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Degreasing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by muskyff, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. muskyff

    muskyff New Member

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    I have been doing heads now for about 6 years. My process is to have beetles clean the head, then into a 120 degree five gallon bucket with 1/2 cup ace ammonia and 1/4 cup dawn clear dawn dish soap with bleach alternative. This degreases heads from 9 weeks to 14 weeks. The problem I'm having now is back then I purchased a lot of the dawn soap and am running out. In reading the forums people are talking they still use the clear dawn but which one. there are a few but can't pin down what everyone is using. Can't find what I used to use and the company isn't forth coming in which one is the most like the old soap. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I still use the blue. I only extremely rarely ever get a blue tinted skull and it is fixed with a few more hits of peroxide.
     
    BearBonz likes this.

  3. muskyff

    muskyff New Member

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    So you feel that the blue works just as well as the clear with bleach alternative? Does any of the clear dawn that they sell now work as well?
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I have the clear too. If anything, I think I end up using more of it to get the same result. It's cheap enough so it really isn't a big deal. The "bleach alternative" is just peroxide and that really doesn't do anything to remove grease. It's in the dish detergent to kill bacteria and germs.
     
  5. muskyff

    muskyff New Member

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    So the clear ultra that's a concentrate should work as well as the blue and the older stuff?
     
  6. Where do you find the clear? I can’t find it anywhere?
     
  7. muskyff

    muskyff New Member

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    Menards sells the clear but different bottles, one is ultra and says concentrate the other doesn't say concentrate. I have seen clear at Wal-Mart sometimes but not sure which one works like the old ones.
     
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Around here all the grocery stores have it. Walmart and K-mart as well.
     
  9. 406Beetles

    406Beetles New Member

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    Do you have to wrap the base of the antlers during the decreasing process?
     
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You don't have to, no. If you want no change in the antler at all, some people apply a good coat of silicone like Seal N Peel and let it fully cure before degreasing. Coat from the bases up to above the water line. I submerge the racks along with the skull and very rarely have to deal with a waterline. Keep on top of the grease in the water and don't let it build up. You will get a lot of grease to start with and then it will taper off. The detergent water can and will sometimes remove tree sap and resins from the antler and it will appear a bit lighter than before. It's not a hard process to touch up the color. Watch for mold though if your racks are in a closed space. It can cause a discoloration.
     
    RoughCountry likes this.
  11. 406Beetles

    406Beetles New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Is the silicone easy to remove after decreasing or do you keep it on the antler base through the peroxide treatment? If not, how do you protect the antler base from whitening? I normally shrink wrap and then wrap in electrical tape, combined with keeping the peroxide level below the antler butt.
     
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Shrink wrap would work too and would be a lot cheaper than the silicone. If you get a thick enough layer of it on it does peel off. You may have to dig at it on the burrs and bases if they are particularly nubby. Best way to keep the burrs from getting whitened is to keep the peroxide level below the burrs and wick it up over the top of the skull and under the burrs with paper towels.
     
    BearBonz likes this.
  13. RoughCountry

    RoughCountry New Member

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  14. RoughCountry

    RoughCountry New Member

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    Sea Wolf, I've done several skull and recently had one elk skull that got that mold discoloration just below the horn on the skull. Do you have a good suggestion to get rid of that green discoloration?? I'm kinda freaking out about this!!
     
  15. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Mold on the whitened bone? Have you tried pasting that area with strong peroxide and Basic White mix?
     
  16. Jordan Park

    Jordan Park Active Member

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    Hey Sea Wolf, you’re the bomb when it comes to skulls and whitening tricks!
    Do you find mixing basic white powder with peroxide gets skulls whiter than just putting the skull in peroxide?
     
  17. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Not really. I use the paste method for things I can't submerge, which isn't many. IMHO submerging whitens all parts of the skull inside and out. No strange shadows from within. By the very nature of the work, skulls hide many internal nooks and crannies where lost bits of tissue can remain to create an odor later or harbor bacteria. Submerging exposes all these things to peroxide and a majority of the tissue is dissolved and the entire skull sanitized as well. Pasting really only gets the outside of the skull. What kicks of the whitening power of peroxide is HEAT. It can be from the sun but a heat lamp, oven or a really heated up room will achieve the same effect. After pasting, you should wrap the skull with plastic wrap to hold the paste in place and keep it from drying out. Pasting effectively holds a layer of peroxide on the skull surface. The Basic White is mostly an inert powder that keeps the peroxide in contact with the bone surface, same as submerging. Talcum powder can also be used. But to get it to make that bright white it has to be also heated for a time to make the peroxide work harder. You can also wrap and heat a skull that was submerged to increase the whiteness but I have always been happy with the appearance as is. The real trick with getting a skull white is to get the grease out of it first.
     
    BearBonz likes this.
  18. Jordan Park

    Jordan Park Active Member

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    Thanks Sea Wolf!
     
  19. MIBugsTaxidermy

    MIBugsTaxidermy New Member

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    You mentioned you submerge the rack while degreasing then said you like to also submerge in peroxide to whiten. What so you use to protect the antlers while in the peroxide? I have been using the past but I have a lot of skulls to do and the submerging seems to be a better result.
     
  20. Racks n Plaques

    Racks n Plaques New Member

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    Wrap base of antlers with shrink wrap real tight 5-6 times then I come back with Electrical tape starting at base of horns and warp it tight going up the horns. Sometimes you'll have some touch up work for the whiten horns but more times then not its ok
     
    MIBugsTaxidermy likes this.