The fish molding process is by far one of the most important steps in the making of a trophy fish mount. At Gray Taxidermy we build our molds from real fish. We have literally travelled the world to make these molds which are a vital part in order to handcraft any fish mount possible. The patented molds are then used to create the various fish models fro which we can reproduce the life like fish trophy mounts.
The process starts out by our mold makers placing an actual fish in a sandbox and shaping the fish by building up the sand to simulate the edge of the mold. Once we create a natural, action type pose, we then prepare the skin surface of the fish to ensure to capture the amazing details. Gelcoat and fiberglass are applied to the front half of the fish mount. Once this process is done, we then turn the fish over and repeat the same process. Once the mold is set, it is cut open and the fish is removed and discarded. We then clean the mold and correct and fix any flaws or imperfections.
We do not extend, shorten or modify an existing model to fulfill an order. Currently we have over 10,000 models of various sizes and species available, making us very confident that we will be able to build your custom fish mount regardless of inch increment or type of fish. More Facts about Gray Taxidermy.
Once the fish mold is complete, it is laid open to expose both halves of the mold. A release agent is then added to the surface to allow the fish body to come out of the mold after glassing is set. We then brush in a thin layer of gelcoat followed by several layers of fiberglass.
A small block of wood is added to the backside of the fish mount so we can attach a hanger during the finishing stage. We then add a fiberglass paste to the edge of the mold and it is then clamped together. Once everything is hardened, the clamps are removed and the fish reproduction is removed from the mold. It is now ready for finishing.
Once your trophy fish has reached the finishing department, the fiberglass fish reproduction body is cleaned of the release agent. Then the edges of the body are trimmed away and bondo is applied to smooth out the seams. Real or replica bills, teeth and fins can now be attached to the reproduction fish mount.
A hand painted glass eye is added and a hanger is placed on the back. A primer coat of paint is then applied. Any imperfections are fixed and inspected. It is now ready for painting.
The most important part of creating an accurate trophy fish mount is the painting process. Both fresh water fish mounts and salt water fish mounts are prepared the same way. A base silver coat is sprayed on all fish mounts that are metallic in color. All other fish trophies are primed in white. Most colors are specially blended translucent lacquers tailored to allow the background color to bleed through. Gray Taxidermy takes particular pride in the final painting. Here master artists capture the magical moment of the fishes beauty. With demanding skill and exact accuracy, layer after layer of carefully applied translucent lacquer create subtle shadings that add the touch of realism to every fish mount.
Color accuracy is the key to a good fish mount and Gray Taxidermy goes to great lengths to insure the precise color. Gray Taxidermy has the knowledge and the ability to vary colors so that they match those typical of the area from which the fish came. The final step is a topcoat of clear is sprayed on to achieve a wet look finish and also to seal all of the color in. Once the paint is allowed to dry, the eye is cleaned and the trophy fish mount is ready to proudly display.
Although sometimes crating is not considered to be that important - here at Gray Taxidermy special care is involved in crating a trophy fish mount. After all, the crater is the last person in our company that will see your trophy fish mount. In a sense, he or she is also the final inspector.
It's an essential part of the service that insures your trophy fish will arrive in exactly the same condition it left the studio. Each fish is suspended so that only the back touches the packing. Smaller fish travel in boxes made of 400 lbs test cardboard which proves to be the strongest and lightest material. Larger fish are crated by making a 1 X 4 wooded frame around your trophy fish mount and then the entire crate is wrapped with cardboard. Your fish mount is now ready for shipping. All of our trophy mounts are shipped 100% insured on trustworthy freight carriers to insure safe passage to its final destination - your home or office, preserving your memory of a lifetime.