Dark spots on the skull?

Submitted by Marco on 01/03/2003. ( )

I boiled a deer skull for about 2 hours with a mild detergent and some chlorox (with under a vent fan). I believe all the flesh came off. Then I applied a paste of 40 volume peroxide on all surfaces. Most parts are nice an white, however there bloches and spots in almost a pink or purpule color, which look like bruises on the forehead, cheek bones, and back of the skull. What are these and how do I get ride of them? More peroxide? Hasn't been de-fleshed good enough?

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

After its dried completely use laquer air brush paint and VERY lightly spray OFF-WHITE color to even those trouble spots out.

Most likely

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

by boiling the skull for so long yo boiled the blood right into the bone. It will never come out. Only way I can think of is to cover it up like Jim said and airbrush it. That is one reason why skulls should not be boiled.

Boiling Skulls

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

On several e-mail threads I read a few people mentioning boiling with Sal-soda or Borax, etc... Is that the way to goDo you think not having these chemicals in the water was the reason for blood transfer into the bone? If not, other than the lengthy beatle flesh removal process, what other methods do you recommand?

Not lengthy...

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

Cleaning with dermestid beetles isn't lengthy at all - in three days you can have a skull completely cleaned. In a little under a week you can macerate a skull completely and it will be every bit as clean as beetles, in fact - I believe more so as macertaion uses bacteria which will clean it on a microscopic level and get into places even the smallest of larvae cannot reach. If you are working with delicate, small skulls (sparrows for example) or those with lots of cartilage, dermestids are still preferred. Boiling is bad bad bad as it horribly weakens the sutures that hold the skull together. Bleach chemically breaks down the chemical bonds that make bone strong and can do incredible damage as well. To boil AND bleach? ouch! Using Sal Soda and Borax DOES work but I believe is one of those methods that is being slowly phased out. It still has its place when cleaning skull plates with antlers still attached as you can do it all dry and need not immerse it. The lack of chemicals in the water above I dont suspect was the reason fdor staining. Like SP said - the boiling will 'fix' the colour into the bone. Just like with clothing or an 'iron on' - heat fixes the stain in place. I know Wolfwoman has written several psots here regarding proper macertaion techniques and should be found in the archives. Search "cleaning skulls" and "submitted by Wolfwoman" in the search to find them. I do my maceration the same way as her with one exception - I don't steam my bones for fear of them staining and being "colour fixed". That being said - she does beuatiful work - so trust her guidelines =)

One more thing?

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

What kind of paint can I use for touching up the blood spots? Any recommandation? I read somewhere that you can seal the surface with Elmer's glue which is kind of white. Would that work?

Elmers glue dries clear

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

and wouldn't whiten your skull at all. It is totally for finishing after the painting. Use either water or lacquer based paints (probably lacquer would be a better choice). Go with an off white or skullwhite color, not white white. After the paint is evenly applied and dried then you can coat the skull with thinned Elmers glue or apply a thin coat or either wood finish or urethane to protect it for the future and give it a subtle matte finish.

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