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Making A Fish Manikin

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by mbj306, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. mbj306

    mbj306 Member

    when carving a block of blue foam for a skin mount fish which trace do you cut first, the dorsal trace or the lateral trace?
  2. Dorsal

  3. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    When learning it is helpful to carve the body before you skin the fish as all your reference is in front of you.
    Cecil, 3bears and Richs Taxidermy like this.
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Dorsal, because that is where your curves are.
  5. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    I purchased a couple forms, following the directions. After getting the forms, WOW what a difference in the bodies. I used my measuring tape for doing antler scoring for the grith of fish measuring, going every 2 inches of length. Form to skin was 4 inch difference, the length was good but grith of form was really big. I spend a hour recarving to come close, but I still after it larger for the customer. I measured 16 inch grith on fish, order 16 inch .
    Now wondering if fish strink up that much in the typical fish boarax tan soak to leave a 2 inch gap?
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Jim, Fish don't shrink that much. Do your fins line up where they are supposed to go? As long as everything lines up where it goes the customer won't likely bitch that their fish is now fatter.
    Cecil likes this.
  7. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    After talking with several others, taking measurements over the skin will be larger then measuring the body under the scales and sometimes fins not laying down flat enough also cause for measure differences.
  8. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Only use it as a guide. Since I carve all my fish I’ll never have your issues of trying to mount a fish on 90% dead fish bodies. There are a few and getting better bodies out there but it’s cheaper, quicker than buying one.
    After saying this when I take those measurements I know ( depending on the fish) will dictate how much less the meat of the fish will be.
    Let’s just take a spring run trout for example. There skin is so thin I may only take an 1/8” off. Now if your doing a spawning one , then your looking from 3/8-3/4” off those measurements cause of fat deposits in the skin etc.
    so best off to learn your fish and if anything after you skin one out caliber them in various areas and make the difference if your not sure.
    I rather a hair smaller than anything bigger for it only causes havoc and I’m never a fan of a gap in back of my fish.
    I say this : your deer , birds and mammal mounts don’t have gaps in them even if it’s against the wall, WHY THE HELL DO WE THINK ITS OK TO DO IT TO FISH? lol
    Enjoy and have a great weekend.
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    "Only use it as a guide" Frank gives great advice here!

    Lol - pretty funny. I don't even take dorsal tracings. Many ways to skin a cat. I trace my fish outline laying the fish down on freezer paper on top of some flat foam, peg thru the eye and base of tail with pins. After tracing the outline I simply take the fish and get 3-4 caliper measurements front to back to get the necessary thickness of my foam. Then once my curve(s) are cut in with the band saw I lay the freezer paper tracing onto the curved foam and transfer the fish outline to the foam. Then to the band saw or keyhole saw it goes to cut out the fish shape. I don't pay that much attention to skin thickness as you can always take it off and there is some stretch in the skin.

    I really think the two biggest issues people have with carving bodies is 1) Over thinking things. And 2) Not trusting your measurements. I also think girth measurements are a waste of time and can be detrimental (due to skin thickness - as the outside dims can get way off on a big fish). Then, when fitting up the skin put your foam where it needs to be up front of the head (I like to go to the front of the eye socket) and to the base of the tail Adjust everything in-between but maintain these two key points!

    Looking at the actual fish helps too when first carving. But also just use it as reference and not an absolute. That fish laying on the table is subject to gravity and will deform a bit.
  10. I seen Jeff Mourning draws the fish upside down,not sure why ,probably belly distortion .