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Thread: Skull Work

  1. #21
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    Arrow Re: Skull Work

    I learned over on the taxidermist site of a sealant called "paraloid b-72" that is mixed with acetone. Dunk the skulls in this and they are permanently sealed to the elements, yet look as if no sealant was ever applied. Looking into this stuff now, and will letcha know how it may work...

    In the meantime, the experiments continue...

    Polar Bear 1 should be assembled later today or tomorrow - will post a picture once that's accomplished.

    Many more on the go:



    The sheep & the one whitetail are ready for whitening.

    Despite more than 6 days in the pool Shock Treatment (through which we added several containers of the stuff to bring the concentrate up) the elk shows very little progress in the whitening results:



    It is now our assumption that this stuff does not work nearly as well as hydrogen peroxide for our purposes. Oh well, lesson learned... Didn't hurt the skull, just ate a little time is all.
    So it will be back to the drawing board, and down Island to the supplier of the hydrogen peroxide in the next little while.

    Further note on that... One has to be a tad careful what you're mixing!
    One of the bags full of hydrogen peroxide ruptured in the tub we were using for whitening. No Worries we thought, and simply removed the skulls, and poured the contents into the water batch surrounding that - effectively diluting the hydrogen peroxide but figuring it might have enough strength left to finish off a bear or two. A small amount of ammonia had also leaked into this brine (unbeknown to us). When we realized the Pool Shock was not too likely to do the job we intended for it, we had about 1/4 of a jug of the stuff left. Why not simply add it to this brine the bears are in - might bump up the strength just a tad we thought. So, I did just that.

    The result was an Instantaneous Foaming Madness! I quickly slammed the lid down on the bubbling brew, and stood well back, wondering just what kind of concoction I may have created!



    We decided to let that sit and die down. Kind of wondering what effect the brew will have on the two skulls swimming in it.
    Guess we'll find out a little later today...

    Final Entry for today - an initial shot of the whitetail we named The Hitler Buck before the work commences...



    And on it goes...

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNh...eature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others
    .

    Guess he got to Know me

  2. #22
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    Oct 2009
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    Re: Skull Work

    I've done a couple skulls myself, but mostly small carnivores and bears which are pretty easy. I've tried simmering my moose skull from last fall, but I can't get the enough heat on the top of the head, which can't be submerged in the water. I've tried covering the pot with tin foil in an effort to steam the meat, but it doesn't seem to help much. Any tips you might have?

    Also, do you remove the sheep horns before boiling? If so what's the best method for this?

    Thanks and great work!

  3. #23
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    Arrow Re: Skull Work

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubris21 View Post
    I've done a couple skulls myself, but mostly small carnivores and bears which are pretty easy. I've tried simmering my moose skull from last fall, but I can't get the enough heat on the top of the head, which can't be submerged in the water. I've tried covering the pot with tin foil in an effort to steam the meat, but it doesn't seem to help much. Any tips you might have?
    We have the same issue at this point. Even with a cut-down 45 gallon drum, the top of the moose's skull stays out of the water. To solve this, simply toss a towel over the exposed part of the skull with the ends trailing down into the simmer water. That will wick the hot water up and over the part that wants to act like a periscope. We're doing just that now... Will take a picture of what I am saying later today...

    Also, do you remove the sheep horns before boiling? If so what's the best method for this?
    Yes. The horns of sheep, antelope, goats, buffalo etc must be removed before you start the simmer process.

    For the sheep, we held them out at arms length, eye height off the floor (plywood in this case) and dropped them so they impact in the same place as if the sheep was bonking head's with another sheep. Had to do this several times in the case of the larger Dall. Can also take a rubber mallet and give the horn a few whacks around the base to loosen them. Their skulls and horns are pretty damn tough, and are built to withstand this type of punishment.

    BTW, I would not advise "boiling" as it tends to soften the bones right up. We simply get the water rather warm and maintain that over a period of time (usually 1 day, clean, and repeat for another day).

    Hope that helps...

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNh...eature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others
    .

