Watch: 3 Ways to Clean up a Skull
Russ Chastain 12.15.17
A few days ago, we shared a video in which a guy tried using an ant bed to clean up a skull for a European trophy mount. He’s made a series of similar videos showing the results of various methods, and it’s pretty interesting. If you’ve ever cleaned up a skull of any sort, you know how challenging it can be. This promises to help out with that — a lot.
Burying a Skull
This one is pretty simple: Dig a hole, bury the skull, and get away from it.
He does it with three skulls. One he surrounds with sand as he buries it, one he just buries in Virginia red clay, and one he surrounds with sawdust when he buries it.
Of the three, he said the sawdust one had almost no odor when he dug it up, so that’s interesting.
Soak Your Head (in a Pond)
In this video, he shows the results of pond-soaking skulls to clean them up. You know, as the old campfire lore says, “Let the fish clean it up.”
The first one is a cow skull he tosses into a pond without even skinning. Four weeks later, he drags it out. Not so nice.
Next, he puts a skull into a “cage” to contain miscellaneous bones and teeth — after he shows you how to make the cage.
Maceration: Buckets o’ Bones
His favorite method is (naturally) the one that works the best for him and is the easiest: Maceration. All it really means is immersing the skull in water to allow the “stuff” to rot away and slough off of the bone. You put the skull under water (he uses a bucket), leave it, and every now and then you dump out the water and ick, and refill with fresh water.
In this video, he uses five different variations: Just water; heated water; just water but without changing it; water with an air pump to aerate it, and an all-black bucket to encourage solar heating.