RE: NANFA-- need help on preserving dried fish heads

Denkhaus, Robert (DenkhaR_at_Ci.Fort-Worth.TX.US)
Tue, 22 May 2001 10:08:35 -0500


Depending upon what the ultimate use of the specimens is, there are a number
of methods that you can use to preserve them. You might be interested to
check out the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections at If you are looking for either a hands-on educational
item or a decorative ornament for your home, I would go with a diluted
polyurethane dip. I have done this with a few fragile skulls that I wanted
to strengthen for hands-on use and it has worked well although it does tend
to discolor the specimen slightly (turns yellowish). Dilute the poly with
mineral spirits so that it is completely liquid (polyurethane always seems
to have the consistency of mucus). Tie a piece of monofilament to the
specimen in a hidden area and dip the specimen into the mixture. Depending
on how big the specimen is and how much internal structure there is, leave
it in the mixture long enough for the poly to penetrate. Hang the specimen
up by the monofilament to dry. You can repeat the process as often as
needed to get the "finish" that you need. It will seal in smell and make it
easy to handle. I have also used this method to produce the prestigious
"Golden Buffalo Chip", which is the award we hand out each year to the
person who wins the Chip Throwing Contest at our Famous Buffalo Chip

Rob Denkhaus
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
"El muerto a la sepultura, el vivo a la travesura"
"The dead to burial, the living to mischief"

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jay DeLong
> Sent: Monday, May 21, 2001 1:25 AM
> To:
> Subject: NANFA-- need help on preserving dried fish heads
> I have a couple of fish heads that have been sun dried. They
> still have
> skin and it isn't going to decay off. I can't bring them in
> the house
> because they have a slight permanent odor. Any suggestions
> on how I can
> treat them so they still look the same but are sealed from
> further decay
> and odor? I don't want to put them in formalin or alcohol.
> I want to be
> able to handle them dry.
> --
> Jay DeLong
> Olympia, WA

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