Bleaching a Skull
First of all... NEVER bleach a skull with actual bleach! In fact, any taxidermists worth his salt will always recommend that you never use bleach on a skull. The first choice in preparing any skull for display in your trophy room, is to use the services of meat eating beetles, such as dermestid beetles, for cleaning the flesh from the bones of your skull and mandible. Obviously the average do-it-your-selfer does not have access to meat eating beetles, and probably doesn't want to fork over the additional money for taxidermist anyway.
Get yourself the cheap DIY style kit and go to town cleaning your skull yourself.
What you'll need:
Old non-aluminum pot
Coleman Stove (do this OUTSIDE... never in your house! Trust me... the wife will thank you and so will your nose!)
Several bottles of hydrogen peroxide
Sal Soda (Sodium Carbonate) available at most taxidermy supply houses. 1 pound bag sells for $3.95 at just about any wildlife artist type supply stores or company. You can even buy this stuff online just the same.
This is the best product for helping in the process of dissolving meats, fats and greases when you are boiling skulls and antler plates for your trophy room.
If for any reason, you just can't seem to find any, and Google isn't working for you at your time of need... you can always find the next best alternative. The alternative is Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda", which the main ingredient is Sodium Carbonate & fragrance. It's available at most all types of stores, such as Wal-Mart or x-mart etc., and only costs you a few bucks.
Next you need for this entire process:
1 bottle super glue to secure any loose teeth after boiling your skull.
Use some Tongs or even a cheap wire coat hanger for dipping / grabbing the skull.
1. Remove all the hide, hair, and as much flesh that you possibly can within reason by using a sharp knife.
2. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the skull completely. Bring the water to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. *(excessive boiling / heat will cause teeth to crack) So don't boil your skull rapidly, and make sure you reduce the heat as soon as it starts bubbling. You don't even really want to bring the water to a boil either... just reduce soon as you start seeing it begin to boil.
Remember what I said about doing this outside. It's going to be messy and the odors are going to be a bit on the pungent side. If you're not married or don't want to be, you can by all means do this in the house on the kitchen stove.
3. Lower the skull into the simmering water and allow it to simmer for several minutes.
4. After simmering the skull for about 5-10 minutes, you want to add 1 cup of Sal Soda/A&H Super Washing Soda by sprinkling the powder into the water just a little bit at a time, until all the powder is in the pot. The water may foam up and boil over a bit... which is another reason to do this outside!
At this point you want to simmer your skull for about 45 minutes.
After the initial 45 minutes of cooking, remove skull and cut, pull, & scrape away all the loose tissue and meat that you can.
Return your skull to the simmering water and add another 1/2 cup or so more of the Sal Soda/A&H Super Washing Soda, simmer for 15-30 minutes more, or until its cleaned. You repeat this process approximately 3-5 "cookings" until you have gotten all the tissue removed. Depending on the size of your animal skull, you can even end up doing more processes then 5. It just depends on how well you managed to remove tissue from the skull. Make sure to add more Sal Soda/A&H Super Washing Soda to the cooking pot each time you do this.
At this point the meat should practically falling off the bone. The Sal Soda/A&H Super Washing Soda in combination with simmering turns the meat and tissues into a "jelly" like consistency. If the meat is hard to remove, just add a bit more Sal Soda/A&H Super Washing Soda. (another 1/4-1/2 cup or so)
Use your wire coat hanger to poke through and dislodge all tissue and material from the brain and nasal cavities. Make sure to clean these cavities very thoroughly.
I use a garden hose with a high pressure straight stream nozzle attachment to "spray off" and flush out these brain and nasal cavities. You can even use a high pressure car washer IMO.
5. After you've managed to remove all the tissue and meat from your skull, you want to wash it with cold water thoroughly. This is where you "bleach" the skull by letting it dry in the sun for a few days. Let the skull "sun bleach" by this process by leaving it out to dry in direct sunlight. Usually it will take on a whitish-bone color.
Your finished "Bleached Skull" was created by using the "Simmer and Hydrogen Peroxide procedure", and not with actual bleach. Remember the term "bleach" is a term only. Do NOT use actual bleach.
After "boiling" and "sun bleaching" your skull, soak your skull in hydrogen peroxide for approximately a full day.(12-24 hours is sufficient) Rinse completely and allow it to bleach out white in the sun for a few days.
You can then mark the bottom of your skull with a sharpie or other sort of permanent marker. I like to annotate mine with score, date, and method of kill right on the bottom.
You can use this method of "bleaching" any skull, and I've personally used it for bear, cougar, elk, moose, antelope, deer, bobcat, & javelina skulls. It works great, and it's a cheap alternative to paying a taxidermist!
Enjoy your new "bleached skull" trophy!
Submitted by Priest McLane
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