peroxide use on european mounts

Submitted by rick on 4/2/05 at 1:17 PM. ( )

has anyone had any experiance with using 40%creme peroxide? does it work as well as clear or should i stick with 40%clear and baking soda mix?

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It works

This response submitted by Bill H. on 4/2/05 at 2:21 PM. ( )

I like it because it stays in place better. I can't tell you how it compares to the clear and baking soda mix as I have never used that combo. But I can tell you that it works.

What is the baking soda supposed to do?

This response submitted by George on 4/2/05 at 3:34 PM. ( )

The creme peroxide is exceptional, but it needs a "developer". As far as I know, magnesium carbonate (Basic White - namebrand) is the only one that works well.

About Magnesium Carbonate

This response submitted by Adam on 4/2/05 at 5:04 PM. ( no spam )

A hydrogen peroxide 'developer' is a stabilized peroxide used to 'develop' a particular result.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)is the key ingredient in what is commonly refered to as 'developers'. It is the H2O2 that does the work in these 'developers'. These are used in photography, hair color treatments, paper whitening and in this case; skull or bone whitening.

The magnesium carbonate in the commonly recommended solution of whitening paste for skulls, is not a developer; the peroxide is. The Mangesium Carbonate is simply a form of talc.

Talc can be categorized as talc-carbonate or talc-chlorite. Talc-carbonate typically contains a compound known as magnesite, aka; magnesium carbonate. It's only purpose in this whitening process is the same as for many other applications using talc. It is a filler/thickener. It keeps the hydrogen peroxide (developer) in place longer so it can do its job. It does nothing to increase the whitening powers of that developer. It is an inert substance with extremely minimal chemical reactivity until it reaches temperatures in the hundreds of degrees.

One could use baking soda or fumed silica for example to create the paste commonly used in european mounts to whiten skulls. Many others have even used a towel or papertowel draped over the piece in a shallow pan of peroxide. The towel of course serves as a wick to draw peroxide over the surface of the bone and keep it in place long enough to whiten.

The wide spread use of magnesium carbonate in taxidermy has nothing to do with any special set of abilities or properties, rather, it is simple familiarity. Talc as a thickening agent is widely used. Someone a long time ago who happened to know that "talc-carbonate" aka "magnesite" aka "magnesium carbonate" (all the same thing) called it by 'magnesium carbonate' and used it as a paste so the peroxide wouldn't all run off a skull. It became widely accepted procedure in the taxidermy industry and misconceptions about its' special ability developed (no pun intended).

If you want your skulls to smell pretty as they whiten, simply use some talc based body powder or baby powder.

One point of clarification; the reason to use ANY thickening agent is to reduce the amount of developer used. An immersive bath of peroxide, even the low cost 3% variety used for cuts and scrapes would be cost prohibitive. The 10% beauty shop variety is even more expensive, so having it in a mixed paste form minimizes the amount of product used. The type of thickener however, be it a towel or mangesium carbonate, remains irrelevant.

Adam, you sound knowledgeable

This response submitted by George on 4/2/05 at 5:35 PM. ( )

But then I have to guess that people who'd rather buy Liquid Nails from Wal-Mart rather than a good hide paste from a supplier are stupid for buying Basic White for $17 a can when they can buy talc for $2? And the peroxide creme is already thickened, so why bother, yet all the hair coloring kits include both products and hairdressers still use them. Is there something you know about it that hasn't been released to us common folks?

It's about redundancy

This response submitted by Adam on 4/2/05 at 6:35 PM. ( no spam )

What I know is common knowledge, and is no secret, but as with other things in taxidermy most people overlook it.

For example; why do so many taxidermists insist on buying a can of bondo as well as a can of resin only to mix the two to get a thinned bondo, when buying the $2 talc and adding it to the resin will accomplish the exact same thing? People buy into the stories that techniques used for a long period of time are superior. This is not always the case. For those who are not aware, bondo is nothing more than your standard fiberglassing layup resin which has been thickened with magnesium carbonate (talc-carbonate - ie. talc). So why do taxidermists keep paying more for bondo to thicken resin when for a much smaller cost they can get much more talc? Factoring costs of talc and resin vs resin and bondo, you can generate two to three times the volume of material for the same cost as one batch of bondo/resin mix. Yet people still mix bondo and resin because it is repeatedely drilled into them that "this is how you do it". Your archives here contain numerous entries telling people about this 'bondo/resin mix' which is an expensive way of creating the same product as a resin/talc mix, and with the addition of cream hardeners vs liquid hardeners, adds to confusion as many folks are not versed in what these chemicals really do. Avoiding all the hassle by simply adding talc to resin until thickened to the desired consistency and using one type of hardener would be simple, but old habits die hard so the bondo/resin mix method lives on despite its numerous short comings.

As mentioned above regarding bone whitening; the developer is what does the work in whitening. In these cases, the developer is hydrogen peroxide. Companies offer their developers in two forms - powdered and liquid. The powdered variant offered by Clairol is Basic White. It's designated use is strictly for 'off scalp' applications and works faster than liquid forms since it is a paste. Some examples of liquid variants are 7th Stage, Born Blonde etc. These can be used directly on the scalp and work slower but to the same 'developed' effect.

