DIY Skull Mount?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jeffbird, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. jeffbird

    jeffbird Well-Known Member

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    Is a European/skull mount for a deer a DIY project or better left to the taxidermist? If it is a DIY, please provide a step-by-step.
    Thanks.
     
  2. HeskethPritchard

    HeskethPritchard Well-Known Member

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    If your asking about boiling the skull out, turning it white and mounting it on a shield this is a DIY task in my opinion. If your talking about taking the cape from what you have harvested, putting it over a mould of your species and mounting it on a shield then IMHO this is best done by a taxidermist.

    If its the former let me know I've done hundreds.

    HP
     

  3. jeffbird

    jeffbird Well-Known Member

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    Just the exposed bone.
     
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Would you mind posting, or pm-ing your procedure for the boiling and mounting process. I would appreciate it.

    I've never looked at one up close and wonder about where to cut and angles, etc.

    Thanks
     
  5. HeskethPritchard

    HeskethPritchard Well-Known Member

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    Ok guys here goes, 1st of all your kit list:

    Burco boiler or camping stove

    Knife (for skinning)

    Metal pan large enough to take your head submerged up to the bottom of the antlers (NOT ALUMINIUM) if you don't use the burco

    Soda Crystals

    Pressure washer (not completely necessary but it makes the job easier)

    Plastic container that your head will fit in

    Cotton wool

    Hydrogen peroxide as STRONG as you can get it (if you know any dentists ask them)

    Rubber gloves

    OK the process (FULL HEAD MINUS LOWER JAW)

    1. Remove the trophy head you want from the rest of the beast.

    2. Using your knife, skin the head paying particular attention at the base of the antlers to get as much of the skin off them. Be careful not to scratch the head with the knife blade where it can be seen.

    3. Remove the lower jaw and discard

    4. Fill your pan with water and a good handful of soda crystals and bring to the boil. If you use an aluminium pan the soda crystals will react with it and turn your trophy BLACK, you will ruin it and have to go get yourself another trophy!!

    5. Submerge the head up to the bottom of the antlers. As the water is boiling it is difficult to do this but with practice you'll get the hang of it. Do not worry to much if the water turns the area round the pedicles slightly lighter than the antlers you can buy touch up stuff from taxidermists or use Potassium permanganate to darken.

    6. Boil the head until the meat not removed by skinning and the eyes looked cooked, as a test it should pull off easily. As a rough guide small heads e.g. Roe take about 30 - 40 mins Red take about an hour.

    7. When you think 6 above is completed remove head and rinse with water.

    8. Place your still warm head on the ground and pressure wash it inside and out. It might be a good idea to do this in old clothes as you will probably get brains all over you. Also do not pressure wash the antlers. AND DO IT AWAY FROM THE HOUSE.

    9. With the knife, scrap away any skin/grissle/fur from under the antlers if any is left at this stage.

    10. When you are happy with the cleanliness leave to dry.

    11. Place the head in a plastic container and put your rubber gloves on(Hydrogen Peroxide is reputed to be carciogenic and will turn unprotected skin white); then soaking the cotton wool with Hydrogen peroxide cover the now clean BONE ONLY not the antlers with the cotton wool pressing gently so it follows the contours of the skull and gets in all the crevises and under the antlers. The stronger the Hydrogen peroxide the less time you leave it soaking but as a rough rule of thumb 35% Hydrogen peroxide solution I would leave for at least four hours preferably overnight.

    12. Remove cotton wool and squeeze out the Hydro - perox and rebottle it can be used time and again.

    13. Finally leave to dry preferably in the sunlight.

    14. Go to fridge get yourself a beer and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

    To mount on a shield, position your skull over the hole in the shield and using a cordless drill; drill a 1/8 hole in the underside of the skull from the rear through the shield. Don't go mad and drill a hole all the way through for obvious reasons. Get a screw best are the self tapping type as the threads have bigger spaces between them just long enough to go through the hole in the shield and into the skull to a) hold it in place firmly and b) to take the weight of it. If you have a bigger skull then use a bigger drill and screw that is comensurate with what your doing.

