I have been mounting antlers for some friends of late, and I have a
he** of a time removing the old dried out hair & hide from the skull
plate...been doing it with a knife which is very time consuming as well as cutting myself several times! I searched for answers for over 30 minutes this morning and found nothing...can anyone help with
an easier way to remove this old hide? I would appreciate it. Thanks,
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Get a little bucket and fill it with water. Set the entire skull plate so it is emerged in the water. Let it sit overnight or until the skin it totally rehydrated and plyable. It will be just like removing the skin off a fresh skull. Ryan
put in a pot of just plane water and boil them for about an hour.Then just take them out and cut it off with a knife.It will cut and fall off just like meat off a cooked hambone.I did 25 sets like this a few days ago.If you just soak them it will work but will take much longer and won't come off as easy.I have 3 cement blocks set on the lawn like a fireplace and put a wash tub filled with water on top and start a fire under that when I have many to do.Or you can do one or 2 at a time in a smaller pot.I use a hot plate for this or just on the kitchen stove.not much smell if any.Just don't let the wife know you used her pasta pot.LOL
The longer you boil the easer it will come off.
While I respect Patricks opinion, boiling scares me. Antlers have cracked and skulls usually weaken doing this, plus many folks want the natural look of the bases, not cleaned up. Plus, the skin often turns very rubbery if it was an old set of antlers. I wouldnt say not to do it that way, as he just mentioned it worked for him 25 times, lol. But, I prefer to use a screwdriver and pliers and peel them while theyre dry. Another example of many ways to achieve the end result!
I have a slight modification of the method suggested by Ryan. Saok the skull plate overnight or a couple days in water containing ordinary hosehold ammonia (50:50). This greatly enhances the ability to pick up moisture and swells tissues to make them easier to scrape or cut off. Like Mr. Yox (and his son Bill) I don't prefer to boil bone material unless it small game being parboiling prior to frying in a skillet
I agree with you bill about the skulls weakening.I don't boil skulls If I don't have to and have time to clean other ways.What I thought Alan was looking for was just the quickest way to clean off some skull caps for some of his buddys for antler mounts.I did this on those 25 sets for use in crafts and poersonal mounts and do useually clean other ways but figured this would be the quickest and the most gental on his nuckles.lol,I use the pliers at times as well.Ouch.Watch out for those knarrley bases.Do what I do and take the best of all methods given and you won't go wrong.All of the above are sound methods and you could try one of each to see which will suit your needs.Ya really have had antlers crack bill?Never have heard of that.But I useually don't boil them any longer than is nessary.thanks for the input.
I had a few skullcaps to clean a while back I soaked them in a solution of Rittel's Ultra-Soft. This is by far the easiest method I've found- no damage to the skull or antlers- then just scrape or wire-brush the skull after you peel the hide away with a screwdriver. Good luck! PatrickR
Yep, I watched my brother do it...twice! Luckily hes not a taxidermist, but I am, and had to repair his antlers, again, not once but twice. Thats enough for me, hahahaa. I pop the skull plate into a vice, hammer the screwdriver under the skin, pry, then grab it with a pliers and twist, while still getting the screwdriver in there as needed.
I guess I've been lucky. It worked okay when I did it. I suppose that's why the word "amateur" is in front of the word "taxidermist" when I describe myself ;o Thanks! PatrickR
Now I didnt call you an amateur, YOU did, lol.
Which one you talking to bill? LOL
Figures, theres two Patrick R's...who knew? Hahaha, good luck to both of you on those antlers.