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Fish Taxidermy Tips?

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

  1. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    It sticks Cecil as you well know! Anything you use to adhere the two pieces of foam is going to stick when carving with a knife. The gas or L.T. gums up and creates the same issue. Plus, you HAVE to paint the form with latex paint or something to hide the seams for thin skinned fish like trout. That's why I don't like using pieces of foam glued and opt to buy the big 10"x20"x96" blue billets instead. My supplier will cut them down the middle to make two, 5 inch thick pieces for free. Which I have done for most. But, save one or two 10 inchers for those REALLY big fish!
  2. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member


    That's what I thought it would do. My good friend LaVern Miller has a different approach, which I'm going to give a shot. I can't get the blue billets here and neither can he. We're not crazy about the softer foam and all the dust and waste. What he does is use two part foam. He makes an impression of the fish in his kid's sand box with saran wrap as a barrier between the fish and the sand. Then he removes the fish and pours the two part foam in the impression on the sand on the saran wrap (at least i think he said it was saran wrap or it was some other type of plastic. Maybe a garbage bag?)

    Anyway the foam once set easily seperates from the plastic and he then carves a body from it. He says there is little waste.

  3. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    I've used Dow foam since 1970. My father worked at Dow chemical and back then the one inch foam was readily available to the employees. I started out glueing four pieces together and at the tender age of 10, I learned how to glue them together without having glue in the spots where you must cut. With experience from there, I now only use 2 inch Dow foam and hot glue it together. Of course there are tricks but it can be done and you're carving within 60 seconds. No harmful vapors, no cutting through dried hot glue, just plain old fish body carving.
  4. Monty Artrip

    Monty Artrip Active Member

    Great tips guys! I really like the foam saving ideas from Cecil and M.T. and I will try them both. No pics of this but I use metal banding that is scrapped where I work when carding fins. When held in place with paper clips you can bend the banding and easily get some curvature in your fins. Also used some wider 1" banding to form a bracket recently to attach crappies to driftwood. By making a long 'c' shape with squared ends it enabled me to attach the fish with one end scewed to back of driftwood and the other to fish. Really worked well and gave a 3d look. Also made use of an otherwise unusable pc of wood as the angles wouldnt permit normal.attachment Will try to post pics but limited to phone at present while pc is being wiped.
  5. hambone

    hambone Well-Known Member

    At one time I used hot melt glue to bond two pieces of foam but it was hard to cut through it, now I rough shape both pieces and apply a coat of plaster of paris put them together and weight them down, now its no problem to cut or sand it.
  6. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    M.T. not to start a "debate" (lol), but anything used to attach the foam together causes your knife to slow down when carving. I've tried it all. Of course stuff like hot glue is going to be 100X worse. But, even the thin layer of spray glue or lacquer thinner isn't perfect when compared to a solid block of foam where the knife slides through like butter.

    Monty, you can cut pieces of cheap, aluminum flashing to get that curved affect if you wish. I use the stuff on my gills when carding. With the fins and tail I have the ability to put curvature in them after the fins dry with the fin backing method I use. But, flashing could be used here as well for those that use silkspan and have to put the curve in before drying...
  7. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    Marty, when glueing foam together using hot glue, you don't glue it where you will be cutting. It's really very elementary my dear watson!
  8. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I would think that would be difficult to know exactly where you'd be cutting once you throw your curve(s) in. Especially if doing an "S" curve. Now, toss in possibly having to glue together a 3rd two inch sheet for bigger fish and that would be even more difficult to do AND get good adhesion. I could see doing it if it's your only option. But, if you have access to the blue Dow billets at around $100 bucks each, it's SO much easier and probably just as cost effective if not more if you include your extra time dealing with the glue and other extras that those that glue together have to deal with. Now, if your only other option is having to buy the ridiculously expensive foam through the supply companies, then I could see doing this. But, I'll stick to solid pieces of foam whenever possible...
  9. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    Marty, I;ve never seen these billets you guys talk about but would love to have access to them. But, back to the hot glue, I'm telling you, it's not that hard, you just need to know where to glue and with as much carving as I have done, it comes easy. I haven't put a knife through the hot glue in a couple of years, and then maybe only a couple of times. Anyways, it just works for me, I have no problems with it.
  10. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I would imagine it takes experience to figure that out M.T. I've only had to glue pieces together a few times due to running out of my 10" thick billets and I'm in a pinch. But, it's a good tip to know for future use if I ever have to do it again. Honestly never thought about planning that far ahead b/c I've never had to worry about that stuff...
  11. Lateral Line

    Lateral Line The Sea Refuses No River...

    I almost always use Rust-Oleum primer and gloss when needed. Coverage is great and not too hard on the wallet at "Wallyworld". Several times I have gone to apply a sealer or finishing gloss coat and almost used the wrong can, due to their similar appearance. Nothing makes one's day like spraying primer on a finished fish, because you thought you had the "other" can. I always mark primer cans so as to distinguish them from gloss. Tape, sharpie pens, anything that stands out from the other product.


  12. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Good idea LL. Been there done that!
  13. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Except that 2X sucks - lol!

    I don't have that problem because all of my aerosol cans don't look anything alike PLUS I keep my primer cans in a totally different location in my shop from my clear glosses and sealers...
  14. Lateral Line

    Lateral Line The Sea Refuses No River...

    Marty, Is the 2X an inferior product? What would you suggest instead?
  15. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Just giving you grief G. I don't think it's awful. The biggest problem is the tips tend to clog (permanently) if you don't use it all in one spraying. And I think DougP called the folks at Rustoleum about it and they just brushed him off like it happens! No offer to replace the product or anything! Heck, I like Triple Thick anyway and others hate it! So, I wouldn't read too much into my opinion. I understand the regular Painters Touch gloss is much better if you can find it.
  16. CraigW

    CraigW Member

    Except that 2X sucks - lol

    I would agree
  17. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Never used that but can relate to grabbing the wrong can as in a can of WD40 instead of clear coat back when I used to use an aerosol clear coat. Now I use an automotive clear coat, and although I not tickled pink about using a touch up gun I can't be more happy with the automotive clear coat.

    I do use Ace's lacquer sealer and love it.
  18. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Which brings up another tip - lol! Wait until Ace offers their % off deal where everything in the bag is x amount % off. I've cleared their shelves of Ace Instant Drying Lacquer when they go on sale! I've occasionally seen 25% off! That stuff is EXPENSIVE at $5.99 - $6.99 a can. Well worth the price, but it's even better with 25% off! Shelf life is pretty darned long because I've never had a can fail on me...
  19. Lateral Line

    Lateral Line The Sea Refuses No River...

    I'm taking notes on all the brands you guy gave mentioned and will be adding to my inventory. I did get a couple of cans of Eastwoods 2K Aero-spray high gloss ( link below ), that someone suggested on here awhile back. $20/can, but worth every penny. It's the 2 part auto finishing gloss but comes in an spray can. Only good for 48 hrs once you mix the two components, but your fish get that freshly washed & waxed Lamborghini, high gloss finish & shine to them.

  20. naturalcreati40

    naturalcreati40 Active Member

    In ref to the Rust-oleum primer...OMG, I've thrown so many half used cans away because of the clogged tip it makes me sick. What I've done that might get me a little extra is that after every use I immediately clean the tip with cleaner. I'm not sure if this helps at all but in my tiny lil peabrain I think it does.