Need advice on skull cleaning

Forums Hunting Need advice on skull cleaning

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    Michael
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    Keymaster

    I have a skull that I want to get cleaned up & painted.

    I started by placing the skull in our composter. The bugs took care of almost all the meat.
    Then I did sort of a “European” method. I used a high pressure burner and boiled the skull (with a scoop of Oxyclean) in a metal garbage twice for 30-45 minutes. I hosed it off in between and used misc tools/brushes to get every last bit of visible debris.
    Then I soaked it in a 1/20 solution of bleach water for 30 minutes. 
    I did not use the 40% hydrogen peroxide for whitening because I plan on painting it.
    Its been drying for two days and it still smells pretty strong. I cannot find any muscle/debris/tissue anywhere, it looks perfectly clean.

    So whats the deal? Does it just need to dry longer? Sit in the sun a bit? Another stronger bleach soak?

    Any tips would be appreciated.

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    45super
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    Member

    There might be some brain tissue left. At this point, direct sunlight in a dry ant mound will probably finish it up. for future reference, YouTube has a video using a high pressure washer to clean skin and tissue. pretty impressive.

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    thehunter
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    This is kinda nasty, well, really nasty actually, but try boiling it. You need a metal bucket and a camp stove/old grill/heat source that you won’t mind stinking. Also, a pair of needle nose pliers comes in handy for getting into the sinus area and deep into the brain cavity. The post oil water will also be some of the worst smelling stuff, so dump it FAR away from your house(I speak from experience here).

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    SteveS.
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    Peroxide solution works best, I heard. But not the full strength. The worst thing you could have done was bleach bro. It will crack the bone. Best on that dirty job…..Sas 

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    FalzoneXL725
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    Well from my experience in the vulture culture boiling bones with anything is usually a bad idea because of particles of fat that get trapped into the bone and will continue to degrade it after drying (the smell your smelling). Since your past that point already I would continue to soak in plain water at around @ 95-125 degrees for a couple days to let the bacteria take care of whatever’s left, then a hydrogen peroxide bath for sterility reasons.

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    Xtrlooney
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    It sounds like there is still grease in the skull. Soak it in water with dawn dish soap and a little ammonia for a week. Then put it in peroxide for a couple of days. The peroxide also helps free up thing that is still on or in the skull. 

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    Michael
    Keymaster
    Keymaster

    Thanks for all the advice. I simmered the skull in two different degreasers; 1st water and Simple Green, then water & dish soap. Now its just soaking in regular water to see if the natural bacteria helps. After that I’ll hit it with some 40 volume peroxide.

    Just 2 more questions:

    1. Can I go straight from the water bath to the peroxide? Or should I let it dry first? 
    2. I’ve seen videos of people repeatedly brushing the peroxide on. Can I soak it in peroxide? If so how long, or will it cause damage?
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    Xtrlooney
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    I do a lot of skulls and go straight from water into the peroxide. I generally use 20 liquid peroxide instead of the 40 paste. If it’s a small skull you may only need the standard store bought peroxide. Small skulls tend to soften with the other ones. What kind of skull is it?

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    Michael
    Keymaster
    Keymaster

    “Xtrlooney”I do a lot of skulls and go straight from water into the peroxide. I generally use 20 liquid peroxide instead of the 40 paste. If it’s a small skull you may only need the standard store bought peroxide. Small skulls tend to soften with the other ones. What kind of skull is it?

    
Large wild boar skull.

    This is the peroxide I bought

    So can I soak it in the peroxide or just brush it on repeatedly?

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    Xtrlooney
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    Boar have a lot of grease in the skull, so you might need to soak it in ammonia, dish soak and water for a couple of weeks. Then I would go get a couple of the 20 or 40 peroxide in gallons and submerge the skull. I’ve found that the liquid gets into all the little pockets of the skull a lot better. 

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    Michael
    Keymaster
    Keymaster

    Great advice. The peroxide soak did the trick. Now I plan to glue the teeth in place & send it off for a “special” paint job. Pictures in about a month.

    Thanks for all your help.

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    huntjunky
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    Member

    [color=#333333]If the smell is the only issue, don’t over think the solution…a couple of doses of Lysol spray or even air freshener will take care of the problem…can actually enhance the fragrance of the room you display it in.  Believe me, I know about foreign aromas from the taxidermist…

    …and this is just one room.   Ahhh, the wild smell of the great outdoors 🙂[/color]

     

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    Michael
    Keymaster
    Keymaster

    Holy crap! My wife would file for divorce!

    Nice trophy collection.

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    huntjunky
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    Thanks Michael.  I’m a fortunate man…my wife’s own collection is in room # 3.  No divorce eminent at this juncture…in fact, the only time I  jeopardize the marriage thing is when I leave her home too often.  Funny thing though, my trophies have the manly smell of the outdoors while her’s smell strangely like feminine hygiene products.  Fresh as the morning dew.   🙂

    Here’s a hog she shot…warthog that is, and a European mount skull I processed like you’re doing.  Kind of an oxymoron… something that looks so ugly and smells so good.  🙂

     

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    Michael
    Keymaster
    Keymaster

    Man those things are ugly! I think its hilarious that your wife sprays then with feminine products.

    Interesting how the tusks are larger on the upper jaw. It’s the opposite here with the feral pigs.

    After a week in the peroxide bath my skull came out clean & unscented. I sent it off to http://www.hydro-dip.com/ to get a special paint job. Should be back in a few weeks.

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