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Wolf Skull Needs Further Degreasing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by TheObserver, Dec 30, 2022.

  1. Hey everybody,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

    My Wolf skull is in need of some more degreasing for sure. So far from researching on the threads (as much as time allows me) I think I am going to go with 1 of 2 options to degrease, based on what the consensus is here. Also want to run these questions by everybody to make sure I am doing this safe, hearing from others who use these methods.

    The first I have decided on is a heated solution of water and odourless/colourless dawn to 115F. With potentially some regular strength Ammonia added in.

    The second option I have in mind is pure Ammonia 10%.

    I don't have anywhere inside to ventilate, and I can't stink the garage up with powerful fumes (living with the old man after his accident and while I go to school). Also can not have the garage exposed to a lot of condensation and everything getting damp. So I can probably only do this outside.

    I live in the pacific northwest Fraser Valley BC Canada and it doesn't get very cold here but can go below 0°C forsure.

    Just wondering if I heat outside to 115°F with bucket heater do you find it stays a steady temperature well?

    And some questions I have if I were to go the ammonia route:

    1) If I were do the 10% ammonia would I dilute or keep it pure?

    2) How strong are the fumes if I do not heat it does it still need ventilation?

    3) I also read about keeping the surface of the ammonia covered with bubble wrap or ping pong balls because of evaporation?

    4) And one more thing with this method is it not a good idea to do outside this time of year as in being too cold (From reading I understand removing grease and cold do not mix)

    Also it seems difficult to find a good aquarium heater to go that high, seen the threads about how to make them go higher but seems like it would be risky for me to not screw it up. Seen sou vide heater as well but the best/easiest thing I found so far is this "inkbird temperature controller itc-308" and "Kingwork UL 1500W Bucket Water Heater" they seem compatible but not sure about outside in the cold how they'll fair (Bucket heater i'm sure will be good to go). If anyone has got a good system for heating up to 120°F i'm all ears.

    Thanks in advance everybody, and if there are any links to make it easier or tutorials to point me in the right direction feel free to just post that, I just want to make sure I do things right from now on and don't waste time or potentially damage any more of my kills or finds! Glad I found this site, and I stopped doing everything wrong earlier than I should of.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2022
  2. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    I bought the inkbird and a 1500w bucket heater. I think the inkbird was only rated for 1000w and something went wrong.
    It worked for a while, then stuck on, then was not reliable.
    Maybe I cooked it, maybe it was faulty. Not sure.
    I ended up just using it as a thermometer and ran the heater once or twice daily to maintain the temp.

    I cut a small hole in the bucket lid and wrapped the bucket with insulation. Very little evaporation with the lid on and all wrapped up.
    I ran it in my garage, then in shop when it got colder.

    I'll get a different heater or controller for future projects.
    I haven't tried ammonia, but think I will on a bear I am messing with now. 20220809_192301.jpg

  3. I just found a thread earlier today about a tutorial on rigging up your own thermostat and I think I am going to try that.

    Cool man good idea! I may actually be able to do that in the old mans garage thanks for sharin that!

    I am really interested in the strong ammonia but I haven't found a thorough explanation on it, and how to make sure i'm doing it safely. I'm going to keep searching through old threads and hoping a vet with the process can chime in here.

    Here is that link if you want to try the heating way I am, sure sounds like it works good maybe you have seen it:

  4. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks, that's a good post. I read through some of it.
    Might try something like that.

    Good luck with your wolf!
  5. paskull

    paskull Member

    I only use pails heater 115F with down, I’m in northern Ontario and get really cold here
    I have this pail heater going on without issue for the last 2 years
    Easy way to degrees 8AFEE5A7-0603-45B2-8BE5-B8D914EAB68C.jpeg
    Jordan Gobel and Jean M like this.
  6. That looks like a great/easy way to heat, do you just set the temp right on the dial there and plug it in and your good to go? What is the make of those?
    paskull likes this.
  7. paskull

    paskull Member

    Yup just set the temperature
    I have been macerated and degreasing with them for the longest time at -30 on my non heated garage I just put som insulation around the pail CE377900-5672-4BEF-94E0-FB66FFC9A3A5.png
    TheObserver likes this.
  8. These look great! Definitely scrapping what I was going to do and picking up one of these! Thank you!
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    The wrap around bucket heaters will be the next thing I experiment with once I destroy a few more heaters. As for the ammonia, I have used at least 4 cups of it in a 5 gallon bucket. I have also used it at about a 50/50 dilution. It is safe and, as the buckets are covered, there is no odor and little to no condensation from evaporating water. No fumes as I have had these buckets in the house and it certainly would have been noticed. I would not heat straight ammonia. It can damage the metal components of the heater. If you are doing a wolf, the bucket lid should fit fine. You do not need bubble wrap or ping pong balls. You do need to insulate your container though. You really do not have to go any higher that 115 degrees for a wolf and they are not that greasy. Can you show some pictures of what you are seeing?
  10. They look awesome, got one on order should be here Friday or Monday.

