My Flexible Fish Painting Pedestal

A flexible fish painting pedestal that is quick and easy to build and costs around $10-12 to build, and all the parts can found in any Home Depot or Lowe's.  Total build time less than 15 minutes.   

Click on any of the below images
for a larger version.

First you need to gather up some materials......

Locate the following materials:

2- 3/4" Pipe Floor Flanges
1 - 12" Flexible Hot Water Heater Pipe
2- 3/4" Pipe Nipples
8- #12 x 3/4" Taper Head Wood Screws
1- #12 x 3/4" Pan Head Screw
1- 3/4" - 1/2" Pipe Reducer
1- 1/2" - 3/8" Pipe Reducer
1- 3/8" - 1/4" Tubing Adaptor (brass)
1- #10 x 2" Drywall / Deck Screw
1- 3/4" x 16" x 20" Melamine Board (or plywood / particle board)
1- 3/4" x 5" x 7" Melamine Board (or plywood / particle board)


Center the pipe floor flange on the 16" x 20" wood base.

Drill 4 pilot holes so the larger screws don't split your wood. 
Then mount the flange in place with 4 #12 screws.

Tighten a 3/4" nipple into the base .

Thread the flexible hot water heater tube to
the base flange and nipple and tighten well.

Hand tighten the first reducer into the flexible tube collar, don't over tighten.  If you can find a 3/4" - 3/8" reducer you can eliminate the next reducer shown. 
My local Home Depot was out of them at the time so I had to use an extra reducer.

Next install the 1/2" -3/8" Reducer and tighten with a wrench to the 3/4" reducer. 

Next, install the 3/8" - 1/4" Tubing Adapter and tighten.

Inside the fitting cap you should see a compression sleeve pressed into the collar.  Leave it in place.  It will crush down around the drywall screw on the initial tightening after we install the screw in the next step.  If you don't have enough exposed threads after inserting the screw into the collar press the tube into the collar just enough to fit the screw head under the cap and have enough threads exposed to tighten.

Slide the screw into the collar and tighten the collar to the fitting securely.  Use a heavy drywall / deck screw.  Don't trust a thin #6 or #8 screw if you plan to use this stand for larger fish in wood.  I trust a #10 or #12 with larger fish.  And you could always make different size mounts for different size fish by just buying a few extra 1/4" Tube Collars.  They will all fit the mounting head you just assembled.

Completed mounting head.

Head can be removed and installed by hand as needed.  The rubber washer that comes in the water tube works perfect to secure the mounting head in place with a simple hand tightening.  So don't loose the washer, you will need it. 

Now lets make the other mounting head - used for painting fish with a metal wall hanger bracket installed.

Same as above, center the flange on the 5"x7" board, drill pilot holes, set screws and tighten in the 3/4" pipe nipple.

Now thread the flex pipe collar to the pipe nipple in the base of the wall mount board.  Then center the #12 pan head screw in the face of the board (used to hang your wall mount fish carvings).  And your done.  You can bend the flex tube to the desired angle as well as loosen the pipe collar and swivel the mount board into position.  This system works great.  I can paint the sides of the fish or bend it back and paint the belly all without touching the fish.


Then to use the screw mount head just loosen the flex pipe collar and swap mounting heads. 

To mount your carving using the screw mount simply slide the 1/4" collar over the screw with the threads of the collar sliding over the screw head.  Then drill a pilot hole in the carving and screw the drywall screw into the carving at least 5 or 6 turns to avoid it tearing out under the weight of the carving while painting.  I prefer to mount the screw into the anal vent, its an easy hole to hide after painting the carving with a little sculpting epoxy and paint. 

Next thread the 1/4" collar to the mounting head fitting and tighten with a wrench or pliers.  This will lock the fish in place.  If you need to rotate the carving during the painting process you will do so at the larger flex pipe nut that is hand tightened.  Normally the friction from the rubber washer is enough to hold the fish in place yet will allow you to swivel the fish without loosening the collar.

Now the fish can be positioned in just about any pose by bending the flex tube or swiveling the fish on the mounting head by hand.  Bend the tube by hand to position the fish, DON'T BEND THE TUBE BY FORCING THE FISH into position, you could break off the mounting screw.  The tube is quite strong.  The tube can support large fish with ease.  The only change I would make to my stand is possibly filling the tube with sand.  So if I were to ever bend it beyond a 90 degree bend the tube would not kink.  So far this one bends easy enough in all directions with no signs of any kinking.  But I know the sand would ensure no kinks in the future no matter how far it is bent. 

Allows hands free airbrushing.

Also great for painting habitat pieces as well.

Also works well for paint my practice castings sold in the Study Aids section of this website.  Simply drill a small hole in the back of the casting and mount using the screw mount head.


Well there you have it.  With these two mounting heads and the base you will be able to paint most any type of fish carving or taxidermy mount hands free. 

~Ed Walicki

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All images and content Copyright 2005 Edward J. Walicki







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