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Acetone To Dry And Degrease Birds?

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by buffalobill20, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    Hey all. I know this is hotly contested but I stopped using mineral spirits because it takes forever to evaporate.

    I read of acetone being used by museum taxidermists to degrease and speed up drying .

    I am unclear as to whether they cause the feathers to frizz up and not fall in place or not. I haven’t tried yet but I read mixed. Some say those who had issues post-acetone wash, didn’t clean out salt or dirt properly, some say it strips oils and screws feathers.

    i have a lot of birds lol like over 40 and more so I am wondering how to speed up drying. I use corn grit and such but maybe something faster lol. My pile of birds keeps on growing by the week and there are just too many haha
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    And some say it is not needed at all.
     
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  3. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    Lol haha I know it isn’t necessary. I just have a lot of birds and am trying to figure how to mass skin and degrease and dry them. The carcasses grow every week.
     
  4. bhart

    bhart New Member

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    Sometimes you may want to change your corn girt if its old. I would watch acetone on thin skin birds as it tends to dry the skin out faster but most ducks should be fine just instead of mineral spirits use acetone at that step in your washing process.
     
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  5. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    just water rinse take the extra time and keep your health dont be ststststupid
     
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't be using acetone for degreasing. I would use a wire wheel and Dawn for degreasing and the acetone for water displacement for faster drying of the feathers. That is what gas, Colman Fuel, acetone and such is for, water displacement, not degreasing. It may have some degreasing effect, however, I wouldn't count on it for total degreasing.
     
  7. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    You tried a tumbler? I also spin my birds out in a washing machine after the final rinse which saves a lot of time trying to dry them.
     
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  8. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Don't use acetone. One little static electricity spark, and your shop is gone, and hopefully you wouldn't go with it. Budget you time, and you will do better work. Spend 45 minutes with a hair dryer on each bird. No dirty corn grit, no dangerous chemicals. The plumage will come out magnificent. I blow dry all my turkeys. It takes about an hour per bird, but the end results are well worth it. After washing, I spin them dry as Jim recommended, blot with a fluffy dry towel, then blow them dry.
     
  9. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    If time is your issue you may want to quit taking in until you get caught up. Drying birds takes time, regardless of method.

    I use mineral spirits. After the soak I roll them in a towel. Then I blow them out with an air compressor just to separate all the feathers. Then it goes into the tumbler, which in my case is a concrete mixer. While it's tumbling, I get the body, neck and whatever else ready. Out of the tumbler I hit it with the air compressor again to blow out excess grit. This is all done outside. I bring it in the shop, borax and dry with a shop vac. Average time from out of gas to finished dry on a mallard is about 45 minutes.

    Something else you can try is after your final wash, wring as much water out as you can. Put necking material in, invert wings and wrap paper towels around the ulna radius, then put paper towels in the body and roll up tightly in a towel. You can leave it like that for hours, I've put them in the fridge like that for 2 days before. Once you unroll and remove the necking and paper towels you can dry a mallard in about 20 minutes without even gassing.

    Sounds like time management/ availability is your issue. The process takes time.
     
  10. bucksnort10

    bucksnort10 Well-Known Member

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    Brooke, do you use quikrete as your tumbler medium in your concrete mixer? ;)
     
  11. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    First, as others have mentioned, don't confuse the degreasing with the water displacement that the "gas soak" accomplishes. Wheeling, scissoring and scraping breaks up the fat/grease. Multiple Dawn bathes removes the fat/grease. Numerous rinses removes the dawn. I use Coleman fuel as my last step to displace the water and to remove any left over fat/grease residuals. I wrap the wet skins in a towel to remove excess water for a little while. Then into the gas soak for a short while. Squeeze out the excess and the wrap in another dry towel. Then boraxed and hand dried with a reversed shop vac.

    I don't use a concrete tumbler with quikrete like Brooke does. Jeeez have you seen how her birds look? JK

    I think Brooke hit the nail on the head - time management and a system/routine
     
  12. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Funny Dan. Really Barry?

    Just regular old corn cob grit from Home Depot.
     
  13. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    I think I have to change my grits haha. Just got a bulk bag recently. I actually want to ask you... when the skins get too dry, what do you do? I have had skins get too dry because I overwashed with detergent or use to naptha it in the past.
     
  14. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    yeah, upon further reading of the replies and a bit of thinking. I won’t use any solvents.

    I will opt for grit amd good old hairdryer for now. I am sure i can line them up so they blow all at once lol.

    hAve u ever used potato starch for drying?
     
  15. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    I I haven’t used a tumbler but I have kinda improvised one. Basically I will fill a plastic bag with corn grits and add skins into there.



    How long usually it takes? I think it is a worthy investment at this point lol. Also have u ever tried potato starch? It seems finer and might be kinder on feathers . I get a touch anxious (i am new lol) when i look at my grits and see a few feathers broken off. I know it isn’t a big deal but some of the birds I have are small and the skin is quite delicate so I am not sure if there is anything a bit lighter and easier on the feathers than fine grits
     
  16. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    yeah, after reading some replies and thinking more about it. I won’t be using solvents anymore lol.

    I tried a few weeks ago and tbh i felt a bit dizzy even though i was outside. Not worth it.

    i will probs try tumbling instead and blowdrying the rest. By any chance what are your thoughts on grits and potato starch?

    the birds i handle are usually small like warblers and robins and doves... i use fine corn grits in a shoebox but i always find a bit of feathers broken off. I know uts normal to lose a fee festhers but i wonder uf there is anything lighter like potato starch. The skins are pretty delicate and feathers too.

    some of them j just blowdry but also wonder if the air is too much lol. I am quite new so excuse my beginner worrying s haha
     
  17. buffalobill20

    buffalobill20 Member

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    11
    He
    yeah, after reading some replies and thinking more about it. I won’t be using solvents anymore lol.

    I tried a few weeks ago and tbh i felt a bit dizzy even though i was outside. Not worth it.

    i will probs try tumbling instead and blowdrying the rest. By any chance what are your thoughts on grits and potato starch?

    the birds i handle are usually small like warblers and robins and doves... i use fine corn grits in a shoebox but i always find a bit of feathers broken off. I know uts normal to lose a fee festhers but i wonder uf there is anything lighter like potato starch. The skins are pretty delicate and feathers too.

    some of them j just blowdry but also wonder if the air is too much lol. I am quite new so excuse my beginner worrying s haha
     
  18. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    If you dont like "dirty" corn cob grit, then you are using the wrong stuff.... get the grit used for polishing brass for reloading... nice and clean,different sizes..... and you still need to change once in a while so it doesnt get "dirty"... or maybe your birds arent clean enough and getting your cob "dirty"....
     
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  19. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    When my skins get too dry while I'm working with them, I spray the skin with water from a spray bottle. I use a paint brush to "paint" water on the skin when I get close to the edge near the feathers.
     
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  20. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    As Tanglewood said. Any time a skin starts to dry just spritz it with water or use a paint brush to brush some on. Bird skins rehydrate quickly.
     
    wa and buffalobill20 like this.