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Boiling Pot?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by skinner26, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. skinner26

    skinner26 Active Member

    I’m looking to have a pot welded up for boiling skulls in. Was wanting to see if anyone has any photos of some they have had built. I was thanking of 30” x 30” x 18” deep with a plug at the top to run off grease. And a plug at the bottom to drain. I do some bison so with a pot this size they would fit good. And I would be able to do a few boar skulls at a time along with deer and other skulls. Any one have any ideas?
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    We don’t boil skulls here it destroys bone and sets in grease. It’s a big no no.
    There’s a lot of info by sea wolf on why!
    Kerby Ross and 3bears like this.

  3. skinner26

    skinner26 Active Member

  4. Great Skulls

    Great Skulls Well-Known Member

    As FEK noted, this forum is populated with people that use methods that result in the highest quality skulls - mostly maceration or beetles.

    There are SOME museum people on here that very very selectively boil or simmer specimens, but, as FEK noted, this method is difficult to do without destroying specimens and thus many of us would be reluctant on advising about it.

    Yes, you can "clean" skulls fast (and fast = cheap in business), but the product is inferior. Remember the adage that with fast/cheap/good you can usually only get two of the three and the experts on here (and any reputable forum) would generally insist on "good" being one of the key criteria for professional work.

    If you insist on fast and cheap then YouTube is FULL of videos of people boiling and or power washing skulls. You can learn a ton from them, and if you want to learn how and why those methods are horrible, you can come back here and read through our archives.

    (Note: we should "pin" those discussions to the top of this forum - "why boiling skulls destroys them")
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    No help on making a pot, but, seeing as you are going to turn out second rate stuff by boiling them anyway, Look for any of those large galvanized pots, cans, watering troughs, tubs etc. Burn off the coating with a run through with just water to start with. It will last a while before you eventually destroy it. As long as you boil with it full of liquid, you won't melt off the solder. Just do not put peroxide in them. Peroxide can only be used with high grade stainless steel. After you have cranked out some greasy skulls. Try macerating or beetles with proper degreasing. The used bins for boiling will be a cheap investment to throw away after.
    msestak, Kerby Ross and Lance.G like this.
  6. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    55 gal drum cut long ways [like a BBQ grill]. Used for my traps and skulls-skull plates. I would not "boil" more of a "simmer' and changed the water, borax, sal soda and DAWN solution a lot, and power wash in between "simmers".
    Used mop-n-glow to seal them.
    Worked well for me.

    ? can you use Ridex the septic tank bacteria for maceration ?
  7. skinner26

    skinner26 Active Member

    I am not new to skull cleaning been going it for about 15 years. Hogs, bear, coyote, bobcat, beaver, deer and others. See that’s the problem with this form. And y a lot are using Facebook anymore over this place. I simply was asking about if anyone had built a pot.

    Attached Files:

  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Nope. Don't add anything. Just water. The bacteria you need is already there just waiting to take over. I did experiments with adding beer, RidX, dog feces and a few other things that people asked about. Either no change at all (meaning a $$ waste of materials) or it actually hindered the process.

    Nothing I do was/is from FB. Over 50 years of skull and bone work and producing specimens for museum collections. Stuff that needs to last as well as look good. Folks here just want you to get a good job done and trample out your competition. FB is for learning a lot of stupid stuff that is just wrong. As for boiling .. forgot about the 55 gallon drum. Good idea though I don't have the means to cut one in half. That still will cause issues with peroxide though. What you are describing sounds like the kettles used for melting wax or other industrial uses. Look at the photos in the pinned post at the top about using peroxide.
  9. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    While boiling "can" be used, it is certainly not the method of producing a quality specimen - museum quality that is. However, when boiling I would certainly stay away from Sal Soda or borax, and even dawn is questionable. Over long periods of degreasing at lower temperatures around 110-120 which is necessary for removal of more saturated fats like those in Cervids, boiling at 212 degrees can have harmful affects on the structure of bone. Sal soda is extremely bad on bone material, with borax second and dawn third in reactivity under boiling conditions.

    Sea Wolf and Great Skulls are both very knowledgeable about osteology and I would agree with 95% of everything I have seen them post. Boiling heads can produce skulls, just an inferior product to either macerations dermestid colony work, combined with maceration, and then proper degreasing.

    I liken the difference i skulls like ways to create a mounted deer head. You can mount one that has the hide properly shaved and tanned, one improperly shaved and tanned, one shaved and with dry preserve, one not shaved and dry preserved, and you can mount one not shaved or even fleshed properly and with no preservative at all. The latter will look good the day you finish it and immediately deliver it to your client. Look at it 5 years later and see if it is even extant.
  10. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Well-Known Member

    I don't see why that wouldn't work. Having a drain in the bottom would be very helpful. When we used to simmer skulls we'd use a big galvanized tub if we had several to do at a time. Draining and changing the water was always a task.
  11. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Then ask fakebook, I bet you will get similar answers from many there.
    msestak likes this.
  12. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Then you have been doing it wrong for 15 years , or should I say producing a lesser grade product for 15 years , as does some on here that call themselves taxidermist, they know the proper steps but don’t know how to use them . To make said product.
  13. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Well-Known Member

    Reading some of these comments makes me wonder why I stayed here when I first joined...I really think the mindset was a little different then. Everyone seemed to be extremely helpful and patient. Instead of criticising or belittling my method of simmering and powerwashing, I was encouraged to try maceration. I don't ever recall feeling like I didn't belong here, but some of these comments would have made me feel that way. The OP asked a simple question, and should have received a simple answer in return.

