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Having Big Difficulties Trying To Clean A Skull

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by thatonewhitetail, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. thatonewhitetail

    thatonewhitetail New Member

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    I got a whitetail skull from a friend about a week back. The skull was clean, had no weird scents, and had no dirty bits. The only issue was that it was very, very, yellow.

    I put it in some hydrogen peroxide for a day, and imagine my surprise when it comes out looking like this:
    [​IMG]
    Very dark below the eye, spots of grease everywhere. I got a tip to put the skull in some water with some Dawn dish soap and leave it for about a week to get the grease off, so that's what I went about doing.
    Today was the 7th day of degreasing, and I take the skull out to see that it's taken on a bumpy texture, and if possible, has become yellower and a bit more worn:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Any ideas of what's happened or how to fix it? I'm not about to do anything else with this skull until I know what's going on here!
     
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    It will get whiter as it dries
     

  3. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    I would keep it in the Dawn for a lot more than a week. Change the water/Dawn every week, but keep soaking it. Then do the hydrogen peroxide.

    :)

    Kerby...
     
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  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I used to keep an aquarium heater in my degrease solution and soaked them for at least one month changing the water as was mentioned above.

    A wet skull is never white and it amazed me how much it whitened when dried the first time I did a skull.
     
  6. thatonewhitetail

    thatonewhitetail New Member

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    Update: The bubbling texture seems to be caused by the soap water getting stuck between the skull and a layer of yellow varnish/paint/glue? I scrubbed w/ a toothbrush and some of it peeled away:
    [​IMG]
    The part that I peeled the stuff off of is a lot whiter than the picture makes it look, and feels like proper bone.

    I'm thinking the previous owner put yellow varnish/paint/whatever on it. Now, it's a question of how to remove it all.
     
  7. It could be some type of sealer or clear coat. Try soaking in acetone for a day. Scrub it good and then back to degreasing.
     
  8. thatonewhitetail

    thatonewhitetail New Member

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    Either acetone didn't work or I'm not scrubbing hard enough. Definitely not resorting to steel wool, but this stuff is determined to stay on.
     
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Best bet would be to call the person who cleaned it and ask them what they did and put on it. Soaking in acetone will possibly help but, due to the antlers, is going to be a pain. Soak in Dawn water but it has to be heated 24/7 to 120 degrees. I would bet that the skull was boiled clean and this is the result of that. The grease is now deep in the bone. You can also try ammonia added to water but this is going to take a couple of months to remove at best. If sal soda was used it can also have damaged the bone but you will not know that unless it disintegrates.