Mathews Inc.
Hog Euros
Hogs
Contributors to this thread:
Bowfreak 07-Dec-22
keepemsharp 07-Dec-22
skull 07-Dec-22
Bowfreak 07-Dec-22
skull 07-Dec-22
Buffalo1 07-Dec-22
wytex 08-Dec-22
AaronShort 08-Dec-22
fuzzy 08-Dec-22
wytex 08-Dec-22
Bowfreak 08-Dec-22
wild1 08-Dec-22
skull 08-Dec-22
skull 08-Dec-22
skull 08-Dec-22
Zbone 12-Dec-22
fuzzy 12-Dec-22
MathewsMan 12-Dec-22
Zbone 12-Dec-22
smarba 12-Dec-22
badbull 13-Dec-22
Grey Ghost 13-Dec-22
bigswivle 13-Dec-22
MathewsMan 13-Dec-22
deerhunter72 13-Dec-22
Bowfreak 13-Dec-22
deerhunter72 13-Dec-22
Bowfreak 13-Dec-22
deerhunter72 13-Dec-22
Bowfreak 13-Dec-22
skull 13-Dec-22
skull 13-Dec-22
skull 13-Dec-22
deerhunter72 13-Dec-22
sheds 05-Jan-23
Bowfreak 05-Jan-23
sheds 05-Jan-23
sheds 05-Jan-23
sheds 05-Jan-23
Bowfreak 06-Jan-23
AaronShort 06-Jan-23
fuzzy 07-Jan-23
sheds 07-Jan-23
sheds 07-Jan-23
fuzzy 07-Jan-23
Bowfreak 07-Jan-23
sheds 07-Jan-23
fuzzy 07-Jan-23
Dutch oven 08-Jan-23
fuzzy 10-Jan-23
Smtn10PT 10-Jan-23
Bowfreak 10-Jan-23
Franzen 11-Jan-23
Smtn10PT 11-Jan-23
sheds 11-Jan-23
From: Bowfreak
07-Dec-22
For those of you that have euro mounted hog skulls, what is your method? How does it deviate from a deer? This is assuming it takes extra steps to allow for the greasiness of a hog skull.

From: keepemsharp
07-Dec-22
Took the head and buried it in a box with slots too small for rodents and the bugs really cleaned it up. Left it several months.

From: skull
07-Dec-22
In terms of cleaning bones, degreasing is the process of removing the natural oils and fats from bones so they are no longer yellow, translucent, or waxy feeling. This is the question I hear the most, and the simple answer is, it takes however long it takes. Degreasing is almost always the longest step of processing animals, and there is no quick way of doing it without damaging the bone. Some lean animals (often young animals) occasionally do not need to be degreased at all. Others like bear, boar, elephant feet (personal experience), and other fatty animals can take many many months to finish degreasing. In my personal experience, cats usually take about a month. These time frames are just an average of what I’ve dealt with. Some may take a week, others may take 6+ months. It really just depends on the animal.

From: Bowfreak
07-Dec-22
Skull,

How do you degrease? For a deer I just use Dawn while simmering. It only takes a few hours, not months. So how do you degrease a skull for an extended period of time?

From: skull
07-Dec-22
the easiest and cheapest method of degreasing involves some water, dish soap (Dawn recommended), and heat (recommended.) This is the method that most beginners will use at first, as the materials are easy to find around your house. All you need to do is mix some Dawn with water (there’s no set ratio of dawn to water, just make it bubbly), place your bones in, and keep it hot. There are several ways to keep the container hot, such as using a pail heater–. Ideally you want the temperature anywhere between 80-115F (26.6-46C) aquarium heater (you’ll have to bypass the temperature controls to get it hot enough), placing the container outside on a hot day, or placing the container near something that will keep it warm. Different animals’ fats break down at different temperatures, but keeping it around or below 115F (46C) will cover most fats

From: Buffalo1
07-Dec-22
I take mine to a taxidermist and he has every thing already figured out and does a great job. Only takes him about a week to complete the task.

From: wytex
08-Dec-22
They have ton of grease. An acetone bath seem to work for some folks after the simmer.

From: AaronShort
08-Dec-22
ammonia...

From: fuzzy
08-Dec-22
As folks have said above, hogs and bear skulls are a bugger to de grease

From: wytex
08-Dec-22
hijac that doesn't work with hog skulls, they hold the grease in the bone, well kind of anyway. An acetone bath for several days seems to work for some after the simmer.

From: Bowfreak
08-Dec-22
wytex,

It looks like acetone is a great way to handle the grease. However, with the cost of acetone it seems impractical for a DIY skull.

