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The quickest easiest way to prepare a skull for a euro mount.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by H&Hhunter, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    First skin and flesh out the skull getting as much meat off of it as you can.

    Get the brain out with a flat bladed screw Driver or better yet you can take a long handled tea spoon, cut the spoon portion in half and sharpen the edge to make a brain scoop like the ancient Egyptians used to use when de braining a mummy. For those of you who have never done it you scoop the brain out through the hole in the back of the head (the foramen magnum) where the spine used to attach to the back of the head. (Where the atlas bone meets the skull)

    Remove the eyes. The easiest way to do this is to pinch the eyeball with a pair of pliers or if you have them hemostats gently pull on the eyeball and with a sharp thin knife or scalpel blade if you have it, cut the tissue around the eye ball and sever the optic nerve the eye will pop right out.

    Mix 1lb baking soda per gallon of water. the baking soda changes the PH balance of the water and jellies tissue making it fall off boiling without the baking soda mix takes longer and is not nearly as effective.
    It takes about 4 to 5 gallons of water to cover a hog skull completely so you'll need a big pot. Boil for 4 to 5 hours. WARNING this is rank smelling do not do this inside I recommend an outside propane burner or a wood fire and steel cooking grate. It also foams over and makes a mess, once again if you value your home and or your marriage DO NOT TRY THIS INSIDE.

    After boiling for 4 to 5 hours take a garden hose and spray the skull any remaining flesh will be jellied and wash off. Make sure and wash the sinuses out from the back, mouth, side so that the water pours out the front of the nose. Any tough remaining fascia can peeled or brushed off with nylon or brass brush. If you have a lot of flesh remaining you either need to boil longer or your mix was off.

    Now your skull is clean.

    To bleach it mix 80/20 hydrogen peroxide/ water completely covering the skull. Bring to a rapid boil then shut off the heat and let sit for 12 hours. You'll have a pearly white "bleached" skull ready for a euro mount if you have a plaque attach the skull to the plaque with long wood screws. or simply display your skull as is. WARNING this solution will bleach antlers I use a rack to elevate my antlered skulls so the antlers are out of the water and only the skull is in the water. I also cover any part of the antler that might be exposed to the water solution with tightly wrapped glad wrap and covered in tin foil.

    Congratulations you now have a perfect professional grade bleached skull.
  2. herkyguy

    herkyguy Well-Known Member


    now i just need a skull.
  3. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Well-Known Member

    Good tutorial H&H.....

    Here's a few pics to go along with it.

  4. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    To get the brain out, I leave it in the skull and let it boil for about a half hour. Then I take a wire coat hanger and cut off about an 8-10 inch piece. bend about a 1 inch L on one end and chuck the other end into a drill. Thread it up in there and power the drill on and the brain turns to soup and drains right out. Rinse and repeat maybe 1 or 2 more times.
  5. chas08

    chas08 Well-Known Member

    Does the baking soda have any effect on the antlers, such as discoloration?
    I've boiled several skulls in plain water and it does take considerably longer.
    But there's no discoloration that lingers after drying.

    Great Pic's!

    I too find it easier to remove the brain after boiling!
    Just scramble 'em up, shake em out, and flush with the hose!

    Thanks for the posts guys it always nice to see how the other guy does it!

  6. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    For my own vanity. I dont like to bleach the skull. It is just too white that way.

  7. slamfirev10

    slamfirev10 Well-Known Member

    thanks gents
  8. BK

    BK Well-Known Member

    Great idea. I never thought about that. Would the boiling process not jelly the brain well enough for it to come out of the foramen magnum?

    I would mention here that there are some fallacies/myths about other supposed ways to clean a skull. One is to set it in an ant bed and let them pick it clean. This does not work in my experience because they really just leave it alone. Maybe a different type of ant that actually feeds on animal tissue, but many ants are herbivorous. I don't know, but I imagine that even an ant species that would harvest the tissue will not clean it perfectly and would take many days or weeks to get very far. Point being, it's a waste of time. I sat a moose skull in a number of ant beds and they didn't do a thing.
  9. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    Now I just need to go hunting again. Thanks for the info fellas!

