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Degreasing a skull?



Messages posted to thread:
wisconsinteacher 29-Sep-09
elkhuntr 29-Sep-09
notfastbutaccurate 29-Sep-09
13 points 30-Sep-09
DigitalHunter 30-Sep-09
Bou'bound 30-Sep-09
Extreme 30-Sep-09
Whiteleather 30-Sep-09
wildlifehunter 30-Sep-09
wildlifehunter 30-Sep-09

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From: wisconsinteacher Date: 29-Sep-09
I have read a lot of differnt ways to degrease a bear skull and I am still confused. Some are simple while others seem harder. What is the best way to degrease a bear skull after the bugs have cleaned it?

From: elkhuntr Date: 29-Sep-09
Put in dawn dish soap and a little ammonia and keed it it at about 120 degrees if possible. Keep changing the water when it gets cloudy. Keep doing this until the water is clean. Elkhuntr

From: notfastbutaccurate Date: 29-Sep-09
soap and boiling water.

From: 13 points Date: 30-Sep-09
Just soak it in Lemon ammonia fer 3 days, then put in a diluted peroxide solution fer 3 days. It will come out nice and white and clean. No boiling needed.

From: DigitalHunter Date: 30-Sep-09
I think Bruce Rittle made it, but it's called super solvent degreaser. Taxidermist use it for very greasy animals, fish heads, birds, etc. I think they've even used it to degrease whale bones. I've used it on skunk skins, getting rid of the oil gets rid of the smell. Works great, it's like super dawn times a million. Van Dykes Taxidermy supply sells it.

From: Bou'bound Date: 30-Sep-09
I use the CAT method.

(Call A Taxidermist)

From: Extreme Date: 30-Sep-09
what elkhuntr said this process could take more than a month to get the skull completely degreased.

From: Whiteleather Date: 30-Sep-09

Whiteleather's embedded Photo

If your skull is old and already stained with grease from leaving in contact with flesh and skin for too long, the discolorations will never come out.

If your skull is fresh, here is what I use for small mammals with museum quality results:

Remove skin and as much meat as possible (don't cut skull with your razor).

Next remove as much of the brain as you can through the spinal column hole at the back of the head.

Place the skull in a pot that will allow you to COVER all of the skull with 3" over the top (important to keep a ring from forming where the bone sticks out of the water.

Cover skull with tap water and a cup of Dirtex or Soilax. This is commonly available from your hardware store or maybe even the grocery. The soap will turn the water greenish yellow but will NOT stain your bone.

Bring to a boil, then simmer (outside for gods sake!).

When you get a dirty looking foam cap and the greenish water looks more grey than green, change the water with fresh tapwater and another cup of soap. If you keep your fresh water real hot it will save you some time. What you are doing is digesting the cartilage and wicking the oils out of the skull.

I simmer for 2 hours with 3 water changes. The teeth will fall out. Not a problem. You will want to glue them back in with SuperGlue later.

After 2 hours drain the skull and use a soft tooth brush and a plastic pick to remove the now jellied meat and cartilage. Do this while still warm.

Now your skull is ready to be covered in standard peroxide for 24 hours. Standard peroxide is readily available, cheap, will not damage the bones. It takes longer, but it is safer for the project.

Keep the bones covered or you will get "rings" of high bleach and low bleach areas.

When bones are white, white, white, shake, drain and let dry. After 24 hours, glue teeth back in. I use a thin coat of spray-on shellac to make dusting easier, and to avoid stains from being handled.

In the picture you can see one old skull in the middle of a bunch of new skulls. The new skulls I did from animals I killed. The old skull was found in a field. I wanted to see if I could bleach it out...I couldn't.

Kris in NY

From: wildlifehunter Date: 30-Sep-09

From: wildlifehunter Date: 30-Sep-09
Just finished on as per instructions from my taxidermy friend, turned out great. Flesh out head as good as can be with knife separate jaw and remove as much flesh from eye sockets and inside of mouth. Drill 1/2 inch hole from inside of skull into brain cavity. Place in five gallon plastic bucket with lid. Add water to cover head allow to sit, replace water three or four times over 4-6 weeks or until clean. (caution teeth will start to fall out at around three to four weeks. save to glue in later.)Air dry 24 hours and then bring clean skull to a boil with a little dish soap. Let dry If not as white as you would like let soak in peroxide for 24 hours. Clean and white, glue lower jaw bones together and glue teeth in. Done. This method is suppose to allow the least amount of shrinkage if you are concerned about score.

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