George...Elmer's glue on skulls

Submitted by Bill@Real Life on 01/02/2003. ( )

George...the great thing about this forum is that I get valuable advise, even when I don't know that I need it! You had mentioned the other day in a separate post that your recommend using Elmer's glue on a Euro skull mount to seal it...that was very timely as I had just done my first one and was just going to leave it until I read your advise...thanks. I have just a couple related questions though:
Do you thin the glue down with water (or whatever) and spray it on, or do you just brush on the glue undiluted?
If you brush on, do you not worry about the nasal cavity bones...what do you do with them?
When your customer you provide them with any 'how to clean' advise?
Thanks again!

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We're in the same boat!

This response submitted by Wolfwoman on 01/02/2003. ( )

My thanks to George also! lol

Bill, I just did the same thing a couple weeks ago. I thin the glue with water (little less than 50/50) and brush it on, and then use a toothbrush (YES an OLD ONE!) in the crevices. I used the brush to get up into the nasal cavity as much as a possibly could. I let the skulls dry and then touched up where I'd missed before. The glue gives it the nicest, lightest shine! It's not a glaring shine like other things you can use. They came out great!

Summin else...

This response submitted by Raven on 01/02/2003. ( )

Another thing that works really well is flat finish acrylic urethane. As acrylics cure to a plastic as they evaporate, you are left with a thin plastic film coverring the bone. It gets into all the lil nooks n crannies as well. So if you are looking for something to consolidate and preserve your bone that has even a flatter finish than white glue - there ya go =) An aid in getting it into the nasal regions is a syringe and larger gauge needle and squirt it right in there. Alternatively I dump it right up the nostrils and allow it to soak in for minute, then invert it so its nose is pointing down and let the excess drain out, being sure to wipe its nose as drips develope. Maximum coating can be obtained this way. It coats and protects so well that molds can be taken off the nasal bones at this stage with no fear of harming them.

Thanks Wolfwoman & Raven

This response submitted by Bill@Real Life on 01/02/2003. ( )

Both of you had great suggestions...I can see the value in the urethane though when it comes to cleaning...? Because if the customer used a damp cloth to dust it...the urethane finish would be more resistant to damage then the water-based you think? I assume that the urethane won't yellow over time if exposed to sunlight from a nearby window?
I like the option of a very flat finish too, for the customer. Thanks again!

You can...

This response submitted by Raven on 01/02/2003. ( )

Youc an buy UV resitant uretanes. I dont however think you can get them at regular hardware stores but I do now they are available. Talkign to someone in a dedicated paint store (ie - I avoid Home Depot in this particular instance) may yield some UV resistant flat acrylic urethane. Regular stuff will likely yellow with prolonged exposure to sunlight but not as much as the glue. Not a good idea to put things like that in sunlight anyway as the UV will also bleach the bones and create irregular whitening on the sunny side. And yup yer right - it's impervious to the ole damp cloth treatment =)

Don't tell Raven, but...

This response submitted by George on 01/02/2003. ( )

Like all animal tissue, bone gradually breaks down as it changes with humidity and temperature over the years. Poly is unforgiving and the bone structures are tougher, so you get the aging crackling effect you see in old China when you use it. Elmers is a little different in that it's acrylic with some expansion qualities. I paint it on straight out of the bottle for the first coat. I usually put a second one on just for giggles and if the brush marks don't dissipate immediately, I dip the brush in hot water and paint over it to smooth it out. I also set my skulls up on nail heads to paint them. That way I can see the drips before they become hardened and I don't rip off a big blister of glue in the process of removing them.

Oops, missed 2 questions

This response submitted by George on 01/02/2003. ( )

I usually do the nasal cavity first and I just tilt the skull up and glop the glue down in there to cover the visible areas. As for customer friendly, I tell them to use the reverse side of their vaccuum cleaner and blow excess dust off. I tell them if they allow it to get especially grubby, bring it in and I'll clean it for them. I usually hose it off with hot water and then blow it dry with shop air.

Okay Geo whats up with the glue

This response submitted by b bishop on 01/03/2003. ( bishops@newnorthdotnet )

seems like alot of extra work to me, after all, time is money right. Why do you put glue on your skulls my friend ? I have a reason for this ? but would like your answer before I tell ya. Brad

Helps preserve it...

This response submitted by Raven on 01/03/2003. ( )

It consolidates the bones and sorta works like a poor mans plastination - fixing the bone in place and preserving it. There is still debate over the need to preserve modern bone. I think it should definately be done and I go as far as to fully immerse my bones in acrylic for hours then dry. My marrow etc all becomes permeated with plastic and will be here for a LONG time. I often employ more specialized consolidation chemicals from our fossil preservations supplies as well - but urethane does the same basic thing as vinac, butvar, b72 etc. I know Stephen Rogers (Taxidermologist) works for the Carnegie Institute and deals with modern bone and feels it isn't necessary. George - if you were referring to the debate over preserving bones a few months ago - I was the one sayin it DOES break down - I agree with ya.. does that scare you? ;)

My take on it eludes to what George said - when in elements such as fluctuating humidity and light etc bone will break down over time. If not we'd be boobs deep in deer bones in the woods! Mice cant eat the bones of every dead critter that fast! If our living rooms were as climate controlled as museums archives I suspect it wouldn't be a problem. I opt for "if ya dont know - preserve it". Just my opinion. As for the urethane thing - I ALWAYS use acrylic urethane - cause as George pointed out - there can be swelling and contraction problems. Acrylic, being plastic, has more give than solvent based urethanes / varathanes. This isn't to say it's better or worse than glue, just what I like to use =) There is a matte finish spray available from art shops that you can spray over the glued ones to dull the glued ones further if you like.

Raven, you mean there is a spark of hope?

This response submitted by George on 01/03/2003. ( )

LMAO. Good explanation.
Brad, I used Elmer's the first time because I had run out of ModgePodge and I found it equitable and much cheaper by volume. It holds the teeth in, protects the fragile nasal bones and then it give a soft, smooth lustre to the piece so that dust and dirt don't cling to all those little bone fissures. How do you protect your skull mounts?

George and Rav-on

This response submitted by b bishop on 01/03/2003. ( bishops@newnorthdotnet )

Thanks for the info, pretty much what I thought but wanted to make sure, I get in trouble when I assume on here. Anyways, I ran across a product that you thin with water and you can submerge the skull into completely and gives a very hard surface and is white but is not supposed to yellow but is still fairl new to me. It also sets the teeth well and really adds a final white to the skull. It is however somewhat shiny. The nice part of submersion is obvious to both of you I am sure. If you are interested in trying it , let me know. Brad P.S. It is not paint

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