    CUT HEADS

    After step 2 above put your head in a cutting jig and cut and go to step 4 and carry on.

    Roy you can do it by sight, my mate does it all the time, but I don't have the confidence and so use a jig that I bought, I dont want to ruin it after I gone to the effort of getting it that far :)


    THINGS THAT CHALLENGE US:

    1. I have no sense of smell but I am told by my numerous ex wives that boiling the heads STINK like crazy so dont do it in your kitchen with your honey in the next room, and you using her best pots and pans you aint gonna be popular!

    2. Some of the skull bone plates are held together by cartalidge especially round the nose area. If these come off in the boiling process retrieve them from the water used for boiling AFTER ITS GONE COLD and reposition using superglue it is clear and if used sparingly it wont be seen.

    3. If teeth drop out secure them back into the sockets using a dab of CLEAR silcon sealer.

    4. You can become quite anal about it (according to another of my ex wives) but I thought it a nice touch to boil out my mates son's first rabbit skull (cotton tail) he shot. He's got it on his bedroom wall. I was not popular when I suggested that!

    5. After a little practice you will get better at using the pressure washer but expect to get you and everything within a 20ft radius covered in brains etc the first couple of times, you do this all over your honey's clean windows and your on honey do's FOR LIFE!!!

    Good luck if you have any questions let me know.

    HP
     
  6. jeffbird

    jeffbird Well-Known Member

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    Seems easy enough which means it is certain to turn into a major goat roping and beer drinking go 'round.

    One point of clarification, please - what are "soda crystals"?

    Are they the same as baking soda or something else?

    Thanks for the directions. Going to give it a go.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2007
  7. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Hesketh

    That was great.

    The lazy way to do this is to get your hacksaw with a coarse blade and cut the top of the skull off of the head with the horns attached to it. Peel off the brain lining membrane and skin the piece of skull. Take your drill and drill a hole through the piece and screw the skull cap with antlers to your mounting plaque and hang it up.
     
  8. HeskethPritchard

    HeskethPritchard Well-Known Member

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    Soda crystals are soap crystals, baking soda is for cooking I think.

    BB

    You reminded me; thats how I got my first divorce LOL

    HP
     
  9. jeffbird

    jeffbird Well-Known Member

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    Ok, would this be laundry detergent, dish soap, or something else? Glad I asked.
     
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Hesketh is dead on but in texas we add one step to the process.

    After boiling and cleaning place on an ant bed and let the little
    boogers finish cleaning the head ( they can get to places you cant
    and they just love boiled meat) be sure and cover the head with something
    to keep the varments from running of with it.this will get all of the meat off the head,

    Then go to step 11.

    PS we have fire ants in Texas and they will eat anything, but other
    ants will do a good job and you won,t have to fight them for it.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  11. huntinfool18

    huntinfool18 Well-Known Member

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  12. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Huntinfool

    You can't seem to learn that the little elk are harder to hit, easier to carry out and the racks don't take up as much wall space.:D

    I believe that the US equivalent to the crystals is the old Ivory Snow powdered flakes. Perhaps I am wrong as it has been a long time since I bothered with that step.
     
  13. Bigcat_hunter

    Bigcat_hunter Well-Known Member

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    My prefered method is handing the taxidermist $90.00 to put the skull in the beatle cage and let them do the dirty work. I did that boiling method in the kitchen with a cat skull and will never do it again. Trust me, after you smell boiling brains and head meat on a saturday morning with a touch of a hangover you will never get that nasty smell out of your head. I gag just thinking about it. Yuck.
     
  14. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    I'm gonna get all over this. This is my kind of project.

    I'm with ya on the soap crystals but what the squat is cotton wool? We seem to be separated by a common language.;)

    I suppose it's cotton batting that my first, current and last wife has in the bottom drawer of her secret stash of stuff. (She has no idea I know what's in there)

    Now I know why BB can't do his head from last year. He'd have to break down an purchase a cordless drill. That worn out old thing he has has a cord on it. Cheap skate.:D

    Also I'll preserve a large ant hill out front, fall and spring is when I kill the critters.

    The neighbors are gonna love this project. At least it doesn't make noise.:D