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rehydrating fish fins

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by fishmonger, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. rehydrating fish fins
    « on: Today at 08:30:37 PM »

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    Hopefully someone can help me here, I mounted up a walleye and my jumbo paper clips didn't hold my fins together like I was hoping, It's been drying 4 days now, the fins were split in the tail and I had them pushed together nicely and carded and now during the drying process they've opened up like a 1/4" So I'm wondering if the fin can get re hydrated and pushed back together and then I'll try carding better

    Fishmonger
     
  2. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Absolutely! Especially after only 4 days! I actually rehydrated fins once that had been coated with Sobo Glue and then recarded them with no problems. Of course one side of the fin carding was no stick plastic.
     

  3. Cecil, Do you just lay a damp towel on the fin? and how about carding? any other tips ? The Jumbo paper clips don't seem to have enough grab to keep the fins in place. I'm using thin cardboard on one side and clear acetate(plastic) on the other, seems like the fins split worse after drying! i threw a picture in and removed the acetate

    Fishmonger
     
  4. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Yes, wet paper towel on both sides will get it rehydrated. Us ea spray bottle and spray it every few minutes or so. Should be loose enough after about a half hour to an hour.

    Jumbo clips will work if you use them properly. Did you peg your fins with pins to hold them in place first? Use enough paper clips to get the job done. Acetate might be too flimsy and maybe too "slippery" for the fins to grab onto. Use heavier plastic next time. Lastly, as the fish is setting up/drying check the fins to see if anything has moved. If you see a split you can insert an upholstery pin between the plastic/mesh and adjust it back w/o having to pull it apart. Then use more, tighter clips if need be to secure it properly. You can bend the clip backwards a bit to get the "jaws' tighter. If they're loosely going on, that might also be contributing to your problem.
     
  5. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Marty as usual has excellent suggestions but here's my take on the subject: I suppose wet paper towels whould do the job, but if it was me I would hang it over your sink with just the tail submerged. Or suspend over a bucket of water with just the tail submerged. It will take only a matter of minutes and that tail will be just liike when you first carded it.

    That said, with all those splits your tail is going to pull apart again as it dries with just the paper clips as you eluded to IMHO. I would put the acetate on the back side of the fin and comb the rays in place with a wetted tooth brush to get them to lay together. Being wet they will stick somewhat to the acetate, which will temporarily hold them in place so you can sandwich them in place with the carding. I would staple the carding together with a purse type stapler to get the rays to stay together better along with the paper clips. However, my guess is you will still have to fill in some gaps when you do your finish work. It's amazing how much pulling power a fin has as it dries. Especially the thicker finned fish such as the salmonids. I'ved used staples on a large chinook fin after pushing each side of a gap together and actually had the fin still pull apart!

    Here is the repair of a northern pike tail step by step if this helps. (Commericial work)

    Note: the white foam in the first pic and the cardboard behind the fin in the succeeding pics is just to show the fin better. Neither have a function.

    A terrible northern pike fin that needs work.

    [​IMG]

    Packing tape adhered to back side of fin.

    [​IMG]

    Packing tape trimed to desired shape of final fin.

    [​IMG]

    Apoxie Sculpt roughed in to fill in gaps.

    [​IMG]

    Apoxie Sculpt smoothed out and rays modeled in. Don't be afraid to really wet the Apoxie Sculpt. I use a combination of a tongue depressor, modeling tool, and upholstery pin to get the desired effect.

    [​IMG]

    Close up of small gap filled in and modeled.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a tongue depressor taped on the back side, as this fin has a large edge area that had to be filled in and wanted to droop. The tongue depressor kept it rigid until the Apoxie Sculpt set up. I used more packing tape to adhere the tongue depressor, but touched the tape to the floor first to make sure it didn't stick to much. This way it just stuck enough to hold the tongue depressor in place, but not enough to make it hard to get back off. I suppose drafting tape or painter's tape if you have some would be a good idea.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the fin with dark brown used to blend it with the rest of the fin. I usually use bright yellow on the entire fin as a base coat for the caudal on a northern pike but this pike had a very drab dark brown fin with only a few hints of yellow and orange.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Pescado

    Pescado Biggest in 2011

    http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,19769.0.html

    For repairs, innovative polymer's IE3025 is the best. It is easier and more durable. I will elaborate after breakfast.
     
