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Protecting Antlers

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Kollin, Jul 13, 2021.

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  1. Kollin

    Kollin New Member

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    Is there any cure-all method for protecting antlers from loosing color and/or absorbing liquid throughout the maceration or degrease process? I have some skulls that are stubborn and end up degreasing for several months. After sitting in water for that long the antlers tend to lose color, absorb liquids, and start to smell. I’ve tried the cheap makeup artist liquid latex from Amazon and had a terrible experience. Ended up left with 6 heads that had to have liquid latex pressure washed off…. However, I’ve talked with a few people that have had luck with it. I also came across a thread where some one mentioned using silicone. I tried it on only one head and after a week the silicone seemed to have separated from the antler and allowed moisture up behind it. I went ahead and pulled all that off (came off awesome) to prevent the STANK from happening.

    If I try latex again, it will be the latex 74 just because from what ive read it is equivalent to 4-5 coats of the makeup artist latex… any help on this subject is much appreciated!
     
  2. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

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    I've tried several things as well with little to no luck. losing color isn't an issue I can touch that up no problem, the smell takes some time. I've had limited success with wrapping the bases with plastic wrap and waterproof tape.
     
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  3. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I for one don't worry about it. I do them in batches and it takes very little time or effort to recolor them. I've tried many of the things folks talk about and none worked with less effort than doing nothing.
     
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  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Are you heating the water to 120 degrees? What are you using to remove grease? Most times Dawn works fine but stubborn things respond to strong ammonia added .. or straight ammonia. Acetone is impractical for anything with antlers due to issues putting the rack in a sealed container.

    Latex worked best on a dry antler that was wiped down with acetone first. Many coats to get a good layer. The effort and materials weren't worth it and I don't coat them with anything when macerating. Very little to nothing happens to antlers in 2 weeks time submerged. Recoloring and touch ups are not difficult to do once you have practiced a bit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
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  5. SeanSr30

    SeanSr30 Member

    He said degrease for several months, I had to reread it too!
     
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  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    My bad. I also missed that.
     
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  7. Kollin

    Kollin New Member

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    How do you recolor your antlers?
     
  8. Kollin

    Kollin New Member

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    I do heat my water to 115-120. I use ammonia in the buckets along with dawn. Just a handful of skulls that have stubborn grease spots. Unfortunately I end up losing quite a bit of antler color during this time when they take months. Was just trying to see if anyone had found the secret sauce yet. I usually use potassium permanganate to recolor and touch up with a wood stain pen. Sometimes it works out great and other times it’s a pain to match. Any recommendations on recoloring?
     
  9. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I like the antler paint kit that pinchback offers through MK now but I use to use minwax stain.
     
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I assume you are not trying to keep the lower jaws and that your issues are in the area over and around the eyes/forehead?
     
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  11. Kollin

    Kollin New Member

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    Exactly! Right under eye sockets and in the forehead seem to be my stubborn spots.

    Side question: anybody ever try to use paraloid on antlers before degreasing to keep the color?
     
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Ok. Possibly your problem is iron staining from pooled blood, not grease. This happens especially in deer that are hung upside down with the head still on for days before the head is removed. Sometimes a neck shot will fill the head with blood as well. This can create a stain even though the skull is macerated. If what you are seeing is at all colored, it is probably from blood.

    Try this experiment. Look in a hardware store in with the cleaning stuff for a product called "Iron Out". Ideally it should be powdered but I don't know if they still make it in that form. There is also a post on here, I think by Toxic or Cyclone, that pinpointed which one it was as there was more than one type at the time. Find that and make a solution of it in a bucket. 4 gallons of warm water and maybe a few tablespoons of the stuff dissolved in the water. Try soaking the skull for 24 hours and see if the coloring disappears. If it does, rinse it well in a few changes of water and let it dry. Do NOT put it back in peroxide after doing this. If that was the problem, the stains come back worse than before. This was a worst case scenario. Scroll through all the photos.https://www.taxidermy.net/threads/169079/

    As for paraloid and antlers, I haven't tried that. It is a resin sealer and shouldn't loosen or react. After you are done, if the antlers are shiny, rub it down with acetone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
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