    Guess he got to Know me

  4. #24
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    Arrow Re: Skull Work

    Quote Originally Posted by IronNoggin View Post
    Even with a cut-down 45 gallon drum, the top of the moose's skull stays out of the water. To solve this, simply toss a towel over the exposed part of the skull with the ends trailing down into the simmer water. That will wick the hot water up and over the part that wants to act like a periscope. We're doing just that now...
    Here's the related picture:



    The wicking works as described. Will take another picture once it is clean...

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNh...eature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others
    .

    Guess he got to Know me

  5. #25
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    Dec 2009
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    Re: Skull Work

    Noggin,

    Try using Soda Ash with the inintial simmer. Soda ash helps remove the flesh and fat, literally dissolving it. This might even eliminate one of your steps, as the soda ash will degrease a skull.


    Why are you using a bag? I just put the skulls right into a pot with the solution. I only use stainless pots, to avoid rust coloring the skull. Stainless basins can be found cheaply at metal recyclers or used restaurant equiptment suppliers.

    Are you using the peroxide undiluted? I use about a cup of peroxide (30%) to a gallon of water. Adjusting how you use the peroxide might save some $.

  6. #26
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    Re: Skull Work

    Quote Originally Posted by IronNoggin View Post
    Here's the related picture:



    The wicking works as described. Will take another picture once it is clean...

    Cheers,
    Nog
    That looks like a much better method than trying to steam if it as I was doing. So you described how you get your sheep horns off, what about goats? I'm sure you don't use the same methods as with the sheep!

  7. #27
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    Arrow Re: Skull Work

    Walking Buffalo: Great tip on the soda ash! We will definitely have to try that one out! But... Where does one acquire this stuff?

    We use the bags to keep the amount of solution we use down to a dull roar. The surrounding water compresses the solution into the bag wrapped skull, and we use a LOT less of whatever it is we're soaking it in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubris21 View Post
    So you described how you get your sheep horns off, what about goats? I'm sure you don't use the same methods as with the sheep!
    Don't really know just how to deal with a goat. We've only tried one, and all I can pass along from that is DO NOT get those horns wet!

    Progress has slowed a little while we get around to procuring more hydrogen peroxide.

    That said, the Dall Sheep is looking Pretty Good even without the whitening:



    And the Polar bear is looking Right Fine these days now that he has all of his broken cavity filled teeth back in place:



    Will eventually post one more of him. Just waiting for the beluga whale vertebrae to finish de-greasing to get the mount right...

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNh...eature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others
    .

    Guess he got to Know me

  8. #28
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    Re: Skull Work

    Looks great!
    Unexpected wealth will arrive. Remember he is the richest, who is content with the least, for contentment is the wealth of nature. Although you look for riches, realize that wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. When riches come don't forget that man's true wealth is the good he does in the world. So when opportunity knocks, grab it. It is easy at any moment to resign the possession of great fortune, to acquire it is difficult and arduous.

    Zoltar

  9. #29
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    Re: Skull Work

    I get Soda ash (NAOH, also called Caustic Soda) from http://www.aaasupplyhouse.com/ in Calgary. Your local taxidermist or taxidermy supply should have it, or try at Water Conditioning suppliers or even Homehardware and such.

  10. #30
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    Arrow Re: Skull Work

    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Buffalo View Post
    I get Soda ash (NAOH, also called Caustic Soda) from http://www.aaasupplyhouse.com/ in Calgary. Your local taxidermist or taxidermy supply should have it, or try at Water Conditioning suppliers or even Homehardware and such.
    Just a bit of a Head's Up: Apparently this stuff can be somewhat tricky to work with. Asked about it on the Taxidermist forum, and one of the Pro's came back with the following:

    "Soda ash/washing soda/sal soda .. all the same thing and it will destroy the bone you are working with. It can work but more often will ruin what you are working with. The amounts to use are very touchy and just a little bit too much or the temperature to high or too long using this stuff will damage bone beyond repair. With the unique things you are working with, I would very much avoid it."

    As much as I do like the idea, i guess we'll stick with what we know for now...

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNh...eature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others
    .

    Guess he got to Know me

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