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Fish Taxidermy Tips?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Cecil, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I thought it would me neat to post taxidermy tips. Little things we do or use that we have found works well. Pics are imperative!

    I will start off with this. They are laundry tags and have spring loaded clips. Very cheap and waterproof and tough (as long as you aren't rough with them). I clip them on the lingual tissue on the side of a fish's mouth when soaking the skins. Use a permanent Sharpie to write on them and as long as it's not red you are good to go!


    They come from a company called Liberty Pittsburgh - Systems, Inc. and are called Daily Delievery Tags. They come 1000 to a box you won't run out for a while. Sorry I can't remember how much they cost. I just know I bought several thousand and I'm set for life! ;D

    3498 Grand Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, United States
    (412)771-8000, (412)995-1018 fax, http://www.golps.com
  2. choo choo charlie

    choo choo charlie I feel pretty good for the way I feel

    Hey Cecil where do you buy the tags?

  3. Excellent idea for a post Cecil.
    If the skin mount you are working on has damage to the dorsal and rays are missing....the thorns on a thornapple tree work GREAT for a replacement. They have a natural slight curve to them just like a fishes hard dorsal. Just make sure they are good and dry before using.
  4. Bill4bass

    Bill4bass New Member

    Great idea. At this point I would be one that probably wouldn't have a lot to submit but as I progress I would hopefully submit as i figured out different items that make the job a little easier. I for one vote yes on this as a thread to get started. Bill
  5. A- Fish

    A- Fish Stehling's Taxidermy

    Good idea Cecil ;)

    This business is all about tricks

    Here is one ~

    When skinning out summer steelhead, browns , salmon ( great lakes etc) Salt the fish when it's half frozen. Take extra care to salt by the tail and vent. Skin fish the next morning, and leave as much meat as possible on the carcass- the more fleshing you have to do, the more scales you will loose. Adding a layer of borax to the scales before you skin can also help. DO NOT OVER SOAK !!
    When soaking the fish, lay it out FLAT- no bending of the skin. Mount ASAP
  6. Think out of the box when skinning crappie. I seldom knock even a single scale out of the show side of crappie, how?? you ask. A semi-dull scalphel blade. take small cuts and dont tear those tendons that attach the body to the skin as this is what knocked the scale out of pocket.

    Gently, lift the skin and drag the semi sharp blade and it will cut perfectly. Dont rush it, that crap about skining any fish out in under 4 minutes never gets the fish skin clean, there is still to much meat up in the head.

    Bass, walleye, stripers and other fish have a ball socket behind the nose, cut this out!! Remove the skull structure on the side of the head,, there should be nothing but the mouth interior skin and exterior skin left.

    After an overnight soak in Denatured alc. any meat will firm up, so put an extra 30mintues in removing all the meat from the esophagus skin, roof of ythe mouth, up under the tonguem remove the atora and even more.

    Even on bass remove the meat of the inner lower jaw.
  7. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    On other fins you can use the ends of your broom straw. The ends split just fin rays. George Roof was the first to tell me that I think, and I be darn if it don't wrok pretty well. I just repaired a soft dorsal this week. I will try and get photos if I remember.

    Next tip.....Take the photo before the customer comes to get it. I forget all the time. I hang it on the wall and call them thinking I will get it later and never do.

    and last...be honest with your customers, stay in contact by calling or emailing them when ever you have an update and you may find yourself on the receiving end of a tip $$$ here and there. I had one give me an extra 10 bucks today. It ain't much, but it sure makes me feel good and I appreciated the thought.
  8. I would like to add on the photo thought.
    I have found that taking photos of works in progress is very helpful to me. keep a camera handy and snap shots at different stages of work.

    Cleaning the heads of panfish and collar bones. I have used a small dremal tool with an old wire brush. I attached a pice of sheet styrene to the dremal took to make a spatter guard. It makes quick work of fat and small pieces of flesh stuck in between the bones. use cold water on the surface as you work.
  9. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I'm on the process of doing a fish via a modified half cast method that is a lot simpler than the actual half cast method. I've started the photos and will take the viewer through in steps. However I'm not sure if it doesn't belong in a thread of it's own.

    Folks please include at a least a photo! It makes a big difference!
  10. NOAH@aarrkk

    [email protected] Active Member

    "use cold water on the surface as you work."

    Josh, is your Dremel tool battery powered or are you plugged into the outlet when you're using the cold water in this process?
  11. Battery powered. But I have used a plug in type but I use a shaft extension. The motor is suspended from the ceiling above me.
    by Cold water i mean to just dip the skin in a bowl of cold water or mist it with a sprayer, then head back to work on it.
    I am a coward at heart as far as physical injury so I keep the electrical way away from the water.
    Its no different then a bit of cold water trickled onto a stone when drilling or cutting. Be Safe and smart about it.
  12. Brian W

    Brian W Active Member

    Well Cecil, I don't have pictures but..............
    I have these plastic coated wire trays or baskets that hang from a peg board. Kind of like the shower deals but with four or five levels. I arrange my paints in the baskets. They are on two sides of my skinning table. I drill a hole in one side of the tapered end of a clothes pin and put a flexible small piece of wire through the hole and then hang them at various levels on the wire trays. This is usually done at eye level and I have 8 or 9 attached. I can then clip up many references pictures when I paint. This isn't a new concept but works for me.
  13. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    When you run into tissue that doesn't easily scrape off with a scraper tool, pop a fresh blade into a scalpel and use it as a scraper. It beats damaging the show side of the fish trying too hard to scrape the tough tissue off. The scalpel also works good for scraping off the strands of sinewy connective tissue that can ball up under thin trout skins and show through. It also works great on getting off the tough tissue on the inside ventral area of a walleye skin.

  14. sparkyf

    sparkyf New Member

    Man Cecil- this is a great thread!!! I wish I had a secret to add, but for the beginners like me I guess we'll just be taking all this great stuff in! CHEERS! ;)
  15. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    No secrets Sparky, just thinks that work for us that might help someone else. People think differently and solve problems differently. If we all share ways we have solved problems it can help us all.
  16. duxdog

    duxdog Active Member

    Tip from a begiiner- SLOWWWW DOWWWWN!!! It will return a higher reward. lol (mostly a tip to self). Great idea Cecil. This is about all I have to offer so far.
  17. sparkyf

    sparkyf New Member

    Yeah...I meant to say "Tips". Great stuff!
  18. NOAH@aarrkk

    [email protected] Active Member

    Everyone probably knows this by now but as I posted in the Taxidermy Review in the '70s, place paper towels in the mouth of fish prior to painting the gills.
  19. 1tigger

    1tigger Active Member

    Vaseline on eyes before painting , wipe off with q-tip when the paint is dry .
  20. NOAH@aarrkk

    [email protected] Active Member

    Since my previous one was 'old', here's something I came up with 'relatively' recently. It was prompted by Brians's post:


    I found it in a garage/yard sale. The lady used it to dry 'delicate' articles of clothing. It has a coat-hanger type hook at the top and nice little 'clothes pins' on the various arms that I use to hang reference photos. Holds quite a few images and rotates easily to view and takes up little space.

    [These sample images are of a 20+ inch arrowana or dragonfish that I molded and cast and will soon(hopefully) get completed.]