How to do a Skull.

The way I clean all my skulls and customer skulls is by Maceration. Plain water with a fish tank heater and the meat basiclly just melts right off the bone. The nose cartlige will slide right out. Don't force it or it will break off and you have to get it out the hard way.

I degreese with either Dawn Dish soap or Acetone.

I whiten with 27% peroxide that I get from a Pool Supply Store. Don't let this stuff get on your skin it will burn you.

I seal all my skulls with Krylon Matte finnish. I will have to check the number but I think it is 1311. Don't quote me on the # though. I have not had a skull turn yellow on me yet using it.

Normally when I skull turns yellow it is due to the clear coat or grease left in the skull.

To me boiling and simmering is an absolute NO NO. It breaks down the delicate bone structures in the skull and can set grease into the bone. Making it harder and take longer to degrease.

Using Bleach to whiten a skull can be devistating. It will cause bone to break down over time.

I saw a few on here refer to 40% peroxide. I believe you are refering to the 40 Volume Hair Developer sold at beauty supply places. The 40 does not mean it is 40% peroxide. I believe it is actually only 12% - 12.5% peroxide.


Here is the buck I shot this year. I shot it on the 23 of october. It was an 8-point with a 11.5" inside spread. I shot it with my new hoyt trykon, and its the nicest buck Ive shot to date. At school, we have buckpool between my friends and I won with it.

I wanted to do a european mount since last year, but I never got a buck, so I was eager to mount this one. Im thrilled with the way it turned out. I still need to clear-coat the skull, but other then that its pretty much done, I may use a woodburner and write 2008 along the bottom of the base board. I made it in woodshop out of a neat piece of walnut. It'll be a great way to remmeber my senior year.

tell me what you think!
Weatherby,thats a fine mount.I haven't ever seen a european mount placed on an angled board like that.Very nice.I'll be keepin my eyes open for a nice piece of walnut or old barn board.
I am a taxidermist as well, I use the whitening products from Mckenzie taxidermy, for thirty bucks you get enough to do a dozen skulls. The Brightner and 40% peroxide is mixed into a paste, and paint it on to the skull, let dry for a day or so and brush off with a tooth brush. Works great and sunlight is not needed but if you want. It worked over night!
I agree with Michelle that boiling and bleaching is a great way to destroy a skull. I've been using dermestid beetles for a couple of years now and in my opinion it is the only way to ensure a totally clean and undamaged skull. If my beetles are hungry enough, I don't even have to skin the head!

I use 40 Volume Peroxide for whitening, and it's always worked well, but based on a friend's recommendation I think I'm gonna try some Baquicil Oxidizer on my next skull.

Here's a few of mine:





IME there is a bad smell whenever you _______ a skull (fill in the method of choice) /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Out of all the methods I've tried, I appreciate my bugs the most. Well really, finding a massive rack already clean and sun bleached would be my #1 choice, but as far as being able to have what I want when I want, it's the beetles.
So many skulls so little time...

If you want to know the lazy way to clean skulls, I can say I've done one or 5 hundred!!

Click for a slideshow...
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I have a fox and coyote skull that I have just hung up out in the woods in the spring and got them when they were cleaned up. I still have to clean them up a little, but for the most part they are clean inside and out. The fox was better than the coyote. I'll have to get some peroxide to finish them up.
The only problem with doing them that way is the critters can get to them, and the birds. With small skulls holes can be poked in them and you risk losing the nasal bones.
Thought I saw someone on here that used beetles. I was looking to buy some and try that...anyone know who sell them..thanks
I see you guys are using dawn, ammonia, and warm water to degrease the skulls, but how much are you using. What is the mixture ratio? Thanks
For speed. And ease.. Boiling works just fine. Although you do have to be very careful of how you do it. I will cut as much meat as possible off before I start. Put A squeeze of dish soap in the water place skull in water and heat till boiling. Only let it boil for about ten minutes. Then go to your pressure washer, Or local car wash. And blast away. Be careful of the nasal cavity if you want to retain the honey comb. Blast from the back of the skull and in the brain cavity and the cartilage will mostly remove without loss. If it does not clean up with little picking after the first round you can do it again but boil for no more then five minutes heat the water with the skull in it!!! Once you have it cleaned up then peroxide it up the 40 volume hair stuff is 40% but you can find the 10-12% stuff alot easier it just takes considerably longer to whiten the skull to the desired effect. The dish soap and boiling breaks the grease out quick. Have done quite A few this way and have rarely had A tooth come loose. But I will admit it is fast but has to be done right. Cleaned and whitened in less then twenty four hours. End with A more natural white as I don't believe painting them looks good. A clear coat to seal them is A good idea but I have not had to do this. Have A lion skull from 2003 sitting on my desk that looks just the same as the day I put it up there. Am not exactly sure how to do pics on these forums but if I knew how I would put some up to show the results. Only thing I am great at with computers is making them freeze Good luck with any way you try it. But find something you don't really care about to practice on if you are not confident in your method. Any more involved questions I would be glad to answer.

Rhino, You are off just a little. 40 volume is not 40%. Not even close. Another suggestion...never boil, simmer. ONE of the biggest problems with simmering or especially boilng is cooking the grease into the bone. It will NEVER whiten at this point unless you use paint. On small skulls ie., coyote, bobcat, fox, etc.....who is going to hold them while you blast away at the car wash? A few cookers do this with deer size and up with sucess. Still, while simmering never expect the same results as a beetle cleaned or macerated skull as wolfwoman suggested above.

10 vol = 3% H2O2
20 vol = 6% H2O2
30 vol = 9% H2O2
40 vol = 12% H2O2

Archer, Your right on the 40 volume my bad. Simmering is A no go as it takes to long and breaks down the cartilage holding the teeth. Fast hot boil is preferable to me. Least amount of time for the desired effect. N you are wrong about the results of boiling. But as I said it has to be done right and do not recommend it for everyone. I have done many skulls and have no problems. Who holds them... I do.... And often just take out your rubber car mat, Lay it on the floor and put your boot on top of the skull. I never said you would come out of it in pristine condition. lol. I do take some to the beetles to avoid the car wash incidents. But still boil them after. The only ones I do anymore are ones that are going into the record books so retention of the teeth is paramount. N avoidance of shrinking of the skull. As in all things many ways of getting the job done. Also A good source for 10% H2O2 is A farm store often they have gallon jugs of the stuff. But it is liquid like water not the cream like the hair stuff.