How Do I Prepare for a skull mount?

Jari

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Can anybody tell me what I need to do to get all the meat off the skull,and how to get the brains out?
I would assume you gotta skin it,and boil it,to get the meat off,but how do the brains come out?
Any info or pics would be great..
This is a deer head by the way..
 

garman

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I've boiled them before and had the same issue. No easy way to get every thing out. Nasty. The best way I've found is to skin it then put it outside under some leaves for a month or so. Put it under a basket so no animals can gnaw on it or carry it off. After the bugs have done their work, just hose it off and soak it in some hydrogen peroxide for a couple days. Bam!!! You have the whitest skull you could imagine... no kidding!! Works great!!!
 

Jari

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Thanks,But It's November,and there's no bugs,and it'll just freeze.
 

garman

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My bad... didn't think about you being that far North. Unfortunately, we have bugs almost all year... :-( Down here there is always something living under the leaves! You could just save it for the spring... Boiling is a time consuming endeavor. I used a coat hanger to get all the goo out, but you end up tearing all the nasal bones out. There is also some cartilage or stuff left around the seams of the bone. The natural way leaves everything in the nasal cavity and cleans all the seams perfectly.
 

eddy-tx

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The best way I found for getting the brains out is to bring it to the car wash and spray the inside out. You have to be careful not to put the high pressure directly on certain fragile bones and cartilage in the area, but it works. It is a bit messy...and be sure to wear some goggles. As far as the rest of it, you just skin, pick and boil....as many times and as long as it takes.
 

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Shane

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Hey Jari, I'm doin a bunch of skulls right now. Just skin and cut as much meat off as you can. Pay close attention to remove the eyes and the fat behind the eyes. Basically, just stay as close to the bone as you can. The key to a clean skull (especially of you are boiling/simmering) is fat removal. The meat and other connecting tissues will come right off. That fat will soak into the bone. Then an addition step of degreasing will be necessary for that pure white look.

For the remaining brains, the fastest, easiest method I use is to grab a drill and a small piece of steel strap, coat hanger, etc. (about 8 inches in length) with a small bend at the leading end. Just attach it to the drill like you would a drill bit. Almost like you'd mix paint with it, just less aggressive.

Now, just slowly insert the 'mixer' into the hole at the back of the skull (aka: foramen magnum) and begin scrambling those brains. One you've reduced the brains to moosh, just shake them and spray them out with a spray nozzle attached to the garden hose. The combination of water and shaking will do the trick.

I've found this the best and fasted way to remove nearly all brain tissue and not damage the bone. Holler if you have other questions about this.
 

RoyalWapiti

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Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate) works for whitening process. I got a small amount from my taxidermist. I used it, but the skull didn't get pure white. Now I know why, I boiled it and didn't do a de-fat to the skull. What works bets for the de-fat process Shane?

Good idea with the brain mush....
 

Shane

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IMO, the most important step is cutting every piece of fat off of the skull before it even hits the hot water. Then, I lightly boil with a couple table spoons of dishwasher soap until most of the tissue is falling off the bone and/or easily removed with fingers and light tools - pocket knife, hemostats, plastic brush...

What I do at this point is a bit touchy but it works really well in most cases. First I buy 40 volume peroxide from sallybeauty.com. Then, once most of the flesh and connecting tissue is gone from the skull, I boil a fresh pot of water. Once it's boiling, I poor approx 1/4 to 1/2 cup of peroxide into the water and place the skull back into the pot. Boil untill remaining flesh looks clear or at least milky, BUT before the the nasal turbinates (tiny thin bones in the nose) get eaten way.

NOTE: for antlered and some horned animals, the antlers and horns MUST BE PROTECTED FROM THE WATER. Otherwise they will become discolored/white like the skull. I tightly tape plastic around the base of each antler. Add approx 1/4" of skull in there as well. The water will creep up a bit.

This combination of clean, no fat boiling with a peroxide boil at the end has worked great for me. Here are a couple pics of a skull I did yesterday afternoon. It's nearly presentation white in the photo and it hasn't even dried yet. ~ Good luck

[attachment=47118:MT_4x5_s...iling_1A.png]

[attachment=47120:MT_4x5_skull_1A.png]

[attachment=47121:lynx_marten_1A.png]
Once they dry and after a light clear coat
 

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Jari

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Thanks to everybody for the ideas..Winters finally over,and it's starting warm up,so I'm gonna start on this,before my head starts to get stinky(It's still kinda frozen)
I'll let ya know how it turns out..
 

habitat

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If you are just doing one or 2 the kits from vandykes work great and have everything you need .You can get them with or without the plaques and they will prepare at least 2 deer skulls or you can buy the materials needed from them
 

Huntr Pat

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Van dykes has good turn around time. You can get every thing from them, the after a year or so they willsend you an annual catalog..
Van dykes has every thing:
degreaser
vol 40 hydrogen peroxide which is 12%
Clairol whitner
Which you can get from sallies beauty supply.
you can better stuff by searching online even in your neighborhood stores.
 

imnrut

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Shane @ Nov 23 2007, 09:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
For the remaining brains, the fastest, easiest method I use is to grab a drill and a small piece of steel strap, coat hanger, etc. (about 8 inches in length) with a small bend at the leading end. Just attach it to the drill like you would a drill bit. Almost like you'd mix paint with it, just less aggressive.

Now, just slowly insert the 'mixer' into the hole at the back of the skull (aka: foramen magnum) and begin scrambling those brains. One you've reduced the brains to moosh, just shake them and spray them out with a spray nozzle attached to the garden hose. The combination of water and shaking will do the trick.[/b]
Some of you guys are working way to hard to remove the brain.

Once the head is skinned, take a hack saw and cut about two inches off the back of the skull. Use two fingers and scoop out the brain. Takes only a couple minutes.
 

Huntr Pat

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This is what I have done after removing all the meat everything cleaned. You have to degrease the skull. By sitting it in warm or hot water with dawn dish wasing liquid and amonia. The water will change color so will need to change it and refresh the stuff. Dreasing is important the more grease you get out of the skull the whiter the skull will look. Deer should be easy as you can see my avatar which took 2-3 weeks. Hog and bear takes a long while they have the most fat in their skulls. Get the either the peroxide from sallys or Vandykes taxidermy suply.
Good luck. remember the more you degrease the whiter the skull will turn out.
Brain removal is simple. Get one of those pressure nozzel if you don't have a pressure washer.
See the sKull in my avatar.
 
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scr83jp

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When I was a student at the Univ of Arizona earning my BS in Wildlife Mgt our instructor gave us a demonstration on cleaning skulls .You immerse them in solution of bleach & water in a wide mouth gallon jug & screw on the lid.Bleach causes saponification of fatty tissue ,when you open it beware the odor is a bit strong might cause some to toss their cookies!
 

fishnhunt

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The best way I have found to get the brain out is to soak the scull in a bucket of dish soap and water for a day or two. Then you pull it out and firmly shake the brains out of the back. This has worked great for me every time. I learned this trick from our museum preparer in college. Oh and the problem with bleach and why many people don't use it is it will "eat" all that fine bone material.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
 


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