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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    North Dakota
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    298

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    Beetles are a lot of work. The older gentleman who worked for me has them. His colony will do a skull in a day. But in the off season he has to feed them around 4lbs of flesh a day. I would not venture down that road unless you want to start a side hobby.
    What we do in life... echoes in eternity...

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Northern Wyoming
    Posts
    195

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    Someone needs to post a pic of inside the nose so we can see if the thin paper curls of bone are still there...that is how you tell a great skull from a good one. My dad has a recipe similar to ones on here and the nasal cavity is perfectly intact, but not sure what all he does, maybe I should ask him. I do know that he does not boil for very long or some skulls will fall apart and if you look hard enough you can get high strength peroxide which will whiten a skull in hours instead of days.
    God I hate man buns...

  3. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Hulburt View Post
    soak in 35% hydrogen peroxide......
    Where do you get 35% peroxide? Pool supply stores?

    I've been using 40 volume developer creme and paper towels, which works great, but I would like to speed up the process a bit and my wife won't let me order through her work... something about integrity my stupid hobbies and getting fired... bla bla bla...lol

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Timberville, VA
    Posts
    1,840

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    The peroxide I useto disinfect water lines in the poultry houses is called proxy clean. It is a high percentage peroxide if you live near any poultey production areas.
    Self proclaimed Founder, President, and Spiritual Leader of the I.S.V.F......Introduce Speedgoats to Virginia Foundation

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the basalt rocks
    Posts
    4,155

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    https://shop.matuskataxidermy.com/pr...oxide-40volume

    Get something like this. It's kind of a gel. Use paper towels and make a paper mache layer on the skull, then wrap with Saran Wrap. After a few hours, unwrap it, rinse well, and it will be nice and white.
    Fear the beard....

  6. Default

    I have teeth on a bear skull that are chipping and sloughing off years after boiling. Don't boil.

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    3,950

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    Quote Originally Posted by 375H&H View Post
    Someone needs to post a pic of inside the nose so we can see if the thin paper curls of bone are still there...that is how you tell a great skull from a good one. My dad has a recipe similar to ones on here and the nasal cavity is perfectly intact, but not sure what all he does, maybe I should ask him. I do know that he does not boil for very long or some skulls will fall apart and if you look hard enough you can get high strength peroxide which will whiten a skull in hours instead of days.
    here is looking at the nasal bones. I just simmer the skull with about 1/2 cup of washing soda mixed in. When it is done the junk in the nose will wash out with a garden hose. I haven’t found a good way to get that center piece of cartilage out, but if you simmer long enough the cartilage will loosen and you can cut it so it it mostly invisible.

    The brain mush also washes out with a hose. I use a dental pick and forceps to get the hard to reach spots and if you can hook the brain membrane just right it can be pulled out the back of the skull.

    You have to work a little to get the meat off, but the washing soda makes it much easier.
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    Last edited by RobG; 12-08-2017 at 04:41 PM.
    "Fletcher, there's an old saying: To the victors belong the spoils."
    "There's another old saying Senator, don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining."

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Northern Wyoming
    Posts
    195

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    Quote Originally Posted by sierrahunter View Post
    I have teeth on a bear skull that are chipping and sloughing off years after boiling. Don't boil.
    Bear teeth are kind of fragile. Often they will crack and slough just from drying out, especially the canines. One thing you can do is right after the skull is done you can spray it with a clear varathane for a couple coats and that seems to help "seal" skulls from drying out. We have some bear skulls over 20 years old like this and still going strong.
    God I hate man buns...

  9. #34

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    Here is my muley from this year
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    And my bear from last year... I have been using my old sous vide machine with biz detergent for 18 hours or so, then 40 volume and paper towels for 10 days or so. Water temp is 140.

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    Last edited by wllm1313; 12-08-2017 at 10:38 PM.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 375H&H View Post
    Bear teeth are kind of fragile. Often they will crack and slough just from drying out, especially the canines. One thing you can do is right after the skull is done you can spray it with a clear varathane for a couple coats and that seems to help "seal" skulls from drying out. We have some bear skulls over 20 years old like this and still going strong.
    Thx, 375. I did seal it initially. Didn't help.
    It's not a big deal to me, as I have many skulls. Just a warning to others.
    I now macerate, which is time consuming, but doesn't damage the skull.

