maceration, peroxide, Im about to lose my mind

Submitted by birdgirl on 12/10/05 at 1:36 PM. ( )

I had a customer bring in 2 heads for skull mounts.They are small antlered skulls and I did everything I could think of and they are still a mess, I need advice.I cut everything I could get at off, removed brains, eyes etc.I soaked the skulls for 3 weeks in water in 70 degree room, which stank to high heaven. then rinsed and soaked again for 1 week in 30 volume peroxide and they are still covered with white stubborn connective tissue and look terrible.exasperated, I have put them back in the freezer till I can figure out how to get this crud off, I even blasted them with high pressure hot water.Did I not macerate them long enough?

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No you didn't

This response submitted by George on 12/10/05 at 1:44 PM. ( )

You suffer from gasoline ass. Maceration in the best of conditions takes 6 to 8 weeks and even more if it's cooler.

skull cleaning

This response submitted by mike schuda on 12/10/05 at 1:52 PM. ( )

I know this subject is about as touchy as the dp method verses different tanning methods but I've done alot of skulls and all I do is take as much meat off as possible, put it in a pot of water on a propane cooker and bring to a simmer with a cup of sal soda. I let this simmer for about 20 minutes, take it out of the pot and use a wire brush and scraper to remove whatever is left. I insert a wire in the brain cavity and turn it around and shake and the insides usually just fall out. I then change the water and resimmer to remove any grease for about 10 minutes, rinse and then soak in a 50/50 mixture of water and peroxide. the next day I take it out and let it dry. When all dry I give it a coat or two of satin polyurathane. Use water base as the oil base will yellow the skull with time. I done european mounts for gun clubs around here and they came out beautiful. I know that there are those that swear by bettles, soaking in water etc and I don't doubt that it works but I can only go by what works for me. By the way, after all this time if there is still a membrane on the skull boiling may be the only way to remove it. you can email me if you like if you need more info. good luck


skull cleaning

This response submitted by mike schuda on 12/10/05 at 1:54 PM. ( )

birdgirl, sorry I forgot to leave me email address. its above



This response submitted by tomdes on 12/10/05 at 1:56 PM. ( )

You really shouldn't have put them in peroxide until all tissue was removed. To get them done now, I'd boil them, it won't take much like about 10-15 in hot water, you don't need it to be a rolling boil. Then I'd take a kitchen butter knife or if you have a piece of that very course scouring pad, that will just rip off any connective tissue. I'd then degrease (if needed), then put back in peroxide overnight, then halogen lamp dry on bright white paper.

I agree with George here

This response submitted by Evelyn on 12/10/05 at 1:57 PM. ( )

Go on and read the skull cleaning article by Evelyn Mills. Everything is explained in that article including different methods. Skull cleaning cannot be rushed and you did rush it. George is a 100% right even so he wasn't very tactful. But sometimes the truth hurts. My customers are used to waiting three to four month for their skull to be done (we use the maceration method) but I never had one complain about it because they know the endresult is a great looking natural cleaned skull with no damage and no painting.

thanks all

This response submitted by birdgirl on 12/10/05 at 2:01 PM. ( )

I will see what I can do, I think I expected too much to happen in 3 weeks! I will get these fixed up and degreased now.I usually just let the insects outside macerate for me, but I obviously cant wait that long on a customers mounts.I have some real nice ones of my own done the old fashioned natural way.

I will update you all

This response submitted by birdgirl on 12/10/05 at 2:03 PM. ( )

and let you know how they turn out and what I did to finish them when I get time.

And why can't you wait that long?

This response submitted by Evelyn on 12/10/05 at 8:06 PM. ( )

Are your customers that impatient that they can't wait for a properly cleaned skull done the right way? How about mounts? Do they make you rush them too? I never let my customers rush me in anything. If they want it done right, then they'll just gonna have to be patient. I never once had a problem in all those 10 years I've been in this business with the turn a round time on the skulls (and it is four month).

In matter of fact I get quite a few customers switching over to me because of the other taxidermist who do rushes the skulls and they look like crap. I usually get to either redo them or have a new customer because of that anyway.

You will learn that some things just can't be rushed if you want them done right.

Uh, Evelyn

This response submitted by George on 12/10/05 at 10:31 PM. ( )

SEE? You deserve that. First you want to load my wagon for being to the point and then you play nice. THEN you hear how she really feels and then YOU get snippy. Some of you guys never learn. You couldna saved all that time and been snippy like me to begin with. LMAO.

Ah George

This response submitted by Evelyn on 12/11/05 at 11:32 AM. ( )

Sometimes nice isn't gonna do it.I hold back quite a bit on this forum while I sit at the computer and shake my head at some posts. When it comes to skulls and people always rushing it and think boiling it the way to go, then I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. At least I didn't call her a gasoline ass like you did. But I did agree with you a 100%. Doesn't that count? LMAO

I dont want to ever boil

This response submitted by birdgirl on 12/13/05 at 7:28 PM. ( )

I dont think boiling any bones is a good idea unless your making soup.I am going to continue maceration on these which is going quite well at this point, in a few weeks they will be finished.I am not letting anyone rush me either evelyn, but a skull has taken me more than a year and a half to do outside in the yard and I dont want to make the customers wait that long, would you? oh and I looked up your articles, they were very good, I really enjoyed the reptile mounting ones.Great job on the lizards.

maceration technique

This response submitted by Tim Douglas on 12/15/05 at 11:25 AM. ( tdouglas@nautilus )

I have completed about 7 deer European mounts and all have been done by cooking with a lot of tedious scraping. They turn out beautiful, but I have noticed that they still tend to start to yellow after about 2-3 years. I use hydrogen peroxide and a day in the sun. I have started using Dawn dishwashing liquid in the water to cut the grease. I have never heard the term "maceration". What is this? Is there any product out there besides the beetles that would keep my snow white skulls from yellowing?

I think the cooking causes the yellowing

This response submitted by birdgirl on 12/15/05 at 10:36 PM. ( )

which is another reason I dont boil them.I think it opens up the pores in the bones and lets the oils of the fats in the boil water get inside, then over time it leaks out, thus causing the yellow discoloration.Tim, maceration is letting the bacteria or insects clean the bones, macerate literally means "to chew".

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