    It's kind of funny if you think about it...the bug guys think their way is the only true way, the maceration guys think their way is the only way and a lot of people that simmer think their way is the only way.

    Maybe I'm in the minority here, but so far I haven't had a piece end up in a museum...I know several of you have and that is great...currently not one of my goals. My goal is to try and produce the best product I can...this is subjective as well.

    I started maceration last year and this works really well for me and I'd encourage anyone to try it...but sometimes it isn't practical for everyone. My opinion is you need to find what works best for you and your customers.

    When I first joined here I had someone send me their phone number and said to call them with any questions...I took him up on his offer and he offered some very helpful advice, sure wish I remember who that was...Anyway, lighten up, be helpful without being so critical...our goal should be to grow the industry.

    Oh and Facebook is a great resource...apparently some of you don't like it and that's ok. I'm not going to belittle anyone that uses any and all resources available to help them.
  14. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Some of us have a goal of growing this industry but, yet there are some folks that continue to use antiquated or outright bad methods, when there are other less damaging methods to achieve a superior end product, end up hurting the industry. This isn't a hobby for many of us, so yeah we take it serious, when people ask questions about doing, what most of us consider, a less than professional job. Hell, I was on the verge of turning euros down but I had way too many perspective customers contact me because they were burned, literally, by boilers ruining their skulls.
    13 point likes this.
  15. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Well-Known Member

    Well if this site is for professionals only, then maybe it’s needs to be restricted to such. I thought it was a site to help folks and share ideas!
    Glad I got the info I needed when I did.
    Honey the Bean and skinner26 like this.
  16. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    It is not for professionals only, no one ever said that. Here's the problem, this person asked for ideas for doing something that potentially destroys peoples trophies. They are aware of that possibility but refuse to change. That gives our industry a black eye. It is hard to grow this industry when others are hell bent on tearing it down for a quick buck.
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  17. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    Randy, I disagree with your statement "It's kind of funny if you think about it...the bug guys think their way is the only true way, the maceration guys think their way is the only way and a lot of people that simmer think their way is the only way."

    Most people who use maceration believe dermestids are an okay method, and dermestid people agree that maceration works. However, every serious bone guy, with any understanding of the final product, knows that an inferior product comes from boiling - we have all seen that.

    The chemicals one uses also has very detrimental problems on the bone material. We used to have arguments about use of Clorox bleach on bone. 100 years ago it was a valid method, and I will admit back in 1967-1968 I did use boiling and bleach it on a couple skulls, but they had damage that has never ended and a product I am not happy with. The same with Sal Soda, people use it but it breaks down many of the chemicals within the bone leading to visible damage. The bone people here have decades of experience and have handled thousands of heads and carcasses. and they know what works. For some things bugs work and some things maceration works better. Sometimes I use both methods, but for shear time involved dermestids are way faster and produce products unable to be done my maceration. Show me a fully articulated hummingbird skeleton or masked shrew produced by maceration and I will use it full time, but it doesn't work. I will never boil a skull again in my lifetime, I learned it was no good over 50 years ago, so why go backwards.

    Three bears gave you good advice. We wish all people use 'professional methods' because it gives us a product all are proud of and elevates the profession. You can certainly be an amateur and use the right tools.
    3bears likes this.
  18. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Well-Known Member

    This site has been very helpful for me and my son and I'd like for it to remain that way for others trying to turn out a better product. There just have been several comments made on some posts lately that seems to be to harsh, in my opinion, to be helpful. There are always going to be people that "boil" skulls, always have and always will. It's just like with any profession, there are multiple ways to get to the finished product and some are better than others.

    I reread this thread and there are is some helpful advice given, but also some not so helpful. That's all I was trying to say.

    Sorry if I ruffled any feathers, as I've said, this has been a good site for me and I was just trying to help others have the same experience.
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  19. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    At least every one was able to express there self with no name calling [how nice].

    Depends on your resources also, like money, set up, time and how many you do, if a "pro" or hobby Taxidermist.
  20. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Telling the correct way of doing said project , is helping . It is exactly what this sight is about . Blowing smoke up some ones butt and letting them continue to do it incorrectly would be the wrong thing to do . I don’t believe anyone is trying to hurt anyone’s feeling, sometimes the truth hurts . Information is what you take and make of it . You can use it and get better or ignore and fall behind, very simple.
    Honey the Bean, Paskullls and 3bears like this.