From: wild1
08-Dec-22

wild1's embedded Photo
wild1's embedded Photo
Dawn, ammonia, acetone. Never boil. Change water often (every other day). Take months.

From: skull
08-Dec-22
Method 2: Ammonia This method is very similar to the dish soap method, this one just uses ammonia instead of Dawn. I personally have used this method the past several years, and it works very well. You can use concentrated ammonia from a hardware store (usually 10-30%) or very diluted clear household cleaning ammonia from Walmart or a dollar store that is 2.5% strength (doesn’t say the percentage on it- I had to look it up). If you’re using the concentrated stuff you can use it straight or dilute it. I used to use the cheap 2.5% stuff from Walmart, and then dilute it even more. Now I buy the 10% concentrated ammonia from Ace Hardware and dilute it down to 2.5%. Rough ratio I use is a half gallon of 2.5% ammonia to 10 gallons of water. Buying it from Ace saves a few dollars and keeps you from having a million half-gallon jugs lying around. The fumes from the 10% are extremely strong, so make sure to use a respirator with a shield to cover your eyes. Supposedly you can use the strong stuff without heating it, but I personally use the diluted and then heat it to 112F (44C) with a heater– If you forget that the thermostat on this heater is in Celcius and accidentally set it to 80-115C you will melt your bucket and potentially start a fire.) Make sure not to use the lemon scented ammonia! It can stain bones, and is very hard to tell when it’s time to dump it. Use the same steps as the dish soap- change it out when it gets cloudy, yellow, or when grease is floating on top (I change my degreasing buckets once a week.)

Use caution when using ammonia as it very easily irritates your nose and eyes. Try not to breathe in the fumes, as it will take your breath away (but open up your sinuses!) Ammonia is used to wake up people that pass out- the stuff smells STRONG. The fumes from the 10% are extremely extremely strong, so make sure to use a respirator with a shield to cover your eyes. If you’re using the 2.5% ammonia you can wear a respirator (without the face shield) if you’d like, but the fumes aren’t near as strong as the 10%, and don’t have negative health effects like acetone does

From: skull
08-Dec-22
More info if anyone interested Method 3: Acetone This is the most expensive, but least labor intensive method. This is not a method for beginners, as special equipment is needed to work with acetone, and it has negative health effects and is a safety hazard. You will need airtight acetone-safe containers to keep the acetone in. Acetone dissolves many plastics, so you’re safest using glass containers. If you’re using a plastic container, make sure that it says HDPE on the bottom- HDPE plastic is acetone-safe. The container has to be airtight, as acetone evaporates very very easily. You’ll also need acetone-safe gloves (Butyl Gloves are the most common) and a respirator for organic vapors. Regular nitrile or latex gloves will quickly fall apart when exposed to acetone. Acetone will dry out your skin, and is not good to breathe. It’s also extremely flammable, so it will need to be kept in a cool place, far far away from any source of heat or spark. The fumes travel easily and can very easily ignite with a small spark. Only work with acetone in a very ventilated space.

Now that the safety aspect is covered, we can move on to the usage. Using acetone to degrease bones is very simple. Simply place the bones in it and wait. You cannot dilute acetone, Do not heat the acetone, it works just fine at room temperature. Acetone does not need to be changed out near as often as the other two methods, as it can be reused many many times until it turns a dark orange color, at which point it will no longer dissolve any grease. I usually have to retire acetone after about 3-5 months of use.

how to degrease bones Huge elephant foot and cassowary leg bone (both zoo animals that I was working on) in 7 gallons of acetone. The foot took over 5 months to fully degrease.

Another negative part of using acetone is you cannot pour it down your drain like you can Dawn or ammonia. Acetone needs to be taken to a proper disposal place (places that accept grey water usually accept it), so you’ll have to find a place near you to dispose of it when you’re done using it. Make sure to let any bones that were in acetone COMPLETELY DRY before whitening them. Acetone reacts very violently with peroxide, so make sure they never come in contact with each other.

From: skull
08-Dec-22
More info if anyone interested Method 3: Acetone This is the most expensive, but least labor intensive method. This is not a method for beginners, as special equipment is needed to work with acetone, and it has negative health effects and is a safety hazard. You will need airtight acetone-safe containers to keep the acetone in. Acetone dissolves many plastics, so you’re safest using glass containers. If you’re using a plastic container, make sure that it says HDPE on the bottom- HDPE plastic is acetone-safe. The container has to be airtight, as acetone evaporates very very easily. You’ll also need acetone-safe gloves (Butyl Gloves are the most common) and a respirator for organic vapors. Regular nitrile or latex gloves will quickly fall apart when exposed to acetone. Acetone will dry out your skin, and is not good to breathe. It’s also extremely flammable, so it will need to be kept in a cool place, far far away from any source of heat or spark. The fumes travel easily and can very easily ignite with a small spark. Only work with acetone in a very ventilated space.

