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Looking For Skull Cleaner Who Uses Acetone Degreasing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by phillytom, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. phillytom

    phillytom New Member

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    Does anyone know of an established skull cleaner on the east coast who degreases with acetone or lacquer thinner type solvents instead of simmering in dawn detergent? The skulls come out better.
     
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I don't know any skull cleaners out that way but skulls don't come out better using solvents to degrease but they are an useful tool on stubborn skulls such as bears and hogs. I use acetone on them and then they go back into heated water and Dawn to finish.
     

  3. JakeKrog

    JakeKrog New Member

    3bear, do you have a tutorial you would recommend for your skull cleaning process?
     
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    No I don't but the info is all here in various posts if you search the skull section. Here's my process in a nuts shell, skulls are cleaned using beetles, mascaration or even simmered depending on my work load and time confinements and then they are either put right into degreasing in either heated water most skulls, or acetone in the case of bears and hogs. After about a month or so I dry them out to check for grease left in. I then decide on what to do next, if it is time to whiten I soak in peroxide or if it needs more degreasing back into the dawn or if I fell it is stubborn into acetone. I repeat this rotation till grease is gone.
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I am on the East Coast and I do not know of any professional cleaners that simmer in Dawn detergent to degrease. Doing that is asking for trouble and damaging a skull. Simmering any skull chances damage unless you are extremely skilled with it and makes it a lot harder to get grease out. As 3 Bears mentions above, all you need to do is search on here and you will find info in posts going all the way back to 2006. The archive is that large. Perhaps you are misreading posts on here. People using Dawn are not simmering the skulls in it. It is a heated soak, yes, but the water is not so hot that you can't put your hand into it. I also use acetone but I reserve it for grease areas that are an issue and need an extra step to get it to move.
     
  6. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Ryan Olsen of Whitebone Creations uses acetone to degrease. He is a professional that offers DIY videos on YouTube. Here is an example:

     
    BlackBeard29 likes this.
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Boiling, pressure washer ... ripping the skull apart .. Wasting peroxide (It does not degrease) nope. Not professional at all. Video is well done, I'll give him credit for that. He shows skulls that still have grease in them and blows it off with the excuse that his customers want their stuff back "stat". You can do a rush job and hand back crappy work or you can do it right and make them wait. Your name goes on the work that you send out the door. The quality of that work is up to you.
     
    13 point likes this.
  8. JakeKrog

    JakeKrog New Member

    This is the problem I'm running into as beginner. There are several tutorials, articles, and opinions on what "works best." Without trying each out, and giving them time to sit... It's hard to know what is best to do.
     
  9. ARUsher

    ARUsher Well-Known Member

    I am still a beginner as well. But I would do as Sea Wolf recommends. Search the forum for more detailed instruction on steps for maceration, degreasing and whitening with peroxide. I just finished my first skull using those steps and it came out great. (other than missing a couple of small bone pieces from buzzards getting into it and trying to take off with the skull!)
     
    JakeKrog likes this.
  10. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Agree 1000% , he makes scene on certain things then comes back and says and does something that contradicts himself. That pig jaw will yellow out in time with grease , not as he said go to its normal color . And done correctly doesn’t mean drill holes in tuff areas . The only reason you should have extra parts is if the client doesn’t want them back as in lower jaws and such . Doing a skull correctly takes time it’s not a quick job , in my opinion, beetles is the best way to go on the cleaning part of it , as left in long enough the larvi will get into every nook and cranny , there are many ways to degrease but it’s never done at the same time as whitening. Back to the video , I’m sure he has some kind of tagging system in place but I didn’t see it , but the worse thing you can do is mix and match teeth and such . As stated go to the archives and look at all the ways there is to accomplish your task, but take a little from all and come up with what works for you .
     
    JakeKrog likes this.
  11. BlackBeard29

    BlackBeard29 New Member

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    I'm not trying to argue, but the volume of work and amount of happy customers that Ryan gets dictates if he is a professional or not. His methods may be different from the ones you prefer but his clients like it and he makes his living doing it. I don't agree with how he does a lot of stuff but there is something to be said for taking pieces from how everyone does something. I'm sorry if this came off as argumentative, it is not meant that way. I just think we need to be more supportive of each other in this vocation. But I'm sure I'll be hammered for this post.
     
    PablitoPescador likes this.
  12. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I won't hammer you because I agree with some of what you said. Plain and simple his customers aren't mine and vice versa, nor do I want them to be. I already can hardly handle the amount I get in, in a timely fashion.
     
    BlackBeard29 likes this.
  13. Great Skulls

    Great Skulls Active Member

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    Not trying to hammer you, but, I have been cleaning skulls for more than 30 years and have never heard of a way to degrease a pig or bear skull in anything less than weeks! Yes, you can get the surface grease out using some of these methods, and yes your customers will be happy when they pick them up, but the grease will come back in days/weeks/years.

