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Cleaning a skull. Tanning solution. Curious

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by ChadS.LanghamII, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. ChadS.LanghamII

    ChadS.LanghamII New Member

    I'm doing a skull mount and I don't have my equipment to boil it.. Can I use my tanning pickle solution to do so? I think it's a great idea because it will do what boiling does, but even better. I just want to make sure it's possible. Anybody agree/disagree with me? Please let me know your thoughts!
  2. Never boil a skull, not unless you like dealing with baked in grease, flaking, and a weak skull. Pickling solution...I have no idea on that one, but I'm sure it would probably cause damage and do little for you. Try maceration, just use the search option and you should find tons of things on it.

  3. TheSeaWench

    TheSeaWench Member

    Like WolfGirl said, forget boiling. Maceration and degreasing works and is easy. The pickle solution could be interesting as an experiment, but it's an acid, correct? I would think that if it were too strong it could make the bone all chalky. I wouldn't risk it on an important piece.
  4. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Use a pickle solution to clean a deer skull?

    Ask yourself this question, What does a pickle solution do? What is it's purpose?

    It is meant to be the first step in preserving and tanning hides. Back in the day it was the only step in hide preservation as many deer and other critters were mounted using nothing more than a pickle as a preservation method.

    If it preserves hides then what would lead you to believe that it would clean meat off of a bone?

    You can leave a skull in a pickle for decades and it won't clean one iota of meat off of it.

    Search maceration in this forum.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Ditto. Pickle will not clean bone as it was never meant to. Research maceration if you want a prime rate specimen. Or beetles and degreasing for both. If you insist on SIMMERING (not boiling), you don't need special equipment. A stock pot, stove and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda is all you need. There are no *magic* ingredients. If you don't have washing soda, use regular baking soda. If not done exactly right, you will damage the skull doing this. It is easier to damage it than to do it well and there is still the issue of grease that you drove deeper into the bone by doing this.
  6. ChadS.LanghamII

    ChadS.LanghamII New Member

    Thank you all, I'm getting some beetles here shortly but I am doing a skull for a close friend and he's nagging me to get it done a little quicker. The reason I considered using a pickle is because it changes the make up of the fibers and makes meat, fat, and membrane come off of hides a heckuva lot easier, so that's why I thought it could be used for the head, thinking maybe it might help separate the bone from the gunk.

    Just an fyi, I'm actually self taught when it comes to taxidermy and tanning. I'm 17 and I have been fooling around with it all since I was about 11-12 so I've got almost 5-6 years experience and I'm not even out of school yet haha. I love learning new tips and techniques, but I also love finding my own. Needless to say, I appreciate all of the advise.
  7. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I had my state license at your age. Apprenticed for an old timer 2 years through high school and made a lot of pocket money.
    I was green and thought I knew it all...

    News flash, I still don't and never will.

    You ask the right questions and have the proper attitude..There is a lot to learn here.
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    That one sentence, right there, is what will kill you in the business. Trying to turn out something fast to please someone initially is going to come back and haunt you in a big way. In a couple of years or so, that skull you hurried to do is going to look like crap. Of course everyone will know who did it and you can count on losing customers because of it.

    Don't turn out crap to please people. It never works. Make them wait, do it right and your business will be all the better for it.
  9. BWebbs31

    BWebbs31 Classic Skull Mounts, LLC

    X2. Do yourself a huge favor and take Seawolf's advice. Put your foot down to your "friend" and let them know they'll get their skull when the skull is finished and finished correctly. Any "friend" will understand if you explain to them that they're going get a quality product when it's finished and waiting for that kind of quality isn't a bad thing.

    Search the archives for how to macerate. Seawolf has commented in hundreds and hundreds of threads on this simple and flawless technique. So do a little research, go get what you need and fire it up Chad! You'll be degreasing by New Years day, my man! Good luck, and happy holidays!!!