Now that the safety aspect is covered, we can move on to the usage. Using acetone to degrease bones is very simple. Simply place the bones in it and wait. You cannot dilute acetone, Do not heat the acetone, it works just fine at room temperature. Acetone does not need to be changed out near as often as the other two methods, as it can be reused many many times until it turns a dark orange color, at which point it will no longer dissolve any grease. I usually have to retire acetone after about 3-5 months of use.

how to degrease bones Huge elephant foot and cassowary leg bone (both zoo animals that I was working on) in 7 gallons of acetone. The foot took over 5 months to fully degrease.

Another negative part of using acetone is you cannot pour it down your drain like you can Dawn or ammonia. Acetone needs to be taken to a proper disposal place (places that accept grey water usually accept it), so you’ll have to find a place near you to dispose of it when you’re done using it. Make sure to let any bones that were in acetone COMPLETELY DRY before whitening them. Acetone reacts very violently with peroxide, so make sure they never come in contact with each other.

From: Zbone
12-Dec-22
skull - On antlered skulls, how do you wrap antler bases or what method do you use when simmering Dawn or ammonia or soaking with acetone to keep from bleaching the bases?... Thanks...

From: fuzzy
12-Dec-22
Good advice on the acetone. If you are using that much of it you may want to look into recovering it by distillation? Williams Brewing Supply has an all digital 120 V electric powered distillation unit that can readily be adapted for acetone recovery.

From: MathewsMan
12-Dec-22
Best method I’ve come across is putting skulls in shrimp pots and the sea lice are faster than beetles.

From: Zbone
12-Dec-22
"shrimp pots and the sea lice"

Huh????

From: smarba
12-Dec-22
Saltwater fishing lingo. Crab pots, shrimp pots, you drop them into the ocean. Sea lice are small critter that eat meat.

From: badbull
13-Dec-22
Wild1, great looking finished product. scull, thanks for going to the trouble to give all that detailed information. Certainly that is appreciated by anyone interested in doing that sort of thing. This is the type of posting that I really like to see on Bowsite. Badbull

From: Grey Ghost
13-Dec-22
The shrimp or crab traps idea is brilliant. We often bait our crab traps with whole mullet, or the scraps from other fish that we catch and filet. Overnight, the sea lice, pin fish, crabs, and other small aquatic life will have the bones picked absolutely clean.

Matt

From: bigswivle
13-Dec-22
Burry them. Come back later

From: MathewsMan
13-Dec-22
Yeah in Alaska the water was frigid so the skull isn’t going to shrink like with boiling and the sea lice cleaned up just like beetles do in a day for free

From: deerhunter72
13-Dec-22
I sure don't see how a taxidermist is getting the flesh off and the grease out of a skull in one week. That's pushing it, even if boiling and power washing. You are definitely losing bone if it's done this way. I do a basic defleshing and then macerate in a bucket with an aquarium heater and that takes at least 2 weeks. Then I degrease with Skull's method number 1, dawn and hot water; I use a bucket heater on a timer. As Skull pointed out, this takes as long as it takes. I stop when the grease stops filming on top of the water. Then after completely dry, I whiten with peroxide from Sally's. This method results in the least amount of bone loss. I imagine a hog skull would take several weeks to fully degrease. I've considered using acetone, but I'm not in any hurry and I don't want to mess with the risks involved.

Great information Skull!

From: Bowfreak
13-Dec-22
deerhunter72,

Can the aquarium heater or the bucket heater serve for maceration and degreasing or are does it need to be done as you spelled it out; use aquarium heater for maceration and bucket heater for degreasing.

From: deerhunter72
13-Dec-22
Bowfreak, the aquarium heater won't get hot enough unless you bypass the thermostat on it. I just bought the bucket heater and it does a great job, although it can get too hot if you're not careful. I don't get too fancy with any of it. And I'm not knocking how anyone does their euro's. I had my taxidermist do my first one and I just wasn't too pleased with the result. Too much bone lost in the sinus cavities and he sprayed it with something that gives it a plasticky look.

From: Bowfreak
13-Dec-22
Do you plan to use the bucket heater for maceration too?

From: deerhunter72
13-Dec-22
I tried that once and it worked really well as far as speeding up the process, however alot of the "junk" burned onto the heating element and it took a lot of cleaning to get it off.

