Crate arrived, cleaning up overboiled skulls

Tim1990

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Hey together,

Yesterday was the happy day on which my crate arrived from last years hunt.

Sadly the skulls are a bit overboiled, but still at some parts greasy.

I want to clean them a bit more, but I haven’t decided yet what to do.

I do lots of European mounts (with beetles) and also build skeletons.

Normally I degrease them with dawn over month in 40-50 degree (Celsius) warm water.

But since these skulls starting to get a bit brittle I don’t know if I may better do a really slight simmering. My guess is, that the already a bit damaged bone could get more fragile if it gets soaked for several weeks.

Has anyone done that before and could tell me what method they would prefer?

I can upload some more pictures this evening to show the real condition.
On the pictures they don’t Look that Bad I think :)

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Ridgewalker

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Over boiling is a very common problem I have seen by every taxidermist I have used in RSA. Frustrating even though I state “ do not over boil” and ”do not paint the horns”!
Awaiting my next delivery from a different taxidermist to see how he does.

Beetles are definitely the way to go IMO!
 

fish hunter

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Actually your skulls look pretty good. Nothing is busted and all the nose bones are in place. It could have been much worse. Usually something is damaged that requires extensive repair.
 

Tim1990

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Actually your skulls look pretty good. Nothing is busted and all the nose bones are in place. It could have been much worse. Usually something is damaged that requires extensive repair.

Yes, I was afraid of a much worse condition. Especially if broken/missing nose bones.

Today I cleaned them already a bit with soaking them in enzymes and dawn in hot water (about 70 degrees Celsius)
 

Randy F

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I've seen much worse.
Congratulations an the crate arrival!

Exciting when it gets there isn't it?
The danger with opening it up is when you breathe in that first shot of air out of the crate, it infects your brain with an incontrollable desire to go back to Africa.
 

Tim1990

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I've seen much worse.
Congratulations an the crate arrival!

Exciting when it gets there isn't it?
The danger with opening it up is when you breathe in that first shot of air out of the crate, it infects your brain with an incontrollable desire to go back to Africa.

Yes the last weeks waiting were for me like a small child waiting for Christmas
Hopefully the situation with corona gets better soon, so I can take my next trip this year
 

Sarg

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Hell I hate over boiled skulls, more so on horned skulls !

Just no need & is just laziness on the workers/taxidermist part, quite a problem on Buffalo & Wildebeest as the horns stay on the skull I know !

I work in Africa so I can watch them a bit, I dropped off a Eland Bull head of mine to the local taxidermist as I didn't have time to do it myself, told the owner 10 times don't over boil it don't over boil it & all the problems I have had & seen before, he assured me "they" never have such problems as his head guy was the best & he himself watched them & it would be done by Friday when I dropped my hunters off (this was on the way to pick them up) well a month later I walk in the back & ten Eland in a line & I could see mine out off them & it was falling apart from being over boiled !

Big fight I'm on the unreasonable client list & can't take any thing in there now lol !

It was part of my job when I ran camps & when the skull left my camp you could put them on the wall, clean & white as !!

Not like that when the got to town two days drive away over out back roads or the main shipper a week -10 days away !
 

buck wild

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The danger with opening it up is when you breathe in that first shot of air out of the crate, it infects your brain with an incontrollable desire to go back to Africa.

I though the danger was inhaling enough moth ball fumes to pickle your brain :)
 

buck wild

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It sounds like you have decent understanding of dealing with skulls from your previous work on them. You might try soaking in acetone. I have seen that do a good job with degreasing that shouldn't compromise the bone any more than already damaged. I would also try to bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add a cup of 40% hydrogen peroxide. Submerge skulls (remove horns) and reduce heat for 15-20 minutes, rinse skulls. This should also remove additional grease and whiten. The heating the peroxide is the trick. It doesn't take long for it to work.
 

Randy F

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I though the danger was inhaling enough moth ball fumes to pickle your brain :)
Hah!! There is that.

As my wife likes to say "That explains a few things".
 

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I agree those look to be in very good shape, things others have said plus does not look like you need to stain, paint or finish the bottom 6" of every horn. I remember an ant bear skull that was like doing a jigsaw puzzle.

I envy you, you are doing a task I very much enjoy while I keep getting delayed.

MB
 

fourfive8

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I'll jump in too and observe they look pretty good compared to many I've seen. Maybe light simmer in peroxide for a while then rinse well... just have to judge best course of action.

Also, while beetles are the bee's knees for cleaning bones, most taxidermists are deathly afraid of them because they also attack hides... :)
 

sestoppelman

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Spent some time gluing nose bones back in place myself a few times. Oh well. Yours look pretty good overall.
Congrats!
 

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