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Restoring A Rainbow Trout

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by fishtech2029, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. fishtech2029

    fishtech2029 Member

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    I have one that I want to redo but not sure what kind of paint that was used how can I get the paint off or dulled enough to repaint it.what is the best way to do this all the fins and head are ok the paint is faded bad so that's why I want to bring it back to life !!!!! thanks
     
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok the only issue here is the head and fins can and probably might get damaged.
    I’ve done quite a few of these so all I use is heavy gel paint remover, ( follow directions) brush from the head down.
    It’s going to be the scrubbing of the fins and head that will cause damage.
    My advice and I do this on all these f-ing jobs is to replace the head and fins.
    Once clean, all repairs done begin your paint .
     
    Lance.G likes this.

  3. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    I use acetone and prop the fish over a pail or metal container, brushing down the fish and allowing the paint to run into the container. Be careful as it will melt the foam on the inside if it was mounted over a fish form! Sometimes, though, It's much easier just to white out the whole fish with a white primer and just paint over the white! 15.jpg
     
    msestak and FishArt like this.
  4. fishtech2029

    fishtech2029 Member

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    Ok thanks for the info very helpful
     
    socalmountainman likes this.
  5. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Yes, whiting out with White Primer is the way to go - MUCH easier! Antique and paint like a replica!
     
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  6. fishtech2029

    fishtech2029 Member

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    all replys are are good ideas im going to look at it and see what my options are it sounds like im going to white it out because its faded that bad thanks for the help
     
    Vick and socalmountainman like this.
  7. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Here is my next restoration. The young man was 14 yrs old in 1991. Today he is a doctor in Los Angeles. His Grandmother is having me restore it for his next birthday. I get $28 per inch for restorations with a $500 minimum. I will not even look at it for less. I have a very select clientele (lol)! b.jpg 1.jpg
     
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  8. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    2,196
    2,222
    York, SC
    Holy cow
    I strip a fish if needed it’s a case by case call
    How was it mounted what material Ect
    Assuming fins were backed with cardboard and it was the original head
    Replace them all head and fins if needed case by case basis
    And as far as rates
    This should be done on a shop rate basis
    I have done some repairs in 20 min and some took 3 hours plus painting
    It’s all on a case by case basis
     
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I too have had restores take me a half hour and then some that have taken me over 40 hours. I concur with this approach for restorations if the customer will allow a T&M approach with a not to exceed amount. But, I usually give them a fixed/firm price estimate because most customers are more comfortable with that. If I have to buy a fin set I add that into my estimate with the appropriate profit margin on top of my shop rate. Otherwise materials are usually cheap so I just include most materials in my shop rate for restorations. I break down the restore based on what I'd like to do and I let them pick what they do and don't want me to do based on their budget. Restorations can be very lucrative but I've also lost my butt on a couple of old billfish so I don't take them on anymore. On occasion I have called my customers with unknown problems and have asked and rec'd more money too. Most restoration customers are just very happy to find a qualified taxidermist to take on the job and are pretty reasonable so I don't have a problem asking if I screw the pooch on the estimate - very easy to do with restores!
     
    msestak likes this.
  10. fishtech2029

    fishtech2029 Member

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    I know what you mean fishart I’ve done the same in my Hvac trade sometimes you can’t see until you get into it . Just for my own info what do you guys charge for something like that a complete restore or just to fix fins ??.and how much to do a complete fish from start to finish??? Thanks
     
    Vick likes this.
  11. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    As mentioned above, I just break down every task I need to do and then add up the hours. For instance, for the above bass I'd start with a purchased fin set (above and beyond included materials in hourly rate):

    Fin Set $45
    Tail Juncture, gill cover and other minor repairs 2.0 (hours)
    Option for head replacement $100
    Or, rebuild shrinkage and deal with head droop .5
    Remove and replace eyes .5
    Attach new fins/tail/blend 1.0
    Strip or Prime/total repaint 4.0
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total (with head rebuilding option vs replacement) $145 + 8.0 hours @ $50/hr shop rate = $400 (plus $145) = total cost to restore = $545.

    Notice it's not an exact science. For instance if they opted for the swapped head the head maybe costs $40 shipped then I just lumped an hour or so in time to remove and install the new one. That's it really. Just the way I prefer to do it as I'm sure there's other ways to run estimates. One tidbit of advice to those starting out with estimating restoration jobs. You will eat some hours early on - but you will learn a lot quickly on how to estimate jobs! That being said I would recommend with your first estimate to DOUBLE the amount of time you THINK it's going to take. Always takes longer than it looks AND there's always a couple of unknowns. Plus, I have a little fudge factor in there to also cover my estimating and client interaction costs as well not shown in the above estimate...
     