From: Bowfreak
13-Dec-22
Gotcha.

From: skull
13-Dec-22

skull's embedded Photo
skull's embedded Photo
Zbone thanks for the questions

skull - On antlered skulls, how do you wrap antler bases or what method do you use when simmering Dawn or ammonia or soaking with acetone to keep from bleaching the bases?... Thanks..

I don’t boil or simmer any skulls, I use the macerated and degreasing method with a pail heater, I wrap the antlers bases with electric tape, for bleaching I have learned my own trick, every time I change the degreasing water I’ll dip the skull into peroxide (12% peroxide 50/50 with water)for about half hour. The time the degreasing process is done, the skull is bleached at the same time. Current situation

From: skull
13-Dec-22

skull's embedded Photo
skull's embedded Photo
Deerhunter72 are you taking about this bone

From: skull
13-Dec-22

skull's embedded Photo
skull's embedded Photo
Bowfreak I think you guys are confused this is the pail heater that I’m using, Not sure what pail heater you guys are talking about it

From: deerhunter72
13-Dec-22

deerhunter72's embedded Photo
The bucket heat I use
deerhunter72's embedded Photo
The bucket heat I use
Skull, I like that pail heater much more than the one I have. Yes, whenever you boil and power wash a skull, you are losing a lot of the tiny nasal passage bone.

From: sheds
05-Jan-23

sheds's embedded Photo
sheds's embedded Photo
Here’s one I did of a Arizona javelina.

From: Bowfreak
05-Jan-23
Looking good sheds. What is your method?

From: sheds
05-Jan-23
Boil twice 2nd time with borax pick off excess meat. Skull was greasy somewhat like a bear skull, so then used 30% hydrogen peroxide with magnesium carbonate powder mixed into a paste brushed on till dry brush off, done.

From: sheds
05-Jan-23

From: sheds
05-Jan-23

From: Bowfreak
06-Jan-23
So you added peroxide when the skull was still greasy? Have you done hog or bear skulls like this before?

From: AaronShort
06-Jan-23
Peroxide will not remove grease.

From: fuzzy
07-Jan-23
Never seen whetters like that. Cool

From: sheds
07-Jan-23
The second boil with borax removed some of the grease, peroxide and magnesium carbonate just whitened it up, its still a little greasy to the touch, but looks good.

From: sheds
07-Jan-23
Bowfreak yes I’ve done two bears using this method, came out good.

From: fuzzy
07-Jan-23
I always get yellowing from grease seeping out of the marrow after a few weeks unless I do an extended de grease step. Ammonia works pretty well

From: Bowfreak
07-Jan-23
What is your method to degrease Fuzzy?

From: sheds
07-Jan-23
Something crazy, I killed a mountain lion in 2004 had a friend at the time that had beetles, the skull was really dark with grease, my taxidermist said to soak it in gasoline for a while don’t remember how long but got rid of the grease and I did my peroxide and magnesium carbonate powder to get it white, but could not bring it in the house for awhile because of the gas smell ha!

From: fuzzy
07-Jan-23
Bowfreak I get the skull as clean as possible, let it dry and then immerse it in a 5% ammonia solution for 2-4 weeks depending on the thickness of bone. I then rinse well with water and do a water soak, and air dry in a sunny spot for at least a month or until the ammonia odor dissipates.

From: Dutch oven
08-Jan-23
When simmering a greasy skull (with or without flesh on it), add Arm and Hammer Laundry Booster Super Washing Soda (yellow box). It's sodium carbonate that some here call borax. I use about a cup of Washing Soda along with Dawn in simmering water and I change this solution several times in the course of an afternoon. It's a great way to turn flesh into "jelly" as well as to degrease.

From: fuzzy
10-Jan-23
Washing soda and ,borax are not the same thing. Neither are effective at de greasing thicker skulls like hog and bear.

From: Smtn10PT
10-Jan-23
I have only done one hog but after simmering the skull like I would a deer or an elk I put the clean (but greasy) skull into a 5 gallon bucket and covered it up with 87 octane. By far the cheapest way to degrease.

From: Bowfreak
10-Jan-23
Did the gasoline work for degreasing? Has the skull held up well?

From: Franzen
11-Jan-23
Like the idea of gasoline. Pull out your bic at the end to dry it off. Might get something cool, like something they show on "hunting" shows.

From: Smtn10PT
11-Jan-23
Yes gasoline worked for degreasing. I havent handled the skull in awhile but it looks fine on display. The pig was headshot with a 270 so the one side was in rough shape to begin with.

From: sheds
11-Jan-23
The skull has held just as good as any I’ve done without gas, and it’s in the house!

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