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stained skull

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by huntin_justin, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. huntin_justin

    huntin_justin Active Member

    I have been searching for this for a while and still not sure the best method to go about with. I have a skull that the guy buried in the ground for a year thinking it will clean it white. Well now its stained pretty good and needless to say I need to rebuild a few tines. Im trying to decide the best way of whitening this without ruining it. Anybody got anyood suggestions.
  2. slammerdude

    slammerdude Member

    Look for sea wolfs potbelly pig thread. She used iron out.

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

  4. huntin_justin

    huntin_justin Active Member

    Thanks alot I found it earlier, alot of good information. I am new to cleaning skulls so that information is very helpful.
  5. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Be aware that the Super Iron Out may very well take the color out of your antlers as well. If you don't want them white be careful to only cover the skull with the solution.

    Get the MSDS and use in well ventilated area..The stuff is nasty to smell..
  6. Jeff.

    Jeff. New Member

    I attempted to use the Super Iron Out on two green (copper stained, bear and ram) skulls, and it did nothing. Actually it turned areas brown in addition to the green. Thankfully these two skulls are going to be dipped in camo, so no real harm done, but I was really hoping that the Super Iron Out would work. Any ideas, Cyclone?
  7. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Copper is pretty difficult to remove. Iron out will only add to the problem..
    Try a solution of oxalic or citric acid in warm to hot water. You will probably have to change the solution a few times...
  8. Jeff.

    Jeff. New Member

    I'm confused. I got the instructions from a post you made about the subject.
    http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,206339.msg1465600.html (about halfway down the page). I attempted just as you described on the post. Now you are saying that Iron Out will add to the problem? Am I missing something?

    As far as trying oxalic or citric acids, is there any recipe to this?

  9. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    You stated that you've already tried Super Iron Out and it didn't work. There are different compounds of copper that react differently.

    Phase 2, which would have been the next step in the process that you cited would be to go to a chelating reagent. Oxalic acid or citric acid fit that bill. I wouldn't do long soaks, 5 min or so and use a toothbrush or plastic bristle brush to scrub the spots. Either of these acids will bind to metals and help pull them out of the bone. Unfortunately, they also bind to calcium, a major constituent of bone. They will eventually dissolve the bone so once the stains are gone you need to rinse the skulls with copious amounts of clean water..

    As with the other method, there is no guarantee that the method will not damage the bone. It would be best to try it out on a scrap skull..
  10. Jeff.

    Jeff. New Member

    Got it. Since these skulls are to be dipped in camo, I will not sacrifice these to further testing, but I may get a crap skull and try it out if I can recreate the copper problem. Thanks for the advice.
  11. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I am curious as to how the stains got there.

    Bullet fragments? Copper ID tags or wire?