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European Mount Pricing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Jean M, Dec 1, 2022.

  1. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Locally the price range seems to be between 80-200 for a skull mount.

    I certainly wouldn't consider pricing any skull in the 80 dollar range!
    I'm just not sure what others would consider a fair price for a decent quality bear or deer skull. (Not trying to start a debate about what that exactly means)
    My skulls are not museum quality specimens.

    I just know how much effort went into degreasing the last couple bear skulls that I completed. That cost of time, materials, electricity, can not be given away.
    I am thinking 150 for deer and 200 on bear. (Cdn$)

    Anyone willing to share their pricing?
     
  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    $125 on deer, bear are based on skull size. 175-250 on black bear.
     
    tem and Jean M like this.

  3. moonshine

    moonshine Active Member

    I get $225 for a whitetail euro on a plaque
     
    tem and Jean M like this.
  4. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    My price is for a hanger only. Plaques start at $30 and up depending on what the customer wants.
     
  5. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the input. Without having done great volumes, It's difficult to pin down exactly how many hours one averages, as degreasing seems to vary widely, bears especially.
    Yeah, I was figuring extra on plaque mounts as well.
    Looks like I was getting into the right price range.
     
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,619
    2,789
    MN
    $250 for deer $300 on bears moose and elk $750. clean and whiten only.
     
    Tanglewood Taxidermy and Jean M like this.
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    #1 is to reduce your costs and time as much as possible. Time is money as well as electricity. I don't know how you clean your skulls but, if you macerate them, you should be turning out high quality specimens. Maceration involves very little time and effort other than the preliminary cleaning the extra flesh off the heads. There is heat involved and containers MUST be insulated somehow to cut down on heat loss/energy consumption. Even degreasing will involve heat. Insulate those containers too. Consider ever bit of heat lost is costing you money. Don't waste materials by dumping degreasing solutions too early. Keep peroxide for many other multiple uses and make sure you are not using too much detergent for degreasing.
     
    Tnrandy, paskull, joeym and 1 other person like this.
  8. moonshine

    moonshine Active Member

    Very good point
     
  9. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Sea Wolf, thanks for your advice. I keep my degreasing bucket completely insulated, it certainly reduces energy loss.
    I am going to source some 27 or 35% peroxide from an ag supply place here, so I can quit using the hair supply products.
    Currently I have been simmering /power washing the bone then degreasing as needed.
    Applying 12% peroxide/powder paste.

    I guess I'll just have to get the respirator on and try maceration.
     
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Powerwashing seems to be fine, until this happens:
    Simmering ends up cooking the bone and breaking down the chemical parts of the bone that hold it together. After a few years (or less) it will start to go to powder and get chalky. That degradation isn't from peroxide use, it's from the simple act of simmering. I simmered for a while. Quit doing it when I had a few damaged ones. Simmering with soda gets a faster removal of tissue but also a rapid destruction of bone. I work with too many things that cost someone some serious money so I turned to maceration. Been doing it for years now and it turns out solid and undamaged specimens. Stuff you want in the house, not nailed to an outside or garage wall. Yeah, there is some bad odor but it isn't 24/7 and only when you are working with the containers. If you set up right, the odor is contained. If you are working with occasional things, the process only takes about 2 weeks to finish and it's easy to hide a single bucket or two. Someone on here (Joey?) said it was the "smell of money". Of any of the cleaning processes, it is the least involved of any of them. They clean themselves and your time is freed up to do something else.
     
    3bears and PA like this.
  11. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,619
    2,789
    MN
    I've cleaned skulls just about every way discussed, including hanging them in a tree inside a sealed bucket with a couple small holes in the bucket. By far the best method to me is maceration, it always works, when I don't need it any more I can just clean my "Rot tank", as we call it and wait til next year, unlike them damn tempermental bugs, or dealing with mites or ham beetles and I can even throw a mummified skull in and it will come out clean, no worries of contaminating a colony with critters. No damaged bone from overheating from simmering. I Live in town and I use a nonworking chest freezer with a tote inside that fits about 5 or 6 skulls depending on what they are. That is heated to about 90 to 94 degrees with a bucket heater on a thermostat. I don't drain off any water unless or until I need to look for teeth in the bottom but have come up with ways to help avoid that.
     
  12. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Sea Wolf, 3bears,
    Thanks for that advice, I respect your experience and willingness to share.
    I worry about the smell staying with the bone and resurfacing later.
    Does the smell of death/money go away during degreasing stage, or a peroxide soak?

    I realize that my pressure washing damages the sinus cavity , but how can you clean out that rotted crud up in there after maceration? It doesn't just dissolve, does it?

    Please do not think I am arguing a case against maceration, just honest questions.
     
  13. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,619
    2,789
    MN
    Yes it goes away during the degreasing and whitening and ultimately the drying, I get a premium price, for my area, and get plenty to do, do you think I would still get them if they stink? In a way I'm competing with people that won't charge half of what I charge. I rinse them out with a garden hose making sure to be gentle on the nasal bones and into the degreasing they go. The whole dam process has an odor, no matter how you do it, wet bone stinks, but once dry that odor dissipates to be undetectable for most humans and then once it is sealed pretty much gone.
     
  14. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    "Would I still get them if they stink?"

    3bears, That's a great point.
    All of these techniques evolved through trial and error, I'd just like to avoid some of the error portion if possible. I like the idea of providing a better service that has predictable results.

    This year we had to submit deer skulls for CWD testing, so most people just hacked the antlers off the skull, so not too many deer heads left to mess with.
    I will try to get some coyote or bear skulls to experiment with. Those will be initially easier to contain than antlered skulls anyway.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
  15. There’s a guy here that can do 18 in a day. I heard he charges $100
     
  16. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Guess I can send folks to him then...
    Not possible for me to skin, prep, clean (by any means) , degrease, whiten, re-assemble teeth and jaws, seal that many skulls in a week.
    I can see how for certain operations, volume is your best friend, where at smaller qty's, efficiency is lost.
     
  17. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    After maceration, done correctly, there isn't anything left but cleaned bone. Look at the photos I have put up in the Tutorials section. Nasals are completely clean with nothing to blow out at all. It is all eaten away by the bacteria. If anything, there might be one, long piece of cartilage near the bottom in the nasal cavity that easily pulls out in one piece on a finished specimen. It's clean enough to eat off of when done and whitened. Clean, white, sterile bone with no odor at all. Once you have removed it from maceration and rinsed it off, even at that point there is little odor. No smell from degreasing as I have several buckets in the house on the floor right now.
     
  18. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    18 in a day would be boiled and full of grease. Will look like absolute crap within a year or two (or sooner) once the grease comes to the surface, yellows and starts growing mold.
     
  19. Boiled, power washed and then peroxide
     
  20. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    That is one of the nice things about maceration. Set it and forget it. Can't be much more efficient than that. To crank out that many skulls, they will be of very low grade. Something you will hang on the garage wall. What you turn out with maceration will be the quality of a museum piece. Bugs too but you have to babysit the bugs even if you have no work for them to do. I use bugs too but limit their work to small delicate things and ligament mounts.

    Nasals in a macerated cougar.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2022