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Maceration and degreasing...

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by akvz, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. akvz

    akvz New Member

    I know it's probably a known fact now that maceration will degrease as well as deflesh a skull, or any bone for that matter.

    I soak larger skulls (deer, wolf, etc.) in cold/unheated water overnight to help remove some blood and to keep my maceration bucket from being a bloody mess. I put this bear skull in.... and went to the hospital the next day and ended up unable to touch anything dead for a little over a week. So my bear went from "overnight soak" to "cold water maceration" which is hardly ideal... worse yet, some of the water evaporated!

    However... it left a very cool "waterline" that shows just how effective maceration can be at degreasing:


    The front half of the skull was tilted up in the bucket, but it still had some maceration going on for a few days... but the difference in 10 days in maceration vs. only 3-4 is astounding! He's since been moved to warm water maceration, though I doubt he'll even be in there until the weekend.
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Agreed that it does wonders for degreasing but it is not a singular process. Most skulls still need a good hit with either a detergent or solvent. In maceration, the bacteria consume a lot of the grease and break down a lot of what is left in a way to allow detergents to get rid of it faster. Also, some of the grease is converted to wax which is stable and won't soak into the bone. That is the white powdery stuff you scrub off the outside. If it's inside, it won't harm anything.

  3. akvz

    akvz New Member

    Oh, of course. I didn't mean to imply that once this bear is macerated, he'll be 100% ready for peroxide... though I'm sure we all wish that could be the case! I just thought it interesting just HOW much grease comes out of a skull during maceration. I'm sure I'm going to be spending a good while making friends with the hardware store and buying gallons of ammonia on this guy.