1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Skull Bleach

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by ryan w, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. ryan w

    ryan w New Member

    I was wondering what everyone uses to bleach skulls. I use 40 volume developer mixed with magnesium carbonate powder.It works well most of the time ,but sometimes I can't get all of the dingey spots out of some skulls.
    Dale Loescher likes this.
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Use straight 40 VOL and submerge the whole skull in it. Pasting only does the outside surface of the bone.

  3. AH7

    AH7 New Member

    I use 30% or 35% peroxide. Actually, I usually cut it in half or more. I'm very lazy about skull cleaning and can't always check my skulls every day (professor not a taxidermist), and I really don't like BRIGHT white skulls, so I'd rather it took more time. Most of my skulls were actually cleaned w/ 3% drug store stuff when I was too lazy to order the serious stuff.
  4. 37 % peroxide. just a friendly reminder................it will take your fingerprints off, feels like a billion needles alll at once and if you get the stuff in your eyes you will be blind.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Blind .. As in permanently and no hope of recovery. The 27% pool stuff is the same. One drop .. that's all it takes.
  6. Hooter4

    Hooter4 New Member

    where do you get the 35% peroxide? Isnt 40 volume only like 12% or so? Do you have to dump the peroxide after soaking a skull or can you reuse it? Keep the antlers out?
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Use the peroxide until it no longer works. If you have antlers you can lay the skull in a tub and fill with peroxide till just below the antlers. Use white paper towels or cotton rags and lay them across the exposed part of the skull and under the antler burrs. This will wick the peroxide over the top and not up on the antlers. You might still have to touch up the antler bases but it will not be a large area.
  8. ryan w

    ryan w New Member

    Are the Taxidermy suppliers the best place to buy peroxide?
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Walmart and Sally's Beauty Supply (or other beauty supply places). Pool supply places for 27%. Also other mail order places for large quantities.
  10. theguyyouknowtaxidermy

    theguyyouknowtaxidermy The Guy You Know Taxidermy<Daniel Elkins>

    I have been having problems with euro mounts. I can get them white if i mix the 40 vol with a whitenner and then set on heat. but I set a skull in the 40 vol cream for three days and it barley did anything.

    does it matter if it is the cream 40 vol?
    Jasonbliss likes this.
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I don't use the cream at all. For one thing, there is OIL in it. I'm not putting oil on skulls I'm trying to degrease. I use nothing but plain 40 vol peroxide. Even 20 VOL if it is on sale. The plain peroxide is just that. The cream has all manner of added ingredients I don't need on my skulls.
  12. Peroxide is not the bleach it is the activator.

    Magnesium Carbonate powder is the bleach.

    50/50 is a close mix, painti t on and place under a heat lamp and nothing will stop the action. The little bit of heat at 90F will work all night a leave the skull perfectly white.
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    From Wikki .. "MgCO3 is also used in flooring, fireproofing, fire extinguishing compositions, cosmetics, dusting powder, and toothpaste. Other applications are as filler material, smoke suppressant in plastics, a reinforcing agent in neoprene rubber, a drying agent, a laxative to loosen the bowels, and color retention in foods. In addition, high purity magnesium carbonate is used as antacid and as an additive in table salt to keep it free flowing.

    Because of its water-insoluble, hygroscopic properties MgCO3 was first added to salt in 1911 to make the salt flow more freely. The Morton Salt company adopted the slogan "When it rains it pours" in reference to the fact that its MgCO3-containing salt would not stick together in humid weather.[4]

    Magnesium carbonate, most often referred to as 'chalk', is used as a drying agent for hands in rock climbing, gymnastics, and weight lifting.

    Magnesium carbonate is also used in taxidermy for whitening skulls. It can be mixed with hydrogen peroxide to create a paste, which is then spread on the skull to give it a white finish.

    Magnesium Carbonate Hydroxide is used as a clay in face masks, it has mild astringent properties and helps to smooth and soften (normal and dry) skin."

    It is a misconception that the MgCO3 is any sort of bleach. Make a paste of this alone on your skull and nothing will happen. The MgCO3 is nothing more than a safe, harmless carrier to hold the peroxide in place and keep it from running off the surface that you put it on. This is the purpose of the paste. Some people substitute talcum powder to do the same thing. I find that the smaller particles of the talc get stuck in deeper sutures of the bone and can be a pain to remove if it gets dried in there. What whitens the bone is the peroxide. Heat will increase the degree of the reaction. Wrapping with Saran Wrap keeps it from drying out so that you get the maximum effect from the peroxide that you used. Even still, if you can submerge any skull in peroxide, the whitening is more complete.
  14. You can plain ole 3% from wally world, put it in s plastic shoe box, ($.99), wick your paper towels over the top, and set in a dark warm place and get amazing results. The bone will absorb it, after a few days you take it out, set it the sun, let it dry completely..... And BAM! It glows. Honestly, if you get all the oil and blood out of the bone, whitening to a beyond believable glow is easy. You don't have use voodoo, just a little patience. I have an entire little room set aside for whitening. You can also put it in the oven on 170 degrees and get a "bam" result. I have done it both ways, put heads side by side and you can't tell which was done by which method. the key is patience....... I know when you got 100 heads waiting and bubba is calling, it gets nerve racking. But every client you hand a head to will freak when he sees it and your return clients will have the patience of Job. I used to panic when customers were calling and wondering when it would be done. Now, I just let the results speak for themselves. We all have our little different tricks. Buy the process we use is all going to the same result. The folks here that do this set the bar high and we continue to produce quality because we care.
  15. theguyyouknowtaxidermy

    theguyyouknowtaxidermy The Guy You Know Taxidermy<Daniel Elkins>

    Okay, so here is how i have been greasing, simmering for a few hours with baking soda. manually scrap the brains and meat off. then try to whitten
  16. Rob

    Rob Member

    If using the 40% peroxide to soak the skull, how many bottles does it approximately take ? I know it all depends on the size of container . I just want some place to start if I decide to use this method. Thanks .
  17. Complete degreasing takes several weeks. Trust me, if could be done faster, I would do it. It is the key to everything. There are a lot links about it on here. I've spent more on degreasing equipment than on anything.
  18. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Degreasing can be a pain but it will take time. Each skull is different. Even from the same species. When it's done, it's done.
  19. I don't soak in 40 volume, I find it to be a waste. I soak in 3%(the stuff in the little brown bottles). If the skull is fully degreased and dry, 2 days of soaking, followed by a good drying in UV light, it will already be nice and bright. After, I good coating of the 40 volume mix and a nice sun bath and its whiter than white. I mean like Kip Winger teeth white!
  20. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Not challenging, but curious. How do you find the 40 VOL to be a waste? What do you do with your 3% when you have used it? Do you dispose of it? I have a large container with enough 40 VOL to submerge most skulls I work on (otherwise I submerge half for a few hours and then roll it over to do the other half). I keep this peroxide for several months before it loses strength. Sometimes even longer depending on how many skulls I put through it. A 6 hour soak or so is all it needs. You do an extra step of soaking in 3% and then following up with a paste on top of that. I don't use more materials to paste afterwards. A soak and it's done. Have you added up the costs of materials to use the two part procedure that you do? The 40 vol stuff gets used over and over and lasts through many uses if it is treated properly. You don't throw it away after one use.

    Ryan, the dingy spots you are seeing might also be iron or some type of mineral stains. Many have found that a short soak in a solution of Iron Out will remove those stains. Don't leave the skull in this for too long though. An hour or so might be all that is needed. Try to whiten, then Iron Out and then a good soak in clean water to remove the traces of Iron Out.