    If you want to do a crappy job, that's entirely up to you.

    As for simmering, we've been through this 1000 times: simmering BY DEFINITION damages bones. If you have ever made soup, then you know that heating bones in liquid leaches out the collagen from bones (making an excellent broth). What you are left with are the mineral components of the bone, and these are going to be more brittle and potentially flaky. The key is to clean skulls without damaging these proteins.

    (BTW, an even better way to damage the proteins is to use chlorinated bleach. That's also a fast way to make a skull nice a white and destroyed, similar to boiling or pressure blasting.)

    Yes, you can potentially simmer meat off a skull if you are CAREFUL, and the absolute best people on this forum have done this a bit (e.g., PA), but this is really difficult and can really easily ruin your skull.

    Like EVERYTHING in life, never trust anyone who promises all three of "Fast, Good, Cheap". You can often get two, but almost never three.

    Those YouTube boilers and blasters give their customers fast and cheap, but no real skull collector (or museum) would ever use those destructive methods.

    But you are free to do whatever the heck you like with your specimens! And if your customers will pay you for them and are happy, then faster is better, neither of you cares about lasting quality.
     
    phillytom, Ana, BlackBeard29 and 2 others like this.
  14. BlackBeard29

    BlackBeard29 New Member

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    I very much agree with you and 3bears. And I respect sea wolf and everyone on this forum. I'm sorry if I made anyone mad, just as someone who just finished taxidermy school and trying to learn and build off that as much as possible it makes it a little intimidating seeing people get torn apart here and attacked personally. I know it's out of a passion for taxidermy but maybe I'm just to soft. But that's who I am. There is an extraordinary wealth of knowledge on here from all you veterans on here but sometimes it's tough to approach. So again I'm sorry for stirring.
     
  15. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    First off don't apologize for having an opinion and voicing it. Second, don't take things too personal here. We all have a tendency to be "Keyboard cowboys" and will often type things that we may or may not say to a person's face but all and all there are plenty of good folks here that are willing to help, albeit it might come with some snarky comments.
     
    BlackBeard29 likes this.
  16. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I take no offense to you opinion, and as 3 bears said don’t apologize for your beliefs. We all do things different. We all have different goals and levels of exceptence . I would never drill holes into a skull , but that’s me . As I stated take a little from all then come up with what your looking to achieve and run with it . Have fun Goodluck
     
    BlackBeard29 likes this.
  17. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    No offense taken but I can do that same amount of work, and have, and turn out a high quality piece that is good enough to be handed down to the next generation and still look good. The difference is can you make a work ethic and stick to it or are you going to bend to customer demands and take shortcuts. My customers wait and are beyond happy. I have to turn away work because I frequently get slammed and don't want people waiting forever. Even still, I have people tell me that it's ok, they will wait the extra time. Granted, I wish I had a bug colony to strip heads like some do. Bugs are great. But if you don't have work for them in the off season, you still have to feed them. The Dog on here (now has a different name) has an insane photo of his shop. So full of elk and antlered heads, bears and other things that OSHA would have nightmares. And they are clean. But the problem is there are a whole lot of YouTube vids and info on other sites. Many contradict each other. You just have to go trial and error until you find out what you are happy with .. and are others happy with it too. A lot of folks on here have already played the trial and error game and all that info is on here for free for anyone willing to dig through it.
     
    BlackBeard29, ARUsher and 3bears like this.
  18. phillytom

    phillytom New Member

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    From what I’m reading, Great Skulls makes the most sense. A true professional (with integrity) has a level of quality that the average person doesn’t appreciate. They operate for the satisfaction of “artesian tradesmen-ship” as opposed to the fast dollar. Volume of business doesn’t mean quality sometimes, just a lot of customers who haven’t been exposed to how much better it could have been.
    These days, newbies are learning from YouTube, posting a site on Facebook, and charging the full price of veterans.
    I’m finding it hard to weed through the degreasing methods of skull cleaners, but have seen the variety of bone quality “dawn degreasing “ produces. Some skulls are good, some are crappy- it’s uneven. A lot have joint cracks that show shrinkage. Most people don’t care. A serious collector or museum does.
    Thanks for all the input. I’ll keep looking.
     
    3bears likes this.
  19. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    The skulls you saw that had cracks and shrinkage .. and uneven degreasing, were the skulls simmered clean? That is where the damage came from.
     
  20. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Your original question, in case all of those that responded with their 100's of solutions, was who degreases with acetone AND is an established business. I only answered the question as I always do. My job is not to bash anyones way of doing things and on this forum, everyone has been doing it for "30 years" and their method is best. Sorry to cause so much drama for you and I frequent this forum less and less......