Some give up and either use all commercial forms or rasp down or fill in commercial forms. The thing is don't give up. Keep plugging away. You will get better at it it if you don't give up.

    It may help to lay the fish in front of you unskinned for reference while you carve initially. After a while you won't have to do that as you will remember the contours of a bass vs. a trout etc. Don't be afraid to test fit and make adjustments.
  9. Hey guys,

    Thanks for all the insight. I look forward to learning more.
  10. their was an artical in one of the lattest issues of taxidermy today magazine, that showed how to do what you are asking.. try to find it . it's better to have an artical in front of you while your working instead of going to the computer at each step. study your anatomy,, freeze a fish solid cut it in slices every 2'' and you will see how the body diameter changes from tail to head,, make drawings from this for referance.

    good luck you will get it right one day
  11. Pikeonthefly

    Pikeonthefly Active Member

    It took me awhile but I finally started making my own fish heads for Trout. One thing that works well for me is to carve the body close to the area where the head would connect. Then I remove material slowly until I can get the head in place. Once I have it set I carve the belly/dorsal and sides to it. By doing this I eliminated the excess thickness between the gill plates and taking out too much at the throat latch area. Everything I do is pedestal and this has really helped the skin fit the way its supposed too. Keep going. You will learn with every mount. Good luck!
  12. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Since you went to school to learn to mount fish, how come your teacher didn't teach you this fundamental step in fish mounting? Less expensive than a school that doesn't teach you, there are several DVDs out there that you can buy that were made by great fish taxidermists that will show you the process for the price of the DVD. Also you can watch the lesson over and over again until you are proficient. Good luck JL.
  13. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    JL I assume Rick has a DVD on carving?
  14. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Cecil...I really don't know if he does. I usually carve my own for trout and salmon but for bass it's less expensive to buy one from a supplier with a good selection of sizes. For in-between sizes I buy the larger one close to what I want and shave it down to the required size. Not rocket science. And since I have never been asked to mount a Perch...bluegill...or crappie in my 65 years in business I would use a fish-fill for those.
  15. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    I've carved my own bodies now for 42 years. It sounds like a long time but doesn't seem like a long time. All I've ever done was make an outline of the fish whether it be tail up or down. That's the only outline, no measurements. Never needed any other measurements. I lived for fishing, I studied fish, I mounted fish. After you do a half dozen, you'll see what I mean. It gets easier every time..