  7. sparkyf

    sparkyf New Member

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    0
    Hey Paul, when your done eating breakfast will you also share some info on how you remove the staples, and is it a pain??? Thanks!
     
  8. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Sparky it's not that difficult. There is a thing called a stapler remover if you want to get fancy. ;D

    Paul thanks for the info. I missed that one oh great one. ;D
     
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I agree Cecil. It would be quicker and the tail will get much more flexible by totally soaking it in water...
     
  10. Pescado

    Pescado Biggest in 2011

    Looking at the clock I guess it was more of a brunch.

    I use an oyster knife, acquired from VanDyke's, to remove the staples. I have found nothing that works as good. The bulbous handle is also great for fleshing/thinning around the eyes and nostrils of deer capes.

    The 3025 fin fix is fairly simple and as strong as you can get (without adding much thickness to the fin). I do this before any sobo glue or tissue is applied. I put tape on the show side where the fix is needed. I then mix up a small amount of the 3025 and brush it, or trowel it on with a popsicle stick. I feather it out and away from the area that needed the fix. Once cured, I peel off the tape and add the sobo glue and tissue to the back side (only). Once that is dried I can add some details to the fix area on the show side, if needed. I would use a dremal tool, emory board or small file for this. I then seal and add sobo glue until I get the desired thickness. If you coat the whole back of the fin with the 3025, once your fin is completely coated front and back with the sobo glue, you can heat with a hair dryer and bend or add motion to the fin.

    Paul B
     
  11. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I prefer to model in fin rays on the show side right off the bat. Seems like I get the fin to match better when painting if the rays are there. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
     
  12. den007

    den007 Active Member

    3,467
    12
    Cecil's method works and looks good. If you wish to maintain some transluscency in the fin, Epo-Grip makes a quick setting epoxy that brushes on smooth. When dry, I grind in "rays" with a thin fiberglass grinding wheel to get a similar effect.
     
  13. sparkyf

    sparkyf New Member

    468
    0
    Cecil- I have one of those fancy staple removers....I was just wondering if you had to straighten out every staple before removing. My concern with a remover was if it would just rip through a fragile fin?
     
  14. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    If you need to get more gripp-age, especially in the center where the regular paper clips won't reach, you can use the BIG paper clips the taxi-supply companies sell.

    As mentioned many times in the past, I use .020 mil clear plastic/contact cement to back all my fins on wall mounts. Which of course provides a great foundation for repairs. I use Smooth-Epox to fill the voids level and I've done both - either sculpting in the rays with an artist's brush or I dremmel in the rays once hardened. Usually the latter because it's much quicker and looks nearly as good. I also like the nice clean edge the plastic backing gives. And as far as durability goes, I rarely get any fish back for fin repairs. They'll crack at the base before anything happens to the fin. And this is a much easier and better looking repair if it does happen...
     
  15. You can also card the fin and once it dries put saran wrap on the back and cover wit you fin backing cream. The fin backing will fill the voids and keep the transparency.
     
  16. Wow! Thanks for the input! I practiced with a pectoral fin I cut off and it did rehydrate nicely, It's true the fins do have alot of pulling power when drying I had the fins looking perfect before we went away for the New Year's weekend and I came back and couldn't belive how they had sepatated, ARRG! So back top the bench I go and I'll have to post a picture of my results .. Again thanks to all for your expert advice,,

    fishmonger
     
  17. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Back to repairing fins, here is a before and an after pic of the pike caudal fin completely finished. Not perfect but fine for commerical work. If you spend enough time on the modeling of the rays you can get good enough where someone can't tell you did any repair.

    Before:

    [​IMG]

    After:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Rehydrating went well, I've recarded and stapled and everything looked good this morning. I did try and put on some super glue gel to one of the splits and that seems to be holding as well it made carding easier. The nasty fumes from the super glue fogged the acetate, nowonder that stuff burns your eyes when you get your head in the way!
    Thanks fish Gods

    Fishmonger
     
  19. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I've never had much luck with super glue holding the splits although I've heard it works for others. As far as the fumes be careful with them. It's a mild form of cyanide gas especially if you heat the area. That is part of what super glue is made of. That said, I've been gased numerous times and I'm still here. :eek: ;D
     
  20. JasonMoe

    JasonMoe New Member

    You can card with apoxie sculpt too and saran wrap. It won't stick to saran. Also, you can get the big 3 inch paper clips at office supply stores like office depot for alot less than taxidermy supply catalogs.