OK....I've been asked by several to post this so here we go.

European Skull Mounts ~ By HOOK
Step one for some may be the most difficult part. You will be required to harvest an animal, unless you’re working under our infamous road kill law. Whatever the case you need a head. Remember any head is a trophy. Ok….. You have a nicely cut head and you have a job ahead of you. An extremely sharp fish fillet knife is the perfect tool and will complete most of the work. Its point is small enough to do intricate work where needed. I place the head on a makeshift table at a good working height and begin to cut while having flashbacks of gross anatomy classes in college. Starting at the nose make an incision up to the center of the head and then “Skin” the head. Then I removed the neck from the base of the skull.

Step two is easy pickings. It is just a bit time consuming. Cut as much muscle tissue away from the skull as possible and even puncturing the eyes at this point.




Step three I call deer head soup. Cooking heads is not for the squeamish as the odor is not at all pleasing so take that into consideration. A gas grill with a side burner works great. I happen to use turkey fryer. Regardless, you need a pot you can submerge the skull in. ** You do not want to submerge the antlers if you can help it. Let the water come to a constant simmer (Not a rolling boil as you don’t need to scorch it) and add a few squeezes of your favorite dishwashing liquid to cut the fat. Wrap the bottom 3-4” of the antler with a good layer of duct tape and do not remove until the bleaching is done. Make sure the water level stays constant adding hot tap water when needed. I simmer the head for one hour. Let cool. Pick and cut as much meat off as possible. At this point you should be able to remove the mandible with a bit more cutting and prying. I happened to mount the jaw as well so I’ll walk you through that process…I think it just looks better. Once you have the jaw removed and as much meat as you can then boil again repeat the process. By the end of the second cook you should have been able to remove almost every bit if tissue from the skull. Minute portions in small hard-to-reach areas can remain as bleaching will destroy it. The gray matter can be difficult to remove inside the skull because of the small working space. I take a long screwdriver and stick it in there and stir it around along with some soap and hot water and pull it out with whatever I can. If using the mandible for a mount the jaw may come apart if you overcook it. If this occurs you will need to glue it back together and super glue works fine.




Step four is bleaching. Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizer. It accomplishes several things. One, it kills bacteria, viruses and fungi, and it also bleaches. The kind you use at home is only a 3% solution. Meaning that 97% is water. Not real good at bleaching a large skull. What I recommend at this point is what is called Volume 40 hydrogen peroxide, which is used in beauty parlors for bleaching hair. This is in reality a 12% solution but has plenty of kick to do the job. NOTE* Be sure to read precautions when handling! You can obtain this product at hair care suppliers like Sally’s at around $5.00 for a 16 oz bottle. Place the head into a deep pot just deep enough to be able to submerge the entire skull. Buck heads should be stabilized to submerge just under the base of the antlers, which should still be wrapped in duct tape. Doe heads or any other head just drop the whole thing in. Remember you don’t want to bleach the antlers. However, if you do this may be corrected do get accidently get some bleaching on the antlers a bit of shoe or furniture polish or varnish can bring the color back. Rest the skull in the pot. Pour the peroxide over the skull. Then HOLD YOUR BREATH and pour the ½ cup bleach over that. ***WARNING: This will cause a chemical reaction which you should not breathe. Once the reaction is complete…about 20 seconds or so….fill the container with water to the base of the antlers. You may get the liquid a bit over the base but if you duct tape has a good seal there should be nothing to worry about. The skull should sit in the solution for12-15 hours. Be aware that this is a bleaching process to give a natural appearance to the skull. It will NOT be absolutely white like it was painted. This is just my preference. However, remember if you choose to bleach harder with more solution and soaking time you risk degradation and eventual disintegration of the skull. When the process is complete thoroughly rinse the skull and let dry. While it is drying take some super glue and put a small drop of glue and the base of each tooth and along the hair-line fractures on the top and bottom. This will strengthen the bone structure.



Step five is finishing. I happen to use cut pine that I coat with polyurethane for protection as a plaque. You can get as fancy as you want with this, and this is the most expensive portion of making your own mount. but I kept it simple. You’ll need a few more tools: Super glue, “White Gorilla Glue”, Drill, 4” x 3/16ths Lag screws, and “Non Yellowing” Flat Spray Acrylic finish.
Now that your skull is dry turn it upside down so the top of the mouth is up and flat. Place the jaw into position. Place a drop of superglue where each tooth comes in contact with another. Then at the top of the mandibular joint where it seats on the skull, lightly spray some water and apply the Gorilla Glue around the base to hold the jaw in place. Let dry for at least 2 hours. Remember, the glue expands by about 3 times as it dries so don’t over apply.
After the jaw has set take the acrylic paint and spray the skull entire skull. One or two coats are all that is needed, but it’s kind of a “To Taste” kind of thing. There is no need to spray the antlers unless you really want to. Next drill a hole in the skull at the base of the brain stem where indicated by the green circle just large enough to run the screw through.




Drill a hole in your plaque at the desired height, run the screw through to the skull and screw it into the lag placed on the inside of the skull. You may need a pair of needle nose pliers to hold it in place as this was a bit difficult, but I guarantee the skull is going nowhere when mounting it this way. Mount picture hanging wire on the back of the plaque and you are ready to enjoy your trophy!

_________________________
Everytime I see you....there you are.