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Macarating or beetles?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by David Jones, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. David Jones

    David Jones New Member

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    Im fairly green to all this bone bussiness.
    I did 6 for a few friends 2 years ago and 67 total heads last year.
    I did the boil method, i hated it but everyone still loved the product.
    How ever im all about learning and have been doing research on here (big thanks to al those who share info)
    and i want to better peoples trophies.
    I hear beetles are high maintance but macarating can take weeks.
    Also my degreesing was just a 5gal bucket and dawm, it worked but i keep seeing people talk about degreesing tanks. What is exactly is a good setup for these?
    Im stil researching but figured this could get me and others wondering answers or tips a bit quicker.
    Thanks for the response everyone hope this post helps other out also
     

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  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    A tank would be used for a high volume business. Macerating takes 2 weeks at the most to clean a skull. Normally more like a little over a week and it will depend on what you do for prep work to start with. Beetles take days or less depending on the size of your colony. Macerating will also shorten your degreasing time. Beetles still need to be housed and fed if you have no work for them. There are many pluses to both methods. Use the Advanced Search and isolate your searches to the Skulls and Skeletons section. Try changing up your search terms to see what you find. There are several posts I have done. One with beavers and another with a cougar. If you find one with broken pictures let me know as I can fix them. There are literally years worth of free info in the archives and all free for the looking.
     
    general likes this.

  3. Skulltastic

    Skulltastic Member

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    Well for one thing, its so easy to do, I would try macerating a skull or two and see what you think. With non antlered heads its nice because you can seal everything in a bucket (MAKE SURE you have a small vent so gasses don't build up) and in two weeks its ready to be rinsed off and degreased. It cleans off the toughest material on the backs of skulls, that slick surface on the rear atlas I think its called (where it pivots on the vertebrate) and all cartilage. The bacteria don't seem to harm, nails, hair or bone. No beetles caught in areas you can't get out. It takes nothing but water, a container, and way to keep it heated around 80-100F constantly. Most use a fish tank heater. Helps degrease faster and gets into every crack and crevice, if water can get there, the bacteria are there and they are eating away. You will have some cottage cheese looking stuff stuck on the skull when its done but that rinses and brushes off easy. You will still need to push the crap out from the channels in the mandible. I'm not sure why it doesn't eat that stuff away or maybe it does and whats left is that cottage cheese stuff stuck in there, either way make sure to clean that out. The quality of a maceration simply blows me away. Its not for everything. Do your research, but if you can use it, Its amazing.
     
  4. David Jones

    David Jones New Member

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    Thank you both, trying to search on this site is hectic for specifics but i use my phone, guessing a lap top would br easier. Anyone heard of using a old freezer to put 5gal buckets in and just heating the freezer?
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    To the above, yes. Cheaper, if you can find one, to heat. Someone on here .. I think Joeym, has a walk in freezer that he converted to a chamber.
     
  6. BowDeadly

    BowDeadly "LIFE IS GREAT" It's better with a bow

    I usually send out to the beetles but lately I have done maceration because of the stink (found dead). I had a big cooler and a fish tank heater from amazon, worked like a charm. After a week I opened the cooler and was shocked. All the hair & flesh was gone, didn't even have to clean any thing off. A quick rinse and change of fresh water and lots of dawn liquid and 3 days later a perfectly cleaned skull. Let dry for a few days then a peroxide soak and smelling good and clean. A clear coat of none-yellowing Grumbacker satin finish and done.

    19702140_10209797998287657_7783924891598963656_n.jpg P1100219.JPG P1100220.JPG 19667587_10209797946446361_1545530861513931265_o.jpg 19702264_10209797953326533_8853286065880320210_n.jpg 19787171_10209797970806970_8843625923389367309_o.jpg
     
    desertbull likes this.
  7. Skulltastic

    Skulltastic Member

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    I can almost smell that cooler from here. Funny enough once you macerate things a few times, you can tell that you are nearing the end when the odor drops of drastically. At least thats what i've found.
     
