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Swordfish Bill issues. Help needed please!!

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Swordo, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    Hi team

    Hopefully someone can help me with this.
    I'm trying to clean-up a couple of broadbill swordfish bills for a mate but am struggling to get them white. For some reason I have some orange/yellow staining that I cant get rid of.
    The bills are pretty much bone.

    The bills were cut off the fish and left outside for a few months before I got them. When I got them I gave them a quick simmer to soften and remove the flesh and then hung them in the ocean to get rid of any small bits of meat left over and to help degrease. After 4 weeks in the sea I pulled them out and soaked them in acetone for 1 week. After this I have soaked them in approx 6% hydrogen peroxide for a couple of days.

    The issue is that during the simmering the bills ended up with a fair bit of grease on them from the surface of the water and this seemed to have stained the bills. I now have yellow/orange staining that I cant get rid of. I would have thought that the acetone soak would have done a good job of degreasing and that the hydrogen peroxide would get rid of the stains but clearly not.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

    I'm considering increasing the hydrogen peroxide strength to 12% (or could use 35%) and leaving it to soak in this for another week or so to see if it makes a difference.

    I've done bills previously using the same method and they turned out great but these bill were cleaned up straight after being caught (i.e. not left outside for 3 months). I've also done red deer skulls in a similar method (1 week acetone soak then 24hrs 6% hydrogen peroxide soak) and it turned out super white so I'm at a bit of a loss as to why I'm having such issues with these bills.

    Any help would be really appreciated
     
  2. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    Can pull the bills out of the peroxide and post photos if it'd be useful.
     

  3. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Billfish Bill's are a lose/lose proposition. Thet are an oil sop that will leech oils until the cows come home. The only way I've ever found aside from casting and molding is to remove ALL the soft tissue. You end up with about 4/5 of the bill. Then you recreate the missing section with Apoxie putty.
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Peroxide does not remove grease so you are wasting it by soaking for so long thinking that it does. As George stated Swordfish bills are saturated with oil to begin with. Letting them sit in the ocean for any length of time does nothing. The oil just sits there in the cold water. Leave off the acetone for a bit and try soaking them in straight ammonia. Not the scented crap. Plain clear ammonia. Let them sit in that for at least a month at room temperature. If you notice that the solution becomes really foul, dump it and fill with clean ammonia. After a month in that, see what you have. Possibly, if you can use some sort of tube and stand them up on the pointed end, oil will rise and float out of the cut, larger end. Keep the level of the ammonia above the bone. After a long ammonia soak, rinse and soak in several changes of really hot water until the ammonia is gone. You can drain and then try soaking in acetone for a while and then back to ammonia or a heated detergent solution. Once you have gotten out what grease you think you can, use the peroxide to whiten them. After you have lightened them up and your orange stains are still there, try brushing on a solution of Iron Out where they stains are. If they start to fade with this, apply more until the stains have faded all they will. They probably will not vanish 100%. Rinse with hot water again and just let them dry.
     
  5. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    Hey guys, cheers for the advice. I'll get hold of some ammonium hydroxide and soak in that for a while. See how that goes.

    To be honest the bills do not seem super greasy. Perhaps swordfish (i.e. broadbill) are not as bad as marlin (which some people call swordfish). There is not much sign of grease other than the staining from simmering.

    What are the pros/cons of ammonia over acetone?
     
  6. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    Also, Im over in New Zealand and cant seem to find Iron out stocked anywhere. Are there any alternatives?
     
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what the chemical is in the product Iron Out. It does reduce the coloring left by iron and mineral staining. The container of it that I have no longer has a readable label. The ammonia solution we get here for cleaning is 10%. I use that either straight or diluted. If you have a stronger percentage I dodn't know what the results would be. Ammonia acts as a detergent. Acetone would be a solvent. The way it acts on grease is different but both remove it. Acetone will dissolve a lot of plastics so you have to be careful what sort of container you put it in. It is also highly volatile. Ammonia is safer and cheaper to handle in the USA.

    **** I edited this section and removed the info that was in error. See the post below from Cyclone for the correct chemical info and MSDS sheet. There is more than one type of Iron Out and you do not want the one labeled "Outdoors". ****
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  8. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    IMG_4428.JPG IMG_4430.JPG
     
  9. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    Heres a couple of pics of the bills. It is just the very end of the bills (where they were in the pot simmering) that are stained. Otherwise there doesnt seem to be much grease at all. It is also only on one side for some reason.
    Do you guys still reckon a long ammonia soak is my best bet?
    Or should I try some oxalic acid first?
     
  10. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Iron Out is not going to work on grease. If your staining is, in fact, due to the bills being left outside in leaf matter or dirt then Iron Out may work. The ingredients can be found in section 3, page 1 of the SDS sheet.

    https://summitbrands.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Iron-OUT-Powder-English-GHS-Rev-02-12-2018.pdf

    Household ammonia, ammonium hydroxide, cuts grease by saponification, a chemical reaction that basically creates a soap by hydroxylating the fats thus making it water soluable.

    That appears to be grease, I'd go the ammonia route..
     
  11. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Sea Wolf you have the provided the link to SDS sheet for the outdoor product. It's for cleaning decks and driveways that have algae stains and rust and indeed contains oxalic acid.

    The link I have provided contains the ingredients for the Iron out product that was used on your potbelly skull for the tannin stains.
     
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that. I grabbed the first one that came up. Didn't know there was more than one. As for the stains, chances are it is funky grease if that is where the top layer of it was and they were sitting and getting stewed in it. I would soak those ends in ammonia first and see what happens.
     
  13. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    Cool I'll track down some ammonia and give them a soak for a couple weeks. Thanks heaps for the help guys - appreciate it
     
  14. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001


    FYI ;)

    https://www.taxidermy.net/threads/306217/#post-2100510
     
  15. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Had forgotten about that post. Back on top for a while as it is a very valid one. Thanks CY. Cyclone, 400001 posts. :) Your odometer has rolled over again. :)
     
    George and Megan :) like this.
  16. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    I've got the bills soaking in a 12.5% solution of ammonia. Is it ok to leave this in the shed outside without heating? Or do I need to buy an aquarium heater and raise the temps?

    It's the end of winter over here so temps are normally around 55-65 during the day and drops to 40-50 F at night.
     
  17. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Try leaving them as is. Or bring them inside where it is warmer. They are pretty clean so there shouldn't be any odor. You can heat it but I would avoid doing so as the fumes are bad enough without making them worse.
     
  18. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    Ok I'll leave them be for the meantime. I'll give them a couple of weeks in the ammonia and see how they come out.
     
  19. Swordo

    Swordo New Member

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    More sword bill issues
    20190529_111303[1].jpg 20190529_111339[1].jpg
     
  20. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Well, it's been nearly a year later and you're still having issues. I think it's time for you to admit George was right and mold the damn things and be done with it!
     
    George likes this.