    Yep here it is as of tonight, looks a bit like a fast food paper bag hahah, everything else though I am quite pleased with just got to get rid of the grease spots.

    Attached Files:

  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    That is grease. Odd as they are not normally a greasy animal. Have you run a bent wire through the hollow of the lower jaw on each side to drag out any material stuck in there? You might want to just let it sit in 50/50 ammonia with no heat for a month or two. Room temp will be fine if you bring it into the house. That might also be a candidate for acetone. Cover it with acetone in a bucket, put a lid on the bucket and just set it aside for a couple of months. Don't heat it but you don't want it sitting out in the cold either. I have a bucket of it with some fish bones in it right now inside the house. It's safe. I don't have any kids that would mess with it. If you have kids ... maybe the garage if it is heated? After it sits in acetone for a while, if it still shows signs of grease, try the detergent again. I have found that sitting in acetone for a while does remove some grease but also somehow alters the remaining grease so the detergents work on it better.
    Vulpes Vulpes likes this.
  12. That's what i've read that they usually aren't that greasy but this guy sure was. No I haven't but I seen a few videos on Wolf skulls after the it dried and they were doing that so i'm definitely going to be running something through there I think there are 2 more similar holes on the upper part as well, I got some pipe cleaners and bare metal wire.

    Okay thanks for the tips really appreciate it! I was thinking it may need something stronger like ammonia or acetone because the back end of the lower just is just saturated almost has like a translucentness to it, i'll post back some pics with the end results for anyone interested!
  13. I got the pail heater now, with that amount of grease do you think I should even bother with the heated water + dawn? Or just go straight for the ammonia or acetone? With the ammonia I want to make sure I have a sealed lid correct?
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    As it has been such a problem, try ammonia first. In a 5 gallon bucket try about 8 cups of ammonia. After a week or two give it a look. If it is still there you can go as high as 50/50 with the ammonia but that is a bit much. See if you can get the 10% ammonia from the hardware store. Positively more fierce that the stuff from the grocery store. I would cover the bucket just to keep from smelling the ammonia and to prevent evaporation. You can snap the lid on if you like. It doesn't generate gas like peroxide. If you try acetone, you only really need enough to cover it with some to spare. Lid on tight as it is very volatile and do NOT heat it. Treat it like gasoline and you will be fine. Also, do not put it from acetone into peroxide without it sitting and drying for at least 24 hours.
  15. Okay, thank you for the info it is much appreciated!
  16. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Acetone is a last resort. If you do go for it, let it sit in acetone for at least a month and check it. If it seems to have made some progress, put it back for another month and then maybe try the detergent again. You can leave the skull in acetone for months and no harm will be done to the bone. Acetone will affect the grease and oils only, nothing else.
    TheObserver likes this.
  17. I put it in Ammonia last week for a week and just changed the Ammonia for fresh stuff, doing 1 more week in it now.

    Here is what it pulled out after a couple of days in the Ammonia, it was clear when it went in of course;

    Attached Files:

    landdepot likes this.
  18. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    It is always a good thing to not waste materials. You could have probably let that sit in the ammonia for a few weeks. The water was dirty, but a lot more would have been pulled out by that same solution. Unless you have grease pooling on the top, I would say that the solution is still working.
    landdepot and Vulpes Vulpes like this.
  19. Okay, no definitely not into wasting kind of guy. It cost me 5 or 10 bucks a bottle too so wasn't cheap i'll keep that in mind for next time.

    I think i'm going to take it out of the ammonia on Monday, that will be two weeks. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry and see what it looks like for residual grease, I will run a wire through the holes in the lower jaw and around the eye socket too for the stuff in there that could be giving off grease.
  20. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If not chunks of fat, could also be bits that will start to smell ... and attract bugs.