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Skull(s) of the week Maceration and Degreasing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Sea Wolf, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Ok. Going to do Wolfwoman proud and try maceration, full strength from start to finish. :) Started first with a coyote skull from a road killed one I picked up. Pictures here are after two weeks in a warm bucket and another week in Dawn/Ammonia. Still have yet to glue everything together. Only a minor fracture in the muzzle and one broken molar. I'll post another picture when it's all back together. No sign of any grease and the bone is nice and smooth.

    The second picture is the next candidate for the bucket. Just before going in. Trimmed most of the flesh off but I didn't try to hard. I am also going to see what happens with the Hyoid bone and Larynx. Will be interesting if I can reconstruct that as well.
     
  2. RDMARTIN53

    RDMARTIN53 Active Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Yote turned out nice for a short time in the bucket.
     

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    It spent two weeks in the bucket, but there was also an aquarium heater in there. I didn't cut off much flesh. Mostly just removed the eyes, brain and tongue. After the first week, I poured the water out. There was no solid flesh at all left and only a small bit of the upper palate still visibly intact. At that point, I probably could have taken it out and scrubbed it but as I was leaving for 8 days in the Allegheny Mountains over Christmas, I put it back and refilled the bucket. When I came back, I poured out the water again and refilled using about a half cup of Dawn and four cups of Ammonia. When I took it out, there was a small bit of white solids here and there that scrubbed off with a toothbrush and detergent. The bone was white, clean and no trace of flesh anywhere. It spent two days in peroxide and now is drying. I will see after that if there is any grease left and needs to go back into the soap/Ammonia solution..

    This bucket is also outside as I don't have any sort of outbuilding or garage to put it in. I set it on a square of that pink foam insulation that they put around foundations. I wrapped the bucket with four or five layers of the large celled bubblewrap in a width that went completely from the very bottom of the bucket (with a little extra) to about three inches above the top. The bucket also had a cover and a square of the pink foam insulation was set on top of all and weighed down. I took the lid off and checked it one day when the temperature outside was about 10 degrees. The water temp inside the bucket was almost 90.
     
  4. RDMARTIN53

    RDMARTIN53 Active Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Your pink foam idea gave me some thoughts on building a degreasing area. Thanks for the motivation. I need a better wash bay/degreasing set-up.
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    I've actually been toying with the idea of cutting the foam and gluing it into a covered box that will just fit one ... maybe two buckets. I can cut the pieces and glue them with silicone. With a solid box made of just this foam I think it would do even a better job of keeping the heat in than the bubblewrap. Plus, it's a pain to unwrap and rewrap the bubble plastic every time I want to work with whatever is in the bucket at the moment.

    The cougar is in the bucket as of today. I'll post pictures in a week. :)
     
  6. Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Lovin' that yote skull! Can't wait to see the other one done. I'm glad you're enjoying maceration. :)
     
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    This is the cougar head after one week in the bucket. Nothing but plain water and the aquarium heater in there. I goofed and deleted a second picture that showed the skull and jaw from above while I was resizing it. The bones were back in the bucket with degreasing stuff by then so I didn't dig it out for another shot. Nasal bones are all nicely cleaned and only a few bits of grease lumps here and there. Nothing at all major. Skull, jawbone and teeth are all back in the bucket with Dawn and Ammonia added for another week.
     
  8. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman $90 for your fur made into trapper hat or mitts!

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Very nice! I've got my cat in a bucket too, but i didn't take ANYTHING off, just dropped it in there.
     
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    For anyone interested, this is the bone bucket in the back yard. It's in the low 20's outside right now and the water temp inside is still holding at 90+. It's a very simple arrangement and seems to do the trick. I have also been thinking of constructing a covered box out of just that pink foam. :)
     
  10. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman $90 for your fur made into trapper hat or mitts!

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Sea Wolf you're killing me...lol I have my cat outside in a metal pot with an aquarium heater and it's been ... oh minus 20 to +30 and it's fine, however, you're probably using less electricity than me :p That insulation needs to go around the base of my trailer! LOL
     
  11. Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Just finished

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Re: Skull(s) of the week

    An old chest freezer makes a good thing to set the degreasing or maceration things in.I use it for when I use acetone but am thinking of doing all my degreasing outside in it.Would also make a good place to sweat off horns.
    A word of CAUTION to anyone using old freezers or refridgerators outside be sure and have a padlock on them so Children or even Bears can't open them.David
     
  13. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman $90 for your fur made into trapper hat or mitts!

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Bears can open ANYTHING :p As can most kids...lol
     
  14. fuzzmeister

    fuzzmeister New Member

    141
    2
    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Sea wolf what type of heater is that on top of the pink insulation?
     
  15. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Heater? Not a heater. That's actually a ceramic dog dish that is upside down on top of the foam as a weight to keep it from blowing away. The heater is in the bucket, telltale wire coming out the back, under the lid. I used one of the run of the mill aquarium heaters. This one isn't one of the shiney titanium ones, just a normal one that has a high heat upper range and came with a protective plastic casing.
     
  16. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman $90 for your fur made into trapper hat or mitts!

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    SeaWolf, I jes luv ya!!! ROFL!!
     
  17. fuzzmeister

    fuzzmeister New Member

    141
    2
    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Sea wolf SORRY I asked
     
  18. Spysar

    Spysar Member

    154
    0
    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Nice buck skull JT.
     
  19. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    Why be sorry? Dog dishes come in handy for lots of things. There's one on the coffee table, inside, full of loose change, small screws, washers and odd things that find they're way into pockets. There's another in the bathroom masquerading as a soap dish with bars of soap ... and another in the computer room that holds loose CDs and DVD discs. :)

    There's even one on the floor with water in it for the dogs to drink out of ... though they usually head for the toilet first. :)
     
  20. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Re: Skull(s) of the week

    The cougar skull has been in a bucket of Dawn and Ammonia for a week. I also kept the water warm with an aquarium heater. Halfway through I poured off the water and made a fresh solution. I'll get pictures posted tomorrow. I want to take it outside as the flash on the camera indoors makes things too bright. So far, I see no signs of grease at all. I have already put it into Peroxide for two days. It looks really good. This was apparently an older animal as the lower jaw is still fused at the center joint and did not separate into two halves the way a lot of skulls do.