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Different Methods for Fish Skin Preservative?

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Bluenose Moose, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Ive recently decided I do not want to use formaldehyde as a preservative for my fish skins. My current mix is borax and water with a very small amount of formaldehyde. I know its a toxic and dangerous substance, thats why I want it out, especially now that Im training my boys in the taxidermy trade.

    Can anyone suggest and sure fire products that works well on fish? Something a bit less toxic and carcinogenic? I get a lot of large Striped Bass through the shop each year, so I also need something that will possibly degrease.

    Thanks so much!! :-*
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Re: Different Methods for Fish Skin Preservative

    just leave the formaldehyde out and go with the borax and water. I use some zinc sulphate in mine as well and a deodorizer/wash. Greasy fish get degreased in another soak with dawn but ultimately go into my borax solution.

  3. Re: Different Methods for Fish Skin Preservative

    Do you degrease before or after the borax bath? I wondered if I could just drop the formaldehyde, but Ive no fish of my own to try it out on and Im not about to experiment on a customers fish! :eek:
  4. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I just soak the skin in denatured alcohol over night. Then re-hydrate in clean water the next day and mount.Good luck JL
  5. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    I drop them in the borax- zinc- water solution for a day or two, then into degreasing for a couple days and back into the bzw solution for at least a day. The think zinc toughens the skin up without shrinking it to the extent of denatured alcohol. I degrease in acetone as well. I have left fish in that solution for a month or more, with no issues. I cannot take credit or blame for the recipe as I learned it from someone else and it works and it is all I use.
  6. idbatman

    idbatman Active Member

    Salt.... Salt them for several hours, then give them a good degreasing bath in Dawn or greasebuster . Scrub the fin butts with a tooth brush . I have left them over night in the fridge, but make sure the bath is not TOOO concentrated , it will eat the fins. Rinse and mount the next day.
  7. Ok, so if Ive got a 45 inch Striped Bass, how much denatured alcohol would I need? A 5 gallon pail would cost me $100 bucks here.
  8. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    You can buy a gallon of denatured alcohol in the paint section of most hardware stores for $10 and would be enough to do several striped bass. Just keep it covered to lessen the evaporation and just pour it back into the gallon can it came in to be used again. I lay the skin flat in a shallow plastic "tub" with a cover I buy at Walmart. Good luck JL
  9. Thank you JL, both your replies are super helpful! :-*
    Fallenscale likes this.
  10. Thank you for answer. I`ve found very useful information
  11. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    Borax, Kemal-4 and water here. All my fish heads are reproduced. I only mount the skins here in my shop.
  12. So, after taking everyone's wonderful advice, I used the denatured alcohol straight on some experimental heads of Striped Bass. The result was great as far as the head drying out quickly after a long rinse in cold water, but after 3 days drying, there was a strong fish odor.

    I know the these seafaring fish can be greasy and smell no matter what, and I figured that I might have missed some greasy pocket somewhere. Would Kemal-4 work for degreasing as well as odor control? Ive read that Dawn soap works good too. I was also curious if anyone tried powdered borax with denatured alcohol, I read some people use it in soldering as an protector in oxidization. Or is that just overkill?

    Take in mind in Canada many of the products that are available in the States can cost us hundreds of dollars to ship, if the company will even ship at all! So Im seeking alternatives!