  8. BowDeadly

    BowDeadly "LIFE IS GREAT" It's better with a bow

    I had buzzards circling my house for a couple days.
    Lady next door asked what the smell was.
     
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Someone lost a really nice rack. Wonderful find.
     
  10. HuntersUnion

    HuntersUnion Member

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    Now I have not tried maceration but beetles are a pain in the ass! Honestly a new problem every couple of months. Ham beetles, mites, humidity too low, too high, meat too dry, picking left over meat and dead bugs ALL the time. My colony is fast but I can only do one thing per colony. Maceration you just get more buckets.
    That being said, I battle with my beetles because I don't think I could handle the smell of maceration and picking through the mess for teeth.
    I am also about to move into a new shop that I am hoping will help with a lot of my problems.
    Good luck!
     
  11. Megan :)

    Megan :) Well-Known Member

    I macerate. Works great for me and the smell isn't too bothersome. I live in a small town and no one has complained.
    I separate all my "sections" into pieces of pantyhose. The water turns greasy and disgusting but dump that out and open up your "bags" and you have clean bones, there isn't much mess to pick through. When doing multiple skulls if they are small enough I "bag" them separately too, so that I know which teeth go with which skull, and nothing gets lost. The bags go in bucket(s) and the bucket(s) into an old chest freezer outside that then gets locked.

    I feel the need to note here that if you use the pantyhose method, when removing the bones, do so over a tray and completely invert the pantyhose, as some small bones will snag on the cheap hose (which is all I get, and I am sure the store clerks think I have some weird fetish lol, but its hard to beat 4 stockings for $1.25).

    I degrease in an old fishtank in my basement. I can keep an eye on it, and I don't use the basement for anything other than doing laundry, so the faint ammonia smell is not noticeable.

    I have only been focusing on bones for about two years and small scale, so feel free to ignore what I do in favor of those with more experience.
     
  12. Megan :)

    Megan :) Well-Known Member

    We have the same fish tank heater, can we be fish tank heater buddies?! :p :p :D :D
     
  13. HuntersUnion

    HuntersUnion Member

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    You have motivated me to try it Megan! After 4 years of beetle issues I am getting pretty sick of it. The thought of doing batches of stuff all at once is appealing too. I have multiple colonies but still I have to be feeding new skulls and removing and processing cleaned skulls every two days.
    However half of my work is deer/moose/elk/caribou so the beetles are still going to be in service.
    Thanks
     
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Wondering if you really looked through and read any of the longer posts or tutorials on maceration. There is no picking through anything looking for teeth. All your teeth and small bones, including many times the tiny bones of the inner ear, are all in the bucket and in clean water. Yes .. it smells though.
     
    Megan :) likes this.
  15. big dan

    big dan Member

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    I have done both methods and both have great results. For me maceration works best for my situation. We do about a hundred euros a year and with the beetle colony we had they couldn't keep up. With a full time job maceration was an easy fit. You never really get used to the smell but you learn to deal with it anyway. On the other hand I just talked to a local guy that beetles and he said he does about 1500 euros a year so what is best for one is not always best for another.
     
  16. David Jones

    David Jones New Member

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    Where is everyone finding water heaters that get to 120°? I can only find 93° tops
     
    kbyrum83 likes this.
  17. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Water heater elements or a bucket heater hooked up to an accurate thermostat. Several posts in the archives showing how to wire in a thermostat. Try searching for caveman .. that will bring up one of them. Sadly the OP hasn't been on here for a while and the pictures are broken because of Photobucket. Might still be able to figure out the info though. I tried to contact him but even his website is gone now.
     
  18. David Jones

    David Jones New Member

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    Sea wolf, what brand do you use for your macaration buckets?
     
  19. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    For 5 gallon single job ones, I use the orange Home Depot buckets. I also use them to store acetone and peroxide. I have a Rubbermaid stock tank I use for heating a larger quantity of water if needed and I float 5 gallon buckets in that if I have a large number to do at once. For efficiency though, it is cheaper to dry heat an enclosed space and keep buckets in there.
     
  20. David Jones

    David Jones New Member

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    My apologies i short typed that. What type of submerged heaters do you use?