  10. UpTheIrons

    UpTheIrons Well-Known Member

    Great hints, H&H. Never thought of the baking soda. I've got a skull still in the freezer from this past season, so I'm going to try this recipe.
  11. Skoghund

    Skoghund Well-Known Member

    I've boiled out hundred of roe and fallow deer over the years. I get off as much meat as i can before boiling. After boiling i powerwash the heads to get off all the glopp that left. Good for cleaning out the brains as well. Make sure about where you stand when blasting out the brains with the power washer as you can get covered:barf:
  12. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator


    The baking soda does not affect the color of the antler.

    NOTE If you are boiling the skull of an animal that has horns, not antlers but horns such as a pronghorn, let the skull and the horn bases boil for about 15 minutes then pop the horn off the bone stubs boil as per above. After boiling and bleaching pop the horns back onto the stubs.

    Gentlemen I've found scraping the brains before boiling to work better for me.
  13. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    I usually just set it on a fire ant mound. They will clean it in very short order. ;)
  14. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    I've tried the ant hill trick with zero success. We've got red ants out here and they don't even think about it. Maybe fire ants are different?
  15. msnden

    msnden Well-Known Member

    QuoteI've boiled out hundred of roe and fallow deer over the years. I get off as much meat as i can before boiling. After boiling i powerwash the heads to get off all the glopp that left. Good for cleaning out the brains as well. Make sure about where you stand when blasting out the brains with the power washer as you can get covered Quote

    I haven't done that many, I have done a few for myself, but using the preasure washer is the way to do it, very easy, get as much off as you can, brain is no problem, I generally try & get the eyes out (they are about the toughest) don't put anything in the water, don't boil too long. It took me awhile to figure this out, I did it several different ways but believe me, using the powerwasher is the real deal, if you want to get them white, well, if anyone is interested in that let me know & I will write it up, (I hate to take the time if no one is interested) Here are some of mine

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  16. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    Obviously there is more than one way to skin a cat or prep a skull. Lets here how you whiten them. All useful advice is welcome!
  17. msnden

    msnden Well-Known Member

    Yes, there is more than one way to skin a cat, one not necessarily being better than the other. You did a great job on yours, I really like the use of the turkey cooker, I am going to look for one of those, I use wood to heat the water therfore I have to wrap the base of the antler with foil to avoid discoloration,

    To get them white you need two products, You almost have togo to a beauty supply store or a beauty shop to pick up the "volume cream" (pictured is 20) which works fine but if you can get volume 40 it is better, the other "quick White" can be had at Wally World, both are fairly cheap and you will get many skulls out of them. 1st) Make a paste, about like pudding, (about equal parts)
    lay the head on a piece of plastic, using a small brush cover the skull with the paste, shove it in whereever you can!, put it on thick, Try and not get any on the antlers (it will stain) cover with a piece of plastic, let set for a couple of days, (about 48 hrs or so) I usually go and dampend the skull with water (spray bottle) each day, & touch up with extra paste if I have any. after a couple of days wash off, the skull will look great, (one word of caution, sometimes a tooth or two will come loose, generaly from the boil, I just use a little superglue to set them in.
    The final step I do is put a coat of Polycrylic on, it is non shine & protects the skull from yellowing, it sounds like a lot of "Screwing" around, but is very easy

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  18. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator


    Thanks for your input and you finished product looks great. I have to do my daughters skull form her deer last year I'll photograph the process that use with the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide method.


    I think you've got me confused with rembrandt he's the guy who uses the turkey cooker and earlthegpoat2 is the guy who doesn't like to bleach.:)
  19. msnden

    msnden Well-Known Member

    H&Hhunter, yes I did, my apology to all effected, (i was up late). I agree I wouldn't use bleach either, (it will destroy the bone), looking forward to seeing your project. I have a time or two put baking soda in the boil, it is suppose to help get the oil out of the bone, I have no comment as to its value. I just do this for fun & find it interesting as how others do it, but the power washer beats the heck out of scraping!!!! again apology for the name mix up msn
  20. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    Actually the baking soda changes the PH of the water towards more of a base. It jellifies the tissue there is almost zero scraping after boiling it with baking soda. The tissue just falls off.

    Hydrogen Peroxide whitens the bone and is most likely the same ingredient that is in the products you are using. Hair "bleach" is a hydrogen peroxide mixture.

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