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

Mold on antlers and breaking

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by RyanL313, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    Hey guys, I have been cleaning skulls for about 5 years using maceration, but last winter was the first time I had done a white tail buck. The issue I am having is the antlers are getting a white mold on them, which comes right off. Also, they are very fragile and are breaking. I don't know what is causing this, I only have them in enough water to cover the actual skull for degreasing.

    It has taken me a very long time to get them going, because I set up a new tank with an old freezer, so that it would be insulated and I can leave it outside, since the antlers wont allow me to put them in a bucket. I am not a afraid to admit my mistake, I had it wired wrong and the water got very hot, 200 degrees hot. Did I cook the antlers, and cause the problems I am having now because of this? Or is this a problem that happens with all antlers? Any advice on how to fix them? I was thinking maybe I could drill holes in either side of the breaks and put a dowel in them, but I am afraid they will just fall apart if I try that.

    Thanks in advance!!! Ryan
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    200 is almost boiling so yes, I would say they got completely cooked. Care to post pictures? Many of the epoxies are strong enough to make repairs. The only other antler issues I remember are with uncommon, odd antlers that are chocolate colored. They seem to swell and explode when macerating for some reason.
     

  3. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    I just tried to attach the photos, but the maximum file size is 192kg and I don't know how to achieve that, or what that means.
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Use any free photo hosting site except Photobucket. I use postimg.org and it is very easy to post large images.
     
  5. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    I Decided to go ahead with degreasing, and figure it out when it was done. The first two pictures are the ones I took months ago and didn't post, the other I took this morning. Maybe I can soak the antlers in some type of epoxy, or acrylic. Then, maybe the bones will soak it up, and when it dries it will make them more rigid?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Can't say I have ever seen damage like that. Yes, if they are soaked in paraloid B-72 for a while, the resin soaks in and will stabilize the pieces. In some of those shots, the antlers look like they might be hollow on some of the broken ends. Are they? Or somehow soft and spongy inside? ... On postimage.org I use the "Direct Link" for pictures. :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    No, they aren't hollow, but the center is much more porous. It is also very soft, kinda flaky on the inside if you touch it, it just cumbles. The outside is better, but still very fragile.

    I found another thread that you gave some info on sealing the skulls, do I do the same process as here? Or let it soak longer? http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php?topic=412147.0
     
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    For general sealing, I just dunk 2-3-4 and let them drip dry. For your issue, you need to allow that paraloid to soak in as deep as you can. I would immerse all the pieces and let them sit, submerged for a day at least. This will allow the solution to penetrate as deep as it can. After they have had a good soak, prop them up on a bucket lid and let them drain and dry. This way, what drains out you can return to your solution and you don't waste any of it. It will prevent any more loss of bits and give you a more stable surface for reconstruction. Is there any possibility that those antlers might have still had velvet on them? Cured antler should be relatively solid and not at all soft inside.
     
  9. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    I doubt it, the 8 point was taken the opening day of regular season, I think it was November 17th. The 5 point was shot about a week later.

    Thanks for the advice, I ordered some paraloid, should be here the 29th.
     
  10. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    I finally got around to setting up a mixture. There really isn't much reason for taking so long, other then being lazy about it. I was unsure of the mixture, a container, and those sorts so I kept putting it off. I looked it up, it only took a few minutes; this was a very helpful post I found.

    https://www.taxidermy.net/threads/413302/
     
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Helpful and nice that they took the time to write things down. I go by eye but I have been using it for a long time. Sometimes I thicken it a bit or make it thinner depending on what I want to do with it. There are no set rules on thickness which is why it is such a great thing to work with.
     
  12. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    Yes, I did guess also, I am not sure if I should make it thicker, so it is stronger, or thinner so it penetrates better. I have made a mixture, and submerged a piece for 24 hours. I took i out for a few hours, and the porous part on the inside was much more stable, however, a crack that was already existing finished cracking off when I was examining it, it was stronger, but barely any. Maybe I need to soak them longer? Thicker or thinner solution?
     
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Too thick will not make it stronger. You want this to soak in as deep as possible. Too thick and it will not soak in deep enough. It's an easy fix. If you think it is too thick, just add a bit more solvent and stir. If you think it could be a little thicker, just add a bit more of the resin and let it dissolve. Try letting the parts soak for several days. There will be no strength until fully dry. If acetone, give them a few days to dry completely. If you used alcohol, give them maybe a week to make sure the parts are fully dry.
     
  14. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    I Have had all of the pieces soaking for about a week, I took them out last night. They are still a bit tacky, but already noticeably stronger. I will give them plenty of time to dry, and I will try to find something to put the parts still on the head in, so I can soak them also.
     
  15. RyanL313

    RyanL313 New Member

    9
    0
    The pieces are much stronger now; although, some of the porous parts in the middle is a bit crumbly. I am a bit unsure of what the best way would be to rejoin the pieces. Should I just epoxy them? Drill and put wire in them? Should I take out the porous parts that is still a bit weak so the epoxy has something strong to grab?