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Thread: Velvet and skull prep

  1. #1
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Velvet and skull prep

    I got a nice Sitka Buck this weekend. The velvet is thick and the bone good and I'd like to do a european style skull with the velvet intact. Any ideas on how to proceed with cleaning the skull while simultaniously preserving the velvet?

    I'm concerned a boil job will just destroy the velvet around the bases.

    A rot job will just alow the velvet to rot too.

    Does a gas soak for the velvet work as advertised. Or is a freeze dry cycle work better.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    My son put his in the freezer for a year and it worked quite well. He didn't do a European mount though.

  3. #3
    Sponsor Hoytguy's Avatar
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    You have basically 2 Options here..

    Opt 1 Cut the antlers off the skull as close to the base as you can, have the antlers treated.. prepare the skull, degrease, bleach and whiten.. you will have to drill hole in the base of the antler going up into the antler, same with the skull.. insert a rod, or key.. I preffer square key stock.... lengthy process, with adaquate results at best..

    Opt 2 Strip the velvet, mascerate the skull, degrease the whole thing.. skull, antlers and all, whiten the entire skull and antlers.. then send of the skull/antlers and have artificial velvet applied.. More expensive, but will look perfect..

    Cant believe your already whacking and stacking them down their.. we still on for late Sept?

    Hoytguy

  4. #4
    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    Hoyt is right about cut off if you want the natural velvet. It destroys any record book stuff though. I think the artificial velvet looks super fake and I have never seen the correct color for a Sitka black tail, they are way too light tannish. Cut 90% through the pedicel using a thin, fine bladed hack saw, and then break the remaining part so you can line up the antler in the correct position when reattaching. Freeze dry in a frost free freezer for a few months. The freezer will draw all the moisture out and set the velvet. Clean the skull with your desired method. Maceration is the easiest for at home or send to desired cleaner. Once skull is free of meat, degreased properly, and whitened, it is time to reattach the horns. I use a drill bit like this one to make 2 different holes through the pedicel into the antler from the bottom lined up with the antler break. I find a particular hole (nerve, blood vessel) below the eye in the base of the skull to drill through. It is the same size as the drill bit and you canít tell that you used it. You use the right side hole for the left antler. I have never done square tubing but good luck with that without a milling machine! So use the same size all-thread as you drill bit. If you only use one piece of all-thread the antlers will spin, but with 2 it wonít at all. Once you get the holes drilled test fit the all-thread and if all is well epoxy it on carefully so it does not run or drip on the clean skull. Turn up side down to allow it to dry. Get some taxidermist modeling clay and delicately fix the cut line and paint to match the skull if desired. If any questions P/M me.

    Chris

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    ok, sound advice. thanks fellas!

  6. #6
    Sponsor Hoytguy's Avatar
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    DSC03379.JPG here is a example from a guy i know in the lower 48 who dies artificial velvet..

    I dont have a milling machine, what I do is use a small drill bit.. then keep increasing the size 1 by on until the square key stock fits in and turns freely.. on a blacktail size antler I'd suggest a 1/4"-1/2" dia key stock.. Mix up some fiberglass resin, pour in the hole.. Coat key stock with vaseline (release agent) and hold until it kicks.. let it set 12-24 hours and remove the key.. Repeat the same process with the antler.. you will now have detachable antlers on your euro..

    Also with the artificial velvet, 1 guy I know can mix and dye it any color.. from light brown to almost black.. so getting a match wouldnt be a problem.. Id strip it and have that done..JMO

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