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Deer Skull Degreasing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Derrick Bentley, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    Hi All,

    I have some deer skulls that’s I’m working on (for myself, not for customers) I’m relatively new to it and have been using beetles for the last 4 months, the colony seems to be up to a good size now and can work through a skull in 3-4 days. There are still some scraps here and there that they leave behind but they are doing a pretty good job. I use a bucket heater in a 5 gallon bucket with a temperature controller set to 120F with a little water pump to circulate. I use blue dawn (about 1/4 cup) and occasionally add some ammonia (about a cup) I change the water every couple days at the start when grease floats at the top and then every 4-5 days when it’s just cloudy. The mule in the pictures was in for about 3 weeks total when I pulled it out as the water was staying clear for 3-4 days. I did brush on some 40 volume and basic white powder, then plastic wrap and let it sit for a day then put it in the over at 170f for 45 mins to get some heat to it.

    You can see in the pictures, some are when the skull is wet and others are when it is dry over night.

    Does it look like there is just some more grease that needs to come out or am I missing something?

    Does someone have a picture of what the water and skull should look like when it is ready to come out of the degreasing bucket? 0229C7AE-3615-40FD-BB2A-00515D4F25E5.jpeg DD201950-3114-4D44-9C3A-4E08E8FD96E6.jpeg 26669937-C2FC-4BBA-AC5C-F5780CA2AC89.jpeg EF513871-F49C-4D27-BCBC-7C9A6131134E.jpeg 109C2E25-591A-445C-BD03-948EF29C4E41.jpeg 73709F68-F088-4CB5-82B8-DE5DCF97B5C2.jpeg E4B45964-300D-4BC1-A935-CE3EDA6D4D4E.jpeg 7AC7E138-9845-41A6-86B9-6ACDE2995151.jpeg



    0229C7AE-3615-40FD-BB2A-00515D4F25E5.jpeg DD201950-3114-4D44-9C3A-4E08E8FD96E6.jpeg 26669937-C2FC-4BBA-AC5C-F5780CA2AC89.jpeg EF513871-F49C-4D27-BCBC-7C9A6131134E.jpeg 109C2E25-591A-445C-BD03-948EF29C4E41.jpeg 73709F68-F088-4CB5-82B8-DE5DCF97B5C2.jpeg E4B45964-300D-4BC1-A935-CE3EDA6D4D4E.jpeg 7AC7E138-9845-41A6-86B9-6ACDE2995151.jpeg
     
  2. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    Here are some pics of a little WT that is in the bucket now. 45A9410A-8B12-4B1E-8642-B3E287B721EF.jpeg 8C7C3F8E-73CC-4721-8B25-ECCCD87D2FC1.jpeg
     

  3. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    And this was him in with the beetles. B53071A4-FE33-4E4B-9375-63A26F2D423F.jpeg 91B33BB8-D7FD-44AD-8796-874ED92E0A0B.jpeg 2F58A98F-6AFC-44DA-97B7-FF932CAC804A.jpeg
     
  4. blindluck

    blindluck Member

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    You still have more grease to get out, more time will do the trick
     
  5. blindluck

    blindluck Member

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    Was your skull frozen for awhile? the last pic on the degreasing bucket looks like it isn’t a fresh skull. If so, it will take more time to degrease then a fresh one
     
  6. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    Yes, they have been frozen since November with the hide on still. Should I pull hide off and brain out before freezing?
     
  7. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    Yes, they have been frozen since November with the hide on still. Should I pull hide off and brain out before freezing?
     
  8. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    I had about 10 todo and really only setup todo 1 at a time
     
  9. blindluck

    blindluck Member

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    It might might not make a difference either way if you’re going to freeze it for a few months. It does seem to set the blood to the point of almost staining the bone when frozen for any length of time.You should still get great results, just longer time in the degreaser
     
  10. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    should I try the iron out? I think I can only get the liquid form here in Calgary?
     
  11. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    should I try the iron out? I think I can only get the liquid form here in Calgary?
     
  12. blindluck

    blindluck Member

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    I’ve never had to use iron out, I’m sure once you’re fully Degreased and use a nice high strength peroxide you’ll have a great finished product
     
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    They are still greasy. Don't worry too much about the appearance of the water. You might want to try letting them sit in a strong solution of just ammonia for a while, no detergent. They will all be different for many reasons. Not only how healthy the animal was in life but storage by various methods as you have discovered.
     
  14. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

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    Look greasy to me. I'd try heated, 115deg, 10% ammonia if you can find any. Be careful that stuff is stout, make sure you have good ventilation. Soak it for at least a week, 7 days.

    If you try iron out, I'd only let the skull sit for about 15 min, then wash off and let completely dry. Do NOT heat iron out.
     
  15. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    Here is my new degreasing setup to help speed up my process F33D2F15-F61C-4AC2-8323-56318C4D5B00.jpeg 5896A4E8-40DA-4F5B-9D58-45B1675B5A85.jpeg
     
    Vulpes Vulpes likes this.
  16. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Those cast off chemical tanks can be a nice bonus if you get your hands on one. One of the few things a full moose skull will fit into. The addition of the cross pieces was smart.
     
  17. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    Got it for free and was able to reuse the cross piece from the top half that I cut off.
     
  18. where can i get high strength peroxide and 10% ammonia
     
  19. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Beauty supply places like Sally's. Ask for 40 Volume, clear liquid. Pool and spa supply places will have Baquacil, Pool Mate or similar. Ask for the peroxide shock for Non Chlorinated pools. 10% ammonia will be in the hardware store.
     
  20. Derrick Bentley

    Derrick Bentley New Member

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    Ammonia is a challenge to find in Canada due to its use in making meth..... I found a taxidermy supply place that sells high strength HYdrogen Peroxide, I believe the hydroponic supply places also sell food grade HP as well.