View Full Version : Altering a Mertailor Fluke

10-29-2012, 02:13 PM
Forgive me if this has already been discussed, I didn't see it. I'm wondering how I could alter a mertailor tail fluke shape? If I cut of the bottom edge, what's a good way to put it back together? It seems like, once cut, it would be hard to make the edges look normal again. Anyone have any experience with this?

Winged Mermaid
10-29-2012, 10:11 PM
There's a bit on that here: http://mernetwork.com/index/showthread.php?3301-Tail-Repairs-and-Questions .

When did you buy it? Do you have a picture of the tail? He's obviously changed materials a few times, and those can be a factor.

The super simple way would be to just trim the fluke and then add something to cover up the raw material- more latex or silicone. But that wouldn't look very clean. The other way would be to gut/seam rip the entire or bottom of the fluke (depending on how much of the fluke you want to reshape), reshape it, and glue it back down.

I can tell you gutting a fluke is a pain in the fin. The bottom seam may be glued, and if that's the case you may need to seam rip the entire fluke open. With neoprin this takes a lot of caution, time, and patience. And good lighting. Most of that is becuase the delicate nature of the neoprin. You seam rip a length of the fluke then when you have enough room you start pulling apart the caulking that holds the fabric together. Then seam rip more, pull it apart more, ect, until you have it all apart. For me the very tips of the fluke were the hardest becuase they were glued, not sewn. I had to get out the exacto knife for those.

Once you have all that done trim the fluke do your desired shape. Be sure to leave a little bit of material (say 1/4-3/4 inch) to fold under. Folding under the material will give it a clean edge on the outside. So shape it and leave a bit for that, then glue the fluke back down. If you just did the bottom, it's pretty simple. Just glue the bottom back down. If you had to gut the entire fluke it's a little more complicated becuase you need to glue the fluke and monofin back down as well.

I have yet to do that, but I have seen and heard what others have done. Here is where materials make a difference. If it is a tin cure silicone tail (what he recently switched to) ONLY silicone will bond to the silicone inside. You can't use actual glue, you have to use more tin cure silicone for your glue. This can be tricky becuase it can dry fast, so you may not have a lot of a widow to work with it. Because of that I would glue all the edges down first. They're the most important to get right (lining them up correctly and all) and you don't want other parts drying first to where you can't situate it to get the edges to line up if you don't work fast enough. Better safe than sorry. So I would do the edges first. This is where you make sure you fold the fabric under then glue it. If you need to use large sewing pins to keep the fabric in place, then once you glue it (but before the glue fully cures) pull the pins out.

After the edges are done, glue the rest of the fluke down. Do this by inserting the tip of the caulking gun into the fluke. Get as far down in the fluke as you can, then distribute the caulking from the bottom up. Be sure to leave plenty of room around the monofin pockets- you don't want to get any of that in there, and it redistribute in the next step. Take a rolling pin, or other round long rollable thing (like a piece of PVC pipe) and roll it over the fluke to redistribute the silicone evenly. Again, be careful about the monofin pockets. If you DO get some in there, be quick and clean it out before it cures.

If the tail is not silicone, it will most likely be glued down with more tin cure latex/latex caulking. You can use more tin cure latex - although that's not recommended becuase it takes FOREVER, if ever to cure and doesn't hold the monofin well. Or you can use a industrial glue like E6000. Depending on the glue you use you can glue the whole fluke at once including the edges. For a really strong hold, clamp the fabric lightly. I'm not sure I would use actual clamps for this, since the neoprene is ridiculously impressionable. Maybe just some big books. Just make sure not to put any weight on the monofin pockets- they can warp that way.

Lastly, do any paint touch ups if needed.

I hope this helps you!

10-30-2012, 09:55 AM
Wow, you are wonderful Iona! Thank you for taking the time to give such detailed information!!

I have a tail that I received in Feb of this year, and it has the scalloped edge fluke. It's ok, but I'd like to change it to something a little more to my taste. I very much appreciate the info!!! Thank you so much!!

Winged Mermaid
10-30-2012, 07:57 PM
You're quite welcome! That's what I'm here for ^_^ I hear you- I'm not one for the scalloped edges either, but that's my personal taste. He didn't change over from tin cure latex to tin cure silicone until June 17th of this year, so it will be tin cure latex. You can still use the tin cure silicone to adhere things together if you want, but you have the option of using an industrial glue instead. Either way, let us know how it turns out! Good luck with your modifications!