    Vick, Sleepyhollow and msestak like this.
  12. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    My pricing includes my overhead and a 15% profit margin.
    My overhead is $1400 month so I have calculated my hourly overhead to $8.75 per hour (I am full-time so it's an 8 hour day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks per month). On an 8 hour restore I will add $70 to the price for overhead then multiply by 1.18 for my profit margin (15% = 100/85=1.18). Material + Labor + Overhead X profit margin = price.
     
    Lance.G, Sleepyhollow and FishArt like this.
  13. fishtech2029

    fishtech2029 Member

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    thanks for the reply guys your both right im starting out but as far as the business end goes I got that one covered I own a hvac business so time and money is always a factor ....im just starting out so im going to be as reasonable as possible so I can get a customer base then see where it goes from there. im doing 3 of my own to see what I need to do im doing a 4lb pike right now ive spent a total of 4days so far by the time ill be done total of 4 to 5 weeks from start to finish . a total cost to a customer would be at least 4 to 500 bucks would that be fair or to much ????? the fish is about 26 inches long forgot to tell you that or would 3 to 400 dollars sound better
     
    socalmountainman likes this.
  14. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

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    Price is typically set by your skill level. Well for the most part.
     
  15. Pikeonthefly

    Pikeonthefly Active Member

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    I'm just starting out so I'm going to be as reasonable as possible so I can get a customer base then see where it goes from there.

    Price is typically set by your skill level. Well for the most part

    Years ago I was enrolled in a Taxidermy School. At the time construction had slowed and I was (fantasizing) about starting a new career. Price for fish ran around $5.50 an inch for so so work and $7.50 per inch for a good taxidermist. I was living at home and my mom worked at an aerospace company which provided me with a good start. So I told the instructor that due to my experience I would start out around $3.25 per inch to get my business off the ground. His reply was "no you will charge somewhere between the $5.50 and the $7.50". But I'm not good enough I said. "When are you going to be good enough and then what are you going to do?" What do you mean I asked. He said "Once you set a precedence of charging $3.25 you will build a customer base on that amount. When YOU think you are good enough and want to raise your prices your going to have a problem". As luck would have it I stayed with construction and went out on my own and followed his philosophy. I charged the same as everyone else and got to the point I was so busy I had to turn down work. Once word gets out and you are in demand you can pick and choose what work you want to do and how much you want to charge for it. To me starting out and undercutting everyone else could be the recipe for disaster. Whether your as good as everyone else or not is immaterial. Your spending the same amount for the materials and probably more time on the product itself because of your inexperience. You only have so much time in this world. There are times to be generous and give back. Don't obligate yourself to fulltime for a lifetime.
     
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  16. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    My minimum charge is $500. It takes just as many hours to mount a 12" bass as a a
    24 inch bass!
     
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  17. fishtech2029

    fishtech2029 Member

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    thanks socalmountainvery good point>>>>> and for you pikeonthefly very good advice also I remember when my guy was charging 4.00 bucks an inch so not all that long ago so 5.50 is not out of the question thanks for all the replys
     
  18. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Same philosophy here. I honed my fish skills for 2 years while working as a full-time CAD Designer before I felt I was good enough to take on my first fish customer. Then, I actually started out charging MORE than the established guys around me and built my business from there!
     
    fishtech2029 likes this.
  19. fishtech2029

    fishtech2029 Member

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    it all boils down to experience but its like anything else you have to do it to get it I remember my dad telling his customers that when I started in the hvac trade so im going to give it my best shot ive been doing hvac work for 35 years so im looking to get into something else that's not hard on my body so that's why I choose this its relaxing and the time flys when im doing this I mibht have a job for a guy to fix a trout fin so im looking forward to doing it as soon as this virus slows down... and I enjoy doing this also
     
  20. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    2,196
    2,222
    York, SC
    Experience is a plus, big plus
    Would you take your Ferrari to a shade tree mechanic
    My shop rate for this kind of work is Fairly high from what I see on here, but my customers have trust in what I charge
    You need to build confidence and trust in your customer base
    I do stand behind my reputation
    I have never BS’d a customer
    I have on server almost occasions gave them my rate with estimated cost and it came in lower than quoted.
    This type of reputation gets spread out very quick