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Wolf Skull Needs Further Degreasing

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

  1. Pulled him out of the ammonia, still super greasy. Maybe because of the simmer? Or just super greasy animal or a combo? Regardless I will more than likely never simmer again.

    Think I should give him an acetone treatment? Unfortunately the lower jaw fell in two when it was soaking for two weeks so i'll have to glue that back together, along with some teeth in the future i'm sure (none have fallen out.... yet)

    One thing I will say about the ammonia is did it every eat away any flesh/bits that I missed with the scalpel, WOW! It worked for pulling grease but the grease is so bad still maybe need something stronger
  2. Here it is

    Attached Files:

    paskull likes this.

  3. paskull

    paskull Member

    Are you heating it
    At what temperature
  4. I did heat it, it was probably around 100°F, I didn't check it because of the ammonia smell and didn't want to keep dipping my thermometer in the ammonia, ammonia was mixed with a bit of water to just cover the skull, 6% ammonia
  5. paskull

    paskull Member

    Did you ad Dow too
    Im doing a grizzly skull myself too that’s has been boiled
    I’m only using 2.5% ammonia at 112F
    Is being only 2 days and I can see the grease floating to the top
  6. No I didn't add any dawn, just the ammonia. Yeah mine had a lot of grease in what was the clear liquid. I could have left it in longer but still so much grease after two weeks thinking maybe a round of acetone
    paskull likes this.
  7. paskull

    paskull Member

    Awesome thanks
    I’m thinking 3 weeks for my bear
    I’m using the dow method right now but I’ll be switching to the ammonia
    Faster turnaround on degreas
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    The wolf is really super greasy so don't be in a rush. You are looking at weeks of sitting to get this clean, not days. Don't worry about the lower jaw coming apart. It should because all the material in the joint has been removed. Very easy fix with Elmer's Glue and a rubber band. As you are not using straight ammonia and it is a weaker percentage, keep it heated for the duration. Don't worry about changing it but just make sure it stays submerged. Just let it sit for at least three weeks before even poking at it to check. Save all your loose teeth to replace later. You can set the teeth and glue everything in place at once and that way, all the teeth fit together properly.
    paskull likes this.
  9. Your welcome, I hear they can be the greasiest of game. I'm thinking of trying to take one for the freezer this spring, it'd be my first Bear so we'll see how bad the grease is, I know one thing for sure I won't be simmerin lol
  10. Yeah he is! Okay, how is that elmers glue (atually already bought a bottle couple months ago) if you do a paraloid/acetone coating later down the road, does it still hold/perform well if you do that?

    Sounds good i'll go grab some more ammonia tomorrow, the 6 percent if I do it straight this time should I heat it a bit too? It'll be in an air tight bucket
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Heating it *might* help but it will also increase the fumes. Might have to put a blanket or something over the container so you aren't smelling ammonia. Just don't seal it tight. Leave a gap for it to keep air pressure equal. I use acetone to dissolve the paraloid as the skulls dry faster. I do notice that the dried Elmer's turns white when the acetone hits it but it dries clear again. I have not yet tried dissolving it in alcohol so I'm not sure what the glue does in alcohol exposure. Alcohol is a lot cheaper and safer to use than acetone. I just use it because of the faster dry time. The glue is not compromised in any way as your exposure time in the bucket is mere seconds. Just make sure that the glue is fully dried and cured before coating it. All you need to do is dunk the whole skull into the dissolved resin and let it drip dry.
  12. Okay what is the reasoning for not sealing it tight? I sealed it tight while I put it in the bucket with ammonia. Does it prohibit it from working as well? Won't be the fumes be extremely strong if not sealed shut? When I was poaring the ammonia in the bucket I had to go grab my full face respirator it was getting pretty bad so I sealed it shut.

    Will do thanks! I'm not sure if I will seal the Wolf, but I mentioned in another thread about a Blacktail I got with my bow and a big Mulie and Moose I found all of them were simmered in a bit of bleach and water before I knew better so I will be sealing those in paraloid forsure (got another Mulie but I think i'll keep that one as an experiment too see how much the bleach affects it over time).
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Only to make it easy to keep the air pressure equal in and out. The lid should be on it but just leave one part of the lid not snapped on tight. Should not be smelling any fumes doing that. In case of any gas buildup, the lid will not be popping off and releasing a quantity of gas or worse, the bucket splitting if there are any weak areas in the plastic.
  14. Okay, I will be putting it in ammonia bath today, straight 6% i'll keep it in for 3 weeks and i'll post an update then!! Thanks!
    Sea Wolf likes this.
  15. Just took him out after another 3 weeks of heated (this time straight) ammonia, it got better but still some stubborn grease spots.

    Attached Files:

  16. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    That is really bizarre. Someone must have been feeding it donuts or something. Give it another week and make sure your temp is at least 115 degrees. Use another temp probe to make sure and check in different areas. The water in the container possibly isn't as warm as you think it is. Try stirring the water to mix it all evenly and check the temp. If it is cold, you could try turning the heat up or even buying a small, cheap water pump for one of those indoor decorator fountains. I bought one at a yard sale for a dollar and pulled it apart to get the pump inside. You might be able to get a suction cup at a craft store, secure the pump to it and stick it to the bottom of the container. The object is to keep the water moving around so the temp is the same everywhere. If you want to spend the money on it, you might want to try a soak for a few weeks in straight acetone. That won't get all of it out but it also seems to do something to the grease remaining so, when you put it back in the ammonia/detergent mix the rest of it comes out. This thing is being a bugger. Going to look really nice with the grease out though. This is a great example of what grease does when cooked into the bone too. Sometimes, being all about quick and fast doesn't end up with the best result.
  17. Definitely never simmering again!

    What do you think the next best move is? Acetone, or just go straight to water and dawn at 115°F?

    The pure 6% ammonia I just had it in is still in the pale as well looking pretty merky though
  18. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Acetone is expensive and you may want to wait. I'd try the Dawn water again for a bit but tweak the temp up to 120. Normally, you wouldn't really need this high but the grease was cooked and the higher temp may work better.
  19. Great Skulls

    Great Skulls Well-Known Member

    Is it totally dry in those photos?

    I'm worried that the non-greasy bone might be getting damaged.

    If it really is greasy (i.e., dry and still looking like that), then I recommend two approaches: 1) If you are in a hurry (e.g., if this is a customer's piece) then you can put a few drill holes in strategic places and put back in ammonia or dawn. If this were my skull, I'd do 2) dry it (slowly so it doesn't crack), glue the teeth with elmers, put it on my shelf for a year or two or more and then degrease later. That will let more of the grease come to the surface and it will be easier to clean down the road.
  20. This is what I was thinking to do just try the dawn and water heated, i'll go to 120°F. I have a couple devices to monitor the temperature so I can make sure it is held at 120°F. Do you recommend a water circulator? Or just mix the water/soap daily?