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Fake Heads

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by drwalleye, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. drwalleye

    drwalleye Member

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    I've been wondering how many people use fake heads for northern. I use them all the time for trout and salmon. I think most guys want the original but is it a lot better that I should be pushing that a little? I have a few in my shop that are about 10 years old and seem fine. I know I have a lot of epoxy work on some because of shrinkage. just looking for some advice from those who have done it both ways. Thanks a bunch
     
  2. I would think for northerners and musky it's a good idea, there both alot of work to remove all the meat,and then like you said alot of apoxie to bring all the shrinkage back.But I don't think there's a wide variety of heads out there.
     
    drwalleye likes this.

  3. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I as of now I do not use them for warm water fish as a rule. I remove the head and spend the time to remove all but some of the skull and skin and in the case of pike and musky they get a degreasing soak or 2. I've found that it seems that the artificial heads available always end up being too big or to small. I do cast my own for cold water fish and carp but have never tried it with pike.
     
    socalmountainman likes this.
  4. drwalleye

    drwalleye Member

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    thanks I have never cast a head yet, I tried one time and it was a huge flop but that's something I need to get back and try again
     
  5. drwalleye

    drwalleye Member

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    is it hard to re attach a real head after you cut it off? I would think you need to put it back on when you mount the body or it will shrink and not fit later and how do you attach it wet?
     
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I have explained the method I use for casting heads, it should be on here somewhere. Yes I mount the head on the form when the skin and head are still wet. Let them dry remove head rebuild throat latch and all other areas that need it, except the top of the head. I then prepaint areas that will be hard to get later then attach the head for good and blend.
     
  7. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I too remove all the meat and rebuild and use the real head on Pike and Muskie original skins. Molding is a large PITA with all those teeth. And you'll never mold them as sharp as the real teeth. That could be good or bad depending on your perspective!

    As far as attaching artificial heads go, I prefer more than a surface to surface attachment - especially with larger, heavier heads. I run a dowel into the head up to the eye/bondo/dry. Then that dowel (maybe 12" long or longer on a pike) goes all the way into the body (there's usually a hole already in the blank here) until it stops/hits something. Prefit everything of course. Add bondo to all the attachment points and to the hole area and end of that dowel and insert it into the body, attach/line-up/dry. Then, I like the vaseline-type epoxies like Apoxie Paste or Smooth Epox to finish off the attachment at the head juncture/blend. These vaseline type epoxies are more of an adhesive and much stronger vs Apoxie Sculpt. On small, lighter heads I'll just go surface to surface like 3Bears describes. With bondo or Apoxie Sculpt or whatever I'm pushing at the time...
     
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Marty, I also use more than surface attachment on pretty much every head, I just didn't didn't describe that part.
     
    FishArt likes this.
  9. drwalleye

    drwalleye Member

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    Thanks for the feed back never thought about the dowel, what about those Vaseline type epoxies can you detail them as well as Apoxi sculpt as far as making fake scale impressions. I used fin magic and it works great for some things but if I want to depress scales in it I doesn't seem to work very well it dries very fast
     
  10. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Yes, my dowels have never failed me! I would say "no" as far as creating scales in the vaseline type stuff. You can do it if you time it right when setting up. Or, dremmel in those scales after hardening. For sculpting scales I would recommend using the stronger, vaseline epoxy to attach (dry), but then leave a small gap up top and finish off with Apoxie sculpt. Easier to work with.
     
    Fallenscale likes this.
  11. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    I custom cast every head unless it’s damaged or was not stored well by the customer. Everything from salmon- perch
    Can have a head molded and cast in under 2 hours from start to out of the mold and in my hands ready to be finished
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  12. rbear

    rbear Well-Known Member

    What do you use to cast your heads? Alginate?
     
  13. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    Bondo. I’d its one I’m making to use again I mold them in 1220
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  14. rbear

    rbear Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry I wrote that wrong. I meant to ask what do you use as a mold?
    Thanks
     
  15. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    1,700
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    York, SC
    Bass bream crappie original heads
    Strippers over 10 lb repo
    Trout Ect salmonoids repo head
    Musky pike over 10 repo
    Just my penny’s worth
     
  16. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    That is what I use to mold.
     
  17. JHardman

    JHardman Member

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    Mudbat
    what do you cast them with? and are these 2 piece molds or 1 piece? I have tried using
    bondo before; it makes a nice mold but I usually ruin the casting and or the mold trying to get the positive casting out.
     
  18. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    Bondo/resin
     
  19. rbear

    rbear Well-Known Member

    I have not done a ton of casting but I'm with Mudbat. How would you get the positive out? I wouldn't think you could get an open mouth fish head out of a bondo mold?
     
  20. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Probably casts the head separately or no open mouth?? I would only use bondo if I wanted more than one pull. For one-time pull I would use alginate or something less smelly than bondo - lol P.S. But I'm no casting and molding expert either!