Cleaning skulls

  • Anybody have any tips on how to get some stubborn tissue off a skull?

    It's the black tail skull plate I harvested this September. I was a little slow getting to cleaning the plate and now I've got a dried on mess of tissue mostly around the antler knobs.

    I've tried slow boiling it and rotting it to no avail. I'm thinking I'll try bleach or some industrial cleaner mixed in water and boiled again.

    Thanks for the advice as always

  • I've thought about keeping a beetle farm for just this reason.

  • @orkan

    You've probably got enough dead stuff around to keep them fed too.

  • @orkan said:

    I've thought about keeping a beetle farm for just this reason.

    Thats what I was going to suggest. I've seen shows on TV where that excatly how scientist do it.

    @ragnarnar, call a local college, see if their science dept has a beetle farm???

  • Depending on where you are but an ant hill with a bucket over the top of the head. After about a week you should be good

  • I have a skull hanging outside in the weather from two years ago. If you would like I can post pics... But even after two years it is far from done.

  • Yeah, no pics necessary... I know just leaving them out won't cut it. Gotta have something feasting on them.

  • This one is about 3 years old. It was done professionally. The guy said he used to use bugs, but has found chemicals work better. He skins the head before beginning. I don't know how long or what chemicals. He had my deer head about a month.


  • @dddoo7

    I used hair bleach and used a paint brush to get it nice and white. If I could figure out how to post pictures I would.

  • I tried letting the flies get at it. Left it in the compost for a couple weeks.

    The skull dried up so the bugs have lost interest in it.

    So I put it in a old crock pot and let it go on high for about 20 hours. It liberated the fats and some of the tissue, but there's still a fair amount on there.

    I'm not really concerned with whitening it as I normally just stick them on a plaque, like so cCPWI5D.jpg

    I just can't get the last little chunks off from around the antler knobs.

    I'll go by the anthropology department on Monday and see if they have some beetles I can borrow.

    Failing that I'll get some spik&span and try boiling it again with that as the website above suggests. I'm worried it'll fade the parts of the antler in the water though.

    Thanks again everyone