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Thread: Skull bleaching

  1. #1

    Default Skull bleaching

    I just got my bear skull back from the taxidermist. I don't know much about bleaching, but it seems as if it was bleached too long. The teeth are falling out and the skull seems like it is very flakey. Any thoughts or remedies on this? Several of the teeth have already fallen out and have been glued back in and I was told this is normal. I also have several worms that are still in the brain part of the skull. What is the easiest way to get them out? Shake them to the closest hole and use tweezers? Thanks for the help
    Matt

  2. #2
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    Default

    Its quite common for the teethe to fall out during the boiling process. why they are falling out now (after being glued back in) makes me think they didnt glue them or didnt do a good job. Dont make sense why you have worms yet, unless they didnt make sure the brain cavity was cleaned out completely.

    I'd bring it back to the taxidermist and have him do it right. who did you go through?

  3. #3
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    Unhappy Too much bleach

    In my experience, the flaking you describe is an indication that the skull was bleached too long and/or in too high a concentration of bleach. I've seen friends who ruined walrus skulls and other lighter boned skulls using bleach. In one case, a walrus mask (the front half of the skull w/the tusks in it) virtually fell apart because the guy thought a higher concentration of bleach and a longer soak time would do a better job. Tramatic results.

    I don't use bleach anymore. I use Hyrogen Peroxide, and I know others that use some of the pastes that are bleach free with terrific results.

    Yes, you should take the skull back to the person who did the work. Once the damage is done by heavy bleaching, I don't know if you can reverse the effects. The taxidermist should at least see what he did, and make his best effort to correct it. Worms in the brain cavity? I'm starting to wonder if you used someone with adequate experience. I've always done my own boiling, detailed cleaning, and whitening, and I'm not taxidermist....but I've never had the problems you describe. I really wish you the best of luck. I hate to see a guy's trophy and hunting efforts result in something he can't look at with joy.

  4. #4
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Skull

    Glue the teeth in with full strengh Elmers Glue. Them take and mix enough water into the Elmers glue to thin it so it will flow. Brush on numerous coats allowing it to dry between coats. The glue will dry and leave the skull a nice white with a slight sheen. As the others have said, bleach should not be used. Peroxide from a beauty shop will do the trick. I too learned this the hard way and was told of this trick by a taxidermist. I used it on the skull in the photo. Good Luck

    Steve


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    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    Default Good Elmers Glue tip

    Nice to know the Elmers Glue will seal and stop the effects of over bleaching. I've had friends use Elmers Glue right in the beginning to make a skull white, but I hadn't thought about the possible benefit of trying it on an over bleached skull. That would be a super (and cheap) fix to stop the flaking. I wonder if it's because of the moisture it seals in and the isolation from air contact to keep it from drying out further. It worked nicely on the skull you posted Steve.

  6. #6

    Talking poor job

    I agree with huntkodiak. When they are boiled too long, it weakens bone and if bleached too long or too strong, it makes the bone chalky. No reverse. As for glueing teeth back (which is normal no matter which method is used), I use hot glue, which does a great job, if you're careful. As far a bugs go, just not a thorough job. Dermisted beetles are best when combined with 40% strength hydrogen peroxide.

    ps. stid2677: Is that an artificial skull used on that deer? I use that method a lot myself. Thanks

  7. #7
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Real Skull

    The skull is real. I bleached it and it became chalky and flakey. The Elmers glues the flakes and seals the bone. I don't know if it will help if it is too flakey. However, I used this method on this skull and another and they both came out really nice. Plus it was very cheap. Make sure to use the white glue, not the carpenters kind. Hope it works. The hot glue may work better on the teeth, but the Elmers is the ticket for the sealing part.

    Steve

  8. #8

    Default

    I am not too sure if it was bleached or whatnot. I am fairly ignorant to taxidermy procedures. It could have been that peroxide was used. I really don't know. I just look for the animal that is suitable and then I am at the mercy of the taxidermist. The fellow I took it to said that he did have the skull sent off for "bleaching", so he didn't do it. As for the teeth, I figured it was a normal thing to have them fall out. The skull, however, is flaking off, like some sort of pastry. I'll try the elmers glue trick. Hopefully it will be enough to keep intact. And if I can get the ever curious cat to stay away, or else I will have another skull to get bleached Thanks for the help
    Matt

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Talking Hey Matt

    Let me know by PM if it works and maybe a photo. Good Luck. Cat Skull, LOL. My bet is the wife would not be too happy.

    Steve

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Good Info

    Found this on the Alaska F&G website. Might be helpful to some.
    http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...=hunting.skull
    Steve

  11. #11
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default

    You've gotten good advice here I would also take it back and really pitch a *****! Taxidermist should have known better and leaving the beatle larva behind is just plain sloppy. If you have a strong stomach boiling a fresh head in water and dishwashing soap works too, fair amount of scraping to be done but once its clean you can give it a real quick hydrgen peroxide or bleach soak to whiten it up.

  12. #12
    Member akpredator's Avatar
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    Angry Sloppy job is right

    definately take it back and have him fix it "RIGHT" or straight up get your money back and i will fix it for you . having the teeth fall out , having bugs still in it, and a flakey skull is just total BS. a very lazy sloppy job. I have Dermisted beetles and do some skull cleaning and wouldent send a skull back in that condition ever. the only thing that is out of the taxidermist control is the spliting of teeth on carnivores, wich if it had not happened already probly will happen in the future and if it dose super glue works great.

    So take it back , have him fix it , or get your money back. Dont try to fix it yourself before bringing it back. If he wont fix it send me a PM and i will help you out. It would suck to have a nice trophy ruined..

    Todd
    Last edited by akpredator; 03-12-2007 at 10:24. Reason: spelling
    LOVE MY LITTLE SKULL CLEANERS

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    Smile Skull Cleaning

    I have a small skull cleaning business that I do on the side of my other job. I also use dermestid beetles to clean that skulls. Most of the work that I do is wholesale for a taxidermist. As far as the "bleaching" I would hope that a taxidermist doesn't use beach on skulls! Mine are soaked in actual industry grade 35% H2O2 for only two days. If you soak for too long then it will start to eat at the bone and become flakey and chalky looking. I seal them using the elmers glue method after glueing all of the teeth back in. I would assume that you paid over $100 for this service? I would never think of giving a skull to a client that looked like that because it would be horrible for business! If you need help then PM me and I will fix it for you free of charge!

  14. #14

    Default

    Why would you take it back to the guy that screwed it up?Find someone else.
    I talked to a taxidermist today he said it does sound like he used bleach.Wrong.Peroxide should have been used.But he did not offer the fix.

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