These instructions are for those of you that, for
whatever reasons, want to clean your own bear or deer
skull or any other bones. It may be for a school
project, it may be because you want to save some money
or it may be just for fun. For that last group,
let me say it is
NOT fun, it is smelly, hot and more work than you
think. I no longer
clean skulls myself, I send my skull cleaning jobs to a
I have heard all the "old timer"
ways to clean a skull - stake it on an ant hill, toss it
on the garage roof, wedge
it in the fork of a tree and so on. And given
enough time, 5 years
+, many of these methods will work to a degree.
The fact is that
ants will only eat the meat fresh, maggots only eat
softened, spoiled meat
and certain beetle larva will eventually clean up the
But if you want a WHITE, clean skull in a reasonable
amount of time, you
need to either pay someone who knows what they are doing
or follow these
If you have a fresh skull, begin by cleaning as much of the meat as possible from the skull. Remove the tongue & tissue from the lower jaw & separate it from the skull, clean out the brain cavity & remove the eyeballs. You are now ready to either freeze the skull or begin the cleaning process. If the skull was frozen intact, then thaw it, clean the meat & tissue as described above and begin. These instructions are intended for the cleaning of a bear skull. If you have an antlered or horned animal, I have tried to explain anything different you need to do First you will need:
A nice warm day with a breeze blowing towards a
neighbor you dislike (the smell of boiling bones is not
nice and I recommend you do it outside) You will
Degreasing the Skull
You will need:
Submerge the horns on goats, etc. for 12 hours or so, then remove and allow to dry.
After a few days, or when the skull is thoroughly dry, glue the teeth back into position using a small amount of super glue on each tooth. Allow the glue to completely dry before beginning the bleaching process.
More properly called "Whitening"
since no bleach is used. Using common household
bleach will damage the bones & cause the them to
flake. To get the bones really white, I use the
Another method that also works and is a little less expensive is Bondo Glass. This is Bondo brand body putty with fiberglass mixed in and is very strong with good adhesion. Follow the instructions above, except use a small putty knife or stick to coat the inside of the core with the bondo.
While it is not necessary to put any finish on the skull, it is recommended if it will be handled. Bone is porous and if handled enough, will absorb grease & oils from hands. I spray mine with a non yellowing clear satin finish like Krylon or Envirotex. You can get these at an art supply house and most paint or hardware stores. Floor wax is also used by some, but I have not tried it, so you're on your own if you want to use it.
THAT'S IT !! Your done. Now don't you wish you
had just paid the money and had somebody else do
it? (Want to check the price? - CLICK HERE)
Because some of these materials are hard to find or only
bulk, I have assembled a kit with enough materials to
clean several skulls.
Each kit contains instructions & enough washing
soda, peroxide, &
mag. carbonate to do 3 average (bear or deer size)
skulls. You will
need to provide all safety equipment, degreasing solvent
and tools. For those of you that are
interested in purchasing one of these kits -
please send me an e-mail with the word "skull cleaning
kit": in the subject
KITS - VAN
DYKE'S TAXIDERMY SUPPLY OR
RESEARCH MANNIKINS - HYDRO PEROXIDE MAG CARBONATE SODIUM CARBONATE
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Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail
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