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Newb - Yote degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Raphite01, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Does look like some grease left. Take a small diameter wire and run it into the hollows inside the lower jaws. Coat hanger might be too big but look for something with some ability to bend. Put a kink in the end and run it back and forth inside several times under water and you should be able to fish out any of the trapped junk in there. Let them sit a while more in the detergent water. As long as it's still at 115 it shouldn't take too long. You can also try soaking the problem parts in straight ammonia. Clear only and not scented stuff.
     
  2. Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Pipe cleaners are not expensive and work fairly well to get gunk out of the hollow veins in the lower jaws. l
     

  3. Raphite01

    Raphite01 New Member

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    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Thanks, everyone.

    I ran some wire through the jaw foramina and the holes I had drilled into the long limb bones, and managed to draw out some cloudy material that left a faint sheen on the water.

    They're back in the degreasing bucket for awhile.
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Yeah, dig at, poke and scrape that stuff up and out the best you can. The more you can break it up the better. It gets easier on larger animals, but then there is a lot more of it too.
     
  5. Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    make sure to show pics of the finished work-when you first start out it may seem like it will never get done -but when finished it always amazes my customers how white they can be!!Good luck.
     
  6. Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    When it comes to degreasing, there is one rule you must remember: When it's finished, it's finished. I have had deer that degreased in two weeks, then some take six weeks. I currently have two pigs that have close to a year of degreasing between them. Also, you may let a head dry for several hours in the sun and it looks great. You may even whiten it and it still looks great. Give it a few days to be sure. A few years back I finished a deer for a client, mounted it to his plaque and even delivered it. He was so happy, he gave me another deer to do. (Some folks like to only give you one at a time...) I was pretty busy and he understood it would be a while. Well, the short of the story is this; I finished the second head, returned it to him and as I was looking my awesome job on his first head I noticed a nice faint spot that had decided to pop up right below the right antler. I examined further and there were no less than three spots that had surfaced. I was horrified because I stand for excellent work and have my business on being better then the boil and bleachers in the area. I quickly pointed them out to the clients and offered to rectify the problem. Thankfully he was okay with me doing so and was happy that stood behind my work. Since then I have slowed down my process a little and have found that you can easily overlook something if you are too impatient. My clients understand that if they want the quality of work, they must wait. It is September and I am just now finishing the last few dozen deer heads from last year. I am honest and tell my clients that there is a long wait time to have it done right. It takes a lot longer to properly do a good skull or euro mount than a traditional hair on mount. Just have patience and you will prevail.
     
  7. Raphite01

    Raphite01 New Member

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    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Much respect to all you pros who insist on turning out quality work, and are still able to keep the process efficient enough to be profitable. It's inspiring!

    No idea how you do it; I've had much fun tinkering with this skeleton, but my $/hr rate would be abysmal if I were trying to do it for money.
     
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Thing of it is, it's not a per/hr job. At least not the cleaning part. A lot of it falls into the set it and forget it category. Articulation though, is a completely different matter.
     
  9. Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Seawolf is spot on. I have certain things I charge for certain services. As far as doing a euro or a western mount, it's a flat rate depending on the species. If you look at your actually labor as you work time, it's not that much. My beetles do most of the cleaning and my tanks do most of the degreasing. I skin the head and do the glamorous part removing things, but other than the checking, changing water when needed and waiting, there is not a lot of labor in there. What a client is paying for is my patience, my method and my stomach. Patience is always the key in all of this. There is no way around timely degreasing. My focus has been of efficient degreasing. If one can degrease more specimens with less energy, you are saving money.
     
  10. Raphite01

    Raphite01 New Member

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    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    To my surprise the jaw still has some large yellow areas. Maybe I'll try straight household ammonia for a little while, though I've always had a few cups of it in the bucket with my heated Dawn water.
     
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    Try straight ammonia for a few weeks. After that, if they are being really stubborn, try a soak in acetone for a couple weeks and then put back through Dawn/water.
     
  12. Raphite01

    Raphite01 New Member

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    Re: Newb - Degreasing tips. UPDATED with story and photos!

    I came across this article that claims ammonia can decalcify a skeleton (second to last paragraph):
    http://deepwater.org/bioteacher/11-Ecology/dermestids/colony-maintenance.htm

    This seems quite contrary to the general opinion on this forum, which seems to regard household ammonia as very safe for bones. He mentions a squirrel skeleton that went rubbery after a very long ammonia soak, although I wonder if this wasn't due to the squirrel having been simmered at some point.

    Any thoughts?
     
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    That is a good page and I bookmarked it. The writer states they use "Ammonium hydroxide" but not the percentage. Household ammonia is very dilute Ammonium hydroxide. He also says that the squirrel was forgotten and was there a very long time. Also states that skeletons can be left for weeks or more depending on size so I guess it's a judgement call.