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Help With Horns

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by erin andersen, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. erin andersen

    erin andersen New Member

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    Hi everyone! I have a question about a skull in cleaning. I removed the horn casings (this is a cow skull) and soaked them to remove smell and tissue, and boiled the skull...now I can’t get the casings to slide all the way back onto the bases of the horns. I made sure they are going onto the correct sides :). Is the only option to cut off some of the actual bases? Thank you in advance! What a learning process!
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Yep. Horns do not always fit back the way they were due to shrinkage. You can try soaking the actual horns to see if it helps but it is just easier to cut the horn cores in half and be prepared to sand or file them a bit to get the horn caps to fit properly.
     
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  3. erin andersen

    erin andersen New Member

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    Thank you so much! I was so sad when I tried to fit them back on! I am giving the soaking a try, but have a feeling it won’t help. I packed baking soda paste in them to get rid of the smell and wondered if that wasn’t why they weren’t fitting, but I guess it doesn’t matter if I have to cut them down because I don’t plan on removing the horns once they are on again anyway :). Thank you again!
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You might find that, when you cut them in half, you open up the interior and find a lot of nasty crap. They are hollow and full of a bloody mess when fresh. If you boiled the skull, this tissue will now be cooked inside and it will eventually smell, decompose and attract insects if you do not remove it.
     
  5. erin andersen

    erin andersen New Member

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    That’s good to know! Thank you! I have the insides of the actual horns cleaned out and I’ve boiled the skull..it needs a little more work so I’ll make sure to check that when I’m working on it. Thank you!
     
  6. skullclnr

    skullclnr Active Member

    cut the cores, like terry said you may be shocked whats inside, all you need is about 6-10 inches of core at most, then soak the caps on the first 15 inches or so in BOILING water for a few min. take them out, align and you may have to pop the horn on the ground a little or use a rubber mallet to push back on. long horns steers and such should be soft enough to ge ton fairly easy like this. if they go on, you can remove, put back in water while you mix up bondo or you can simply leave on or put a screw in the back to hold the horn cap on.
     
  7. erin andersen

    erin andersen New Member

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    Thank you so much for the information! I really had no idea..I thought removing the horns and cleaning the insides as well as boiling would get rid of all of that nastiness..I had no idea I would have problems later on! Is there a way to get rid of the mess inside once I have cut them?
     
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If you boiled the skull, possibly simmer it a little longer with the addition of a small amount of baking soda. Do not over boil it a second time. Boiling and simmering (cooking) will ruin the bone. You probably could also use a pressure washer in the hollows of the cores. Boiling will have left flesh bits in other places as well deep inside. It would not hurt to try and soak this in peroxide for a day or so to try and dissolve some of it out.
     
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  9. erin andersen

    erin andersen New Member

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    Thank you! I will definitely try that!