To purchase both a liquid peroxide and Basic White is redundant. This is akin to buying both resin and bondo and is an unnecesary purchase.

So to then answer your question Mr. Roof, it is not a matter of what I know that 'common folk' do not, but rather a better understanding of the core elements of that basic knowledge. Someone a long time ago decided Basic White and additional hydrogen peroxide was the way to go. The end result was that they obtained the effect desired even though they may not have know WHY it worked, they were content in the fact THAT it worked. That information was then passed along from person to person for so long that at this stage, no one thinks to question these tried and true methods. Now taxidermy companies sell magnesium carbonate believing those old methods were indeed the way to go. This then leads future taxidermists to think "there must be a reson, I'm not sure what it is, but if they say so, I suppose it must be". And the myth continues.

Again using the example above of bondo resin mixes; yes they do in fact work, but why spend the money on bondo to thicken your resin when the talc is so much cheaper and is the exact same product with a different name? Because they were taught to do it that way and this is the information that will continue to be passed along until someone stands up and says it is a redundant and more expensive method to the same end result.

People are creatures of habit. As long as the project works, they are happy and very few people are inquisitive enough to dissect 'why' it worked and find better ways of doing it, or in this case not necessarily better, but simple alternate or more cost effective ways to attain those same end results.

Purchase any number of hair coloring kits that will create a blonde effect and you will see that in fact very few of them have any powder in them whatsoever. They are two bottles of liquid, one is the colorant, the other is the 'developer' which contains the hydrogen peroxide.

I am not suggesting that the addition of magnesium carbonate will not help in the whitening of skulls. I am simply pointing out that it's aid is not in the form of extra whitening power in itself, but as a delivery system which allows the true whitening developer (peroxide) to remain in contact with the surface longer.

I hope that helps to clarify for some visitors the role that magnesite plays in skull whitening.

Thank you , Adam

This response submitted by George on 4/2/05 at 9:08 PM. ( )

And it's good to have someone with your knowlege to enlighten us hard heads. I did NOT know that, but you can bet I'll be saving some money in the future. BTW, I stopped using the name brand Bondo some years ago as well when I figured that one out by myself. Now bondo is like cellophane. A name brand turned into a noun just like xerox.

Sounds like a new RAVEN

This response submitted by Lester on 4/3/05 at 5:39 PM. ( no spam )

Adam you must be Ravens brother

interesting read

This response submitted by mrdux on 4/3/05 at 8:21 PM. ( )

All this is very interesting but back to the original question. I use 40% peroxide cream and brush it on the skull getting it in all cracks and sinus cavities. Be sure to keep it off antler burrs! Once the entire skull is covered with the cream, I wrap it in plastic cling wrap (note George---no Saran Wrap here)(BTW cling wrap is what Marcus Zimmerman called it in the WTC Super Seminar so it must be OK) then put it in an out-of-the-way place in the shop for a week or so. When I remember it, I take the wrap off and rinse it well with clear water. PRESTO snow white!

Bravo Adam

This response submitted by J P on 4/4/05 at 12:07 AM. ( )

Thank You..... for enlightening some of the HARD heads.

They like redundency it's easy that way.

Marcus was something else, wasn't he

This response submitted by George on 4/4/05 at 12:10 AM. ( )

You shoulda introduced yourself. That seminar was exceptional and the Zimmermans are also people who have magic in their hands.

super seminar

This response submitted by mrdux on 4/4/05 at 8:04 AM. ( )

George, I met Marcus and Ken when I was at PIT.If anyone ever gets the opportunity to go to Marcus' studio, it is the Taj Mahal for taxidermists.Tons of amazing work plus his customer work--unreal! Jason Snowberger was an instructor at PIT for a while and I also attended a form alteration and habitat workshop with him. Marcus and his family are a credit to the taxidermy industry and he has passed a lot of his knowledge along to folks like Jason, not to say that the talent wasn't already there.It shows in Jason's work.

I was only able to attend the first session and you seemed like you were up to your eyes in alligators. I was front center in the first session. I'm glad you guys didn't lose the tent! Had my doubts when I started out and a bunch of guys were trying to keep it down on the south end till they could put a more permanent fix in place.

Thanks for your work at the WTC.

Water additives for boiling skulls

This response submitted by Pooch on 4/7/05 at 12:11 PM. ( )

I have been sticking with what little I do know about skull bleaching which is that when you are doing the initial boil instead of using dermestids you need to cut the grease as much as possible to avoid the yellowing effect caused by fat and glands dissolved in the hot water. I have been adding a medium sized container of Dawn Ultra and approximately 12 pounds of baking soda to approximately 125 gallons of water in my tank before I boil. So far I have had good results with this method. Would anyone happen to know a better alternative or if by adding more of something I could make my process more efficient. Thanks, Pooch

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