Well, this happens sometimes & it's never fun.....so I figured I'd post a how to tutorial on it & make the best of of a bad situation.
Sometimes when rotting cow horns off the core you will come across one with what I refer to as a "soft spot" and while one horn simply slides off the core, the other may play holy heck with your patience and break of twist off with the core still inside. Well in some cases such as this one the core broke off well inside the shell. I have had this happen a few times & this is how I remedy it. It may not work for some, but it works for me. Hope this may help save someone some time in the future.
As you can see, one side slid off why the other broke off near the skull base.
I first take a screw driver & pry loose the exposed edges.
I then make a mark on the BACK
side of the horn where I will drill.
I then take a paddle bit & drill a hole through the horn & core.
I them take a screw driver & hammer, stick it in the hole & tap hard enough to get the horn to slide up some (just basically getting it loose & workable)
I then take a regular drill bit & drill a hole. Then I take a nail punch & slide it in & hit sideways with a hammer.
Then repeat the process, going on down the line redrilling & tapping as you go.
The horn will slowly but surely protrude out. As you can see here, I had to drill three separate holes as I was sliding down before the horn completely lost grip & slid out.
Since the skull was macerated, I will now soak in a solution of scented bleach & hot water to help remove residual smell of rot.
I will close the hole made from the paddle bit by combination of "All Game" & paint, it will be unnoticeable once blended. As I go along through the finishing process I will update this post till the finished product is complete.
The weather has sucked for drying & bleaching so I had to go to plan "B" and ddid the bleaching at night while working.
First I set it a short distance from the heater to dry
Then I took a solution of erubbing alcohol & dry preservative to the inside of the horns
Now to the bleaching. As I said, it's been overcast & not that nice for bleaching. This is what I do, it works damn good....but be careful. First I mix my 40 volume developer & whitener
together. Then I wrap the head in Saran Wrap & set in front of the heater. Be careful not to set it so close where it melts the plastic wrap and open doors & windows for ventilation. It will whiten the hell out of ANY skull doing it this way.
(I'm gonna get off track here for a second & discuss this bleaching method. Too many times I have read on here that you have to have this bright sun light, yada, yada, yada to bleach a head & that you do not need to use the whitener with the developer liquid. Well I will say it since nobody else will....."THAT IS BULL $H!T!"...... You do not need any type of light to make a 40 Volume with whitener bleach a skull, you need HEAT! Now granted, light doesn't hurt your cause & I personally love a bright, hot day to do this in. But, heat is what makes your 40 volume developer & whitener react, not all the ultra violet rays. Some will disagree, but you others will have to trust me on this, heat, not light is best!!)
Now back to the point at hand, brush your skull, wrap in saran wrap, put in front of heater if it's cool outside for an hour or so
(yes, only an hour, not days like I have heard others on here say
) and then you can rinse off. I also did the deer skulls the exact same way while I was doing the cow skull.
Immediately after rising off using heat only
now that my skull is bleached & dried I line it up on the wood I am using.....because of the size of the skull (smaller) and the surface of the wood I am using a dowel rod instead of a 2x4......I paddle out my hole in the wood & have previously cut the back of the head out, make all my markings & first set my dowel rod. I keep folding bondo up the side so I can sand & paint to match the wood I am using
I use the alcohol to thin down the paint in a paper cup.
After all that is done, I fill the brain hole with bondo & set the skull (before the horns)
notice how the painted bondo has become one with the wood after drying
Now to the tricky part. I tried to square off the broken horn as good as possible, but it was shorter than the other, even at the twist so I had to make do & align it as symetrically as possible with the other which as a pain in the butt, but like a deer rack, there is nothing you can do if one side is shorter than the other. Be sure though if & when you are working on something like this to have a cloth measuring tape & a straight ruler to get it as square & close as possible as you can.
Before setting the broken horn, I bondo (or foam, your choice) a support rod in place.
I then stick the horns into HOT water causing them to expand for easier fit onto the cores. I put some bondo near the opening so it will slide back with the horn sliding on the core. I the sand then if need be......which this one did because of the rough skin texture.
After my horns have set, I first use a little bondo to fill the hole in the side of the horn I made which I then go over with All Game. I set it tonight & will finish the blending in back whenever I wake up this morning.
Otherwise, I went ahead & finished everything else & this was the final product.