  11. #36

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    A little off topic but related... Am I the only one who has some skulls, mainly Lopes, grease out and turn a little flesh color after a few years?
    DISCLAIMER: Many of my posts are made via phone, aurocorrect and tiny keyboards are my enemy....
    http://www.predatoroptics.com/
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  12. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lubbock, Texas
    Posts
    2,513

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    Bears and pigs are the worst on this. I soak them in Dawn dish washing soap for a while to get the grease out of them. Soak for a week or so, change out the water for fresh, soak some more, rinse, repeat. I've had some pigs that take months to get the grease out of them. Occasionally I will get an old fat deer that needs soaked.

  13. #38

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    Interesting thread. I use Dermestid beetles because they're available at my place of work. Otherwise, no way I'd use them. They're finicky - need proper heat and humidity. I rough out the skull (remove flesh, eyes, skin, brain) after I'm done butchering, and leave it in my back yard tied to a tree so scavengers don't take it away. The flies get into it a bit, and clean out the nasal cavities pretty well, but usually it dries out too much for them here in New Mexico. The dermestids (or at least the ones I'm using) eat dry protein and actually do best with fresh jerky pink to brown in color, not half-rotted stinky green goo. If you have that, I'd probably leave it in a situation where the flies can get into it and keep it moist enough that the maggots will do the cleaning. Back to dermestids, I bug the skull the following June when the weather gets hot and the bugs are most active. They also get EVERYWHERE. They easily chew through cardboard, and seem to do quite a number on wooden containers over time. I use a rubbermaid tote with some 2" holes drilled in the side with mosquito netting over them to try to keep them mostly corralled. Unless you have a shop detached from your house, or have a box large enough to entirely seal up an antlered skull, you're going to find them crawling around the garage floor for the rest of the year until it gets cold enough to kill them. Not good if you have taxidermic mounts in your house or other forms of dried protein hanging on the walls or in drawers.

    My predicament this year is trying to clean a velvet buck without damaging the velvet. I'm thinking if I wrap the antlers and apply a pesticide inside the bag, they should be safe while the beetles work on the skull.

    Cold water maceration will definitely work, but needs to be checked regularly (weekly?) depending on temperature so that you get it cleaned. To try to keep the smell down a bit, pour off most of the liquor weekly and replace with fresh water (leave a little as a 'seed' to keep the bacteria going; kind of like sourdough). Don't go beyond the time necessary to get it cleaned of the flesh and soft tissue. After that, the bacteria start weakening the sutures and yeah, it really falls apart. Keep it in the dark if possible. Black bacterial growth is bad, I understand (I have never seen that happen though). Should be a turbid tan to tan-pink color in my experience.

    I've also heard of folks in Alaska hanging them off a pier in a secure cage and letting the isopods clean them (in a matter of days).

    npaden, what about using white gas? more expensive and extremely flammable, but should degrease better. Not sure how it would affect teeth or if it would dry things out too much, causing them to crack.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lubbock, Texas
    Posts
    2,513

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    Next time I mess with a pig I might try some white gas. Degreasing with Dawn takes long enough that all the teeth end up falling out and you have to glue them back in. If I do I will be careful lighting matches or starting vehicles in my barn though!

  15. Default

    White gas works great for the grease.

  16. Default

    TSP for the degrease. Do it like npaden says. Warm water is best, a fish tank heater would be ideal. Whatever you do, don't spray a sealant on a skull, cause you'll never get the grease out later if you do that.
    #foreveryellow
    I'll pass on the Kool-Aid.

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Northern Wyoming
    Posts
    195

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    TSP for the degrease. Do it like npaden says. Warm water is best, a fish tank heater would be ideal. Whatever you do, don't spray a sealant on a skull, cause you'll never get the grease out later if you do that.
    #foreveryellow
    Clear sealant is fine, it won't yellow, but be sure to get clear. Agreed, you won't be able to get the grease out later, but that is why you get it out the first time correctly. #doneright
    God I hate man buns...

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