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Hi I Have A Flaky Cow Skull!

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Dandyshell, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. Dandyshell

    Dandyshell New Member

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    So i picked this cow skull up in a field about 6-7 months ago never washed it, peroxided it etc because it was flaky. I finally washed it today and i was curious if there's any way to safely whiten it and to prevent further flakage?
     

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  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Your best bet is still to use peroxide. It isn't flakey because of chemicals but due to weathering. Peroxide isn't going to do any real damage but it will sanitize it .. or most of it .. assuming that it is large enough that you can't completely submerge it. If you can get the gallons of pool peroxide shock, get a couple of gallons and put it in a 5 gallon bucket. Submerge one end of the skull till whitened then pull it out and submerge the other end. There is a lot of (what looks like) algae growing on it so expect a lot of foaming at first. Your bigger problem will be continued deterioration if you don't stabilize the remaining bone. Paraloid resin will do it but in all honesty Spending money on that might not really be a good idea. If you go to the farmer that owns that field, he might be able to direct you to a much newer specimen or even give you a call to come and collect a fresh head from one that dies later on (happens a lot with cattle). You'll have to clean it, but the end results will be a lot sturdier.
     

  3. Dandyshell

    Dandyshell New Member

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    Thank you for the reply! I was reading older threads on here about using paraloid B-72 resin, but I wanted to see if this skull was actually worth saving. Yeah it reaks to high heavens now that ive washed, so i think I'm just gonna try to find a new one! It sucks because it was my first in my collection but its life lol!
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If it reeks .. of what? Rot or mold .. dirt? It's pretty far gone but peroxide will whiten it and also kill off a lot of what is causing the odor. The other thing you can try, put it in a container that will hold it entirely. Go and get 3 gallons of straight ammonia (not expensive). Pour that over the skull and then fill the rest of the container with hot water to cover the skull completely. Let it sit for a week like that and see if it has improved. If it needs more, let it sit longer. After a couple of weeks try soaking it, rinsing in hot water for a while and then try peroxide. That may dissolve out a lot of embedded gunk and save on your peroxide later.
     
  5. If you decide to keep the skull and want to seal it, I would also recommend Minwax water-based clear sealant. It comes in flat, satin and gloss and IMO looks no worse than paraloid and can be had at most any hardware store (I'd go for flat unless you want the skull to have a glossy sheen). You would only need a small can (not the spray on sealer) to do a skull this size. I'm no fan of sealing skulls (I hate the plastic-y look) but there are times when it needs to be done for stabilization.