October 10, 2007 at 10:48am
There are two methods 1. simmer or 2. macerate.
Macerating is the easiest if you have the stomach for it and results in less damage to the bone. Just cut the hide off the head and as much meat as you can. Put it in a bucket and cover with water up to the burr of the antlers (do not let the antlers sit in the water or it will stain them). I usually pour half a beer in there to help speed up the bacteria growth. Change the water about every 3 days. Do not dump all the water (save about 1/4 of it) or you will loose your bacteria growth. After about two weeks you can pull it out and use a knife and pliers to pull the meat off the skull (very, very nasty). Then take a water hose and spray the brain cavity out and wash the skull.
Method 2 is "simmering". I use an old crawfish pot. Put the head in the pot and fill with water up to the antlers with some Dawn dishwashing detergent. The dawn will keep the smell downa and cut the grease. Simmer, DO NOT BOIL for about 45 minutes, cut as much meat off and repeat as necessary. Once you get the meat off spray it down with a water hose and wash out the brain cavity.
Once the skull is clean then you will want to degrease it. This, in my opinion, is the most important step. You can buy pure Ammonia at Wal-mart. Mix about half a jug with water and soak the skull in it for about 2 days. You will see the fat start collecting on the top of the water. Do this about 3 times. This shortens the whitening process and helps the skull become WHITE without the grease spots leaching through.
Next is bleaching. I use the 30% peroxide from Sally's Beauty Supply. DO NOT USE BLEACH! It will deteriorate the bone faster than normal and make it flake. Use straight peroxide and soak it in a pan up to the antlers. You can put paper towels on the top of the skull to wick the peroxide up there. Use gloves cause this stuff will burn your hands. I usually soak in peroxide for about 24-36 hours. Place a white towel in the sun and set the skull on it and let the sun finish whitening it for a few days.
I will post pics in another thread of some that I did last year. The main thing is to keep the ammonia, peroxide and if you macerate, the nasty water off the horns.
I have to stop giving away my secrets or I will be out of business, LOL!