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Thread: Finishng bear skulls

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    Member GAredneck's Avatar
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    Default Finishng bear skulls

    I have several bear skulls that I had setting in the shop for about 3-5 years now and I was wanting to finish them out. I cleaned them really well and removed all tissue when I would put them up but never soaked them to remove the oils in the skull. Now the back of each and the area around were the jaws come together are really yellow due to the oils coming to the surface. Can I still soak them to remove that or is it to late? Thanks

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    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    It all depends how you got the flesh off and the temperature that is was cooked to begin with, that ultimately may dictate results. But generally ye they should come relatively cleaner. First I would get a bucket of the hottest tap water you have and some dish soap and soak them in that until it cools and repeat that maybe 2-3times to get all the surface grease and dirt off. Then I would let them totally dry. Then take the bucket with the dry skulls and fill a thinning agent like acetone and soak them or a few weeks up to a few months. Then back to the hot water soap soak for a fews days. Let completely dry and see if the oils are still present. If skull is good and dry hold it up to a bright light the bone will look different with the oils/grease still in it. If still greasy back to soaking. If not then get some higher strength hydrogen peroxide and soak in that for a few days. Then take out skulls into hot water for an hour and then, let completely dry and see what what they look like. Will be way better than what they are like now.

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    Member GAredneck's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. I used a pressure washer to clean them, same as I do for moose and bou. It gets them really clean with minimal cutting and scraping. Some folks like the nasal cavity left intact but I never have liked pulling all that crap out, I just blast it out and pull what's left out of there. I'll try the soaking and see how they turn out, worst case I guess they can stay in the shop or let the kids come up with a design they want to paint on them and let them have fun. The wife has all ready said we have no place for 9 bear skulls......We'll see!

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I soak mine in gas instead of acetone to degrease, just an alternative for you.
    BK

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    Go to a beautician's supply house and buy a canister of "Basic White" powder. Mix a small amount with hydrogen peroxide to form a thin paste and then brush this on the skull. Allow to dry overnight, and brush off. A second treatment is seldom needed . . . . .

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    Member GAredneck's Avatar
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    @BK--How long do you soak them in the gas?

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I use coleman fuel to degrease mine and soak them for a couple weeks then filter out the fat that has leached out then repeat the soak again. I keep doing this till I am getting little to no fat in the bucket. After that is done of in between soakings of fuel I use water with dish soap. It takes a LONG time on brown bears.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    How do you do this with a caribou bull skull with antlers in tact? Big bucket with lots of acetone ?

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    How do you do this with a caribou bull skull with antlers in tact? Big bucket with lots of acetone ?

    In my experience caribou, sheep and moose are not nearly as greasy as bears.

    The way I did mine was to soak it as deep as I could without submerging the antlers.

    I would use DAWN dish soap and warm water.

    Once it was degreased I use the same method with the peroxide and use a rag to wrap around the part not in the mix so the rag wicks the peroxide and whitens the entire skull without taking the color out of the antlers.

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