Can you teach me to clean a skull or offer any internships?
I don’t offer any classes, internships, or lessons on bone cleaning at this time. If you are wanting to try skull cleaning for yourself, there are numerous sources of information available to you online. The best advice I can give anyone who wants to get into bone cleaning is to do a lot of research, have a lot of patience, and experiment. It will involve some hard, dirty, stinky work and lots of trial and error. I’ve been cleaning bones for many years now and I’m still encountering new challenges and always trying to refine and improve my process.
As long as you are in the US, absolutely. There will be some work and expense involved to package the specimen appropriately and ship it quickly enough to arrive in good condition. I’m happy to walk you through the process, just get in touch and I will provide details. Never ship a specimen to me without my awareness or agreement to a shipping date.
Can I ship a specimen to you?
Are the bones you sell ethically sourced?
I won’t do or sell anything that isn’t legal or what I consider to be ethical. I don’t market anything as “ethically sourced” because that term is vague and can be misleading. Everyone’s personal ethics are different, and, for example, I may have no problem selling a skull from an animal that was intentionally killed for meat, while others may consider that unethical. Some people may consider roadkill scavenged bones to be ethical but it is not always legal. I am careful to follow the law, and to source specimens from businesses and individuals that I feel comfortable with.
Often I can, but I take repair and restoration work on a case-by-case basis, and will need to either arrange an in-person consultation or have you send high quality photos for me to understand the state of your project. I try to give realistic expectations and will be honest if it’s not something I can help with. Some stains in bone are practically impossible to get out – especially soil staining (sometimes people bury bones to clean them), and if a bone has been treated with Chlorox bleach I cannot try to restore it. My processes can actually accelerate the damage bleach will do to the bone. What I can do in that case is treat the bone with a museum quality sealant to prevent future damage.
Can you fix bones that are broken or poorly cleaned?
How can I take care of my bones at home to keep them clean and safe?
Bones require minimal care and cleaning if properly treated. They should be kept indoors and out of the elements, away from pets that may see them as a chew toy, and handled minimally and with clean hands. Rapid humidity changes can cause damage to teeth occasionally, which is generally an easy repair. Sometimes, despite my best efforts, a skull might go home looking great and years later may show some grease. This is not uncommon and my customers are always welcome to bring their skulls in for a degreasing touch up at no charge if that ever comes up. If something dirty gets on your skull, you can take a Q-tip soaked in 3% drug store peroxide and gently swab the area. If something really traumatic happens to your skull, I encourage you to call me for advice before attempting any DIY repairs. Promise I won’t judge!
Every skull gets a tag with a unique number ID as soon as it arrives. This ID is recorded on both your work order and invoice, and stays attached to the skull throughout the entire process until you watch me cut it off before handing it over to you.
How will I know the skull I get back is mine?
Can I visit / tour your shop?
Customers are welcome to visit the main shop building, where they can get a partial glimpse into my process and see some skulls that are in various stages of cleaning. There is a colony of ambassador Dermestid beetles living there for you to view in action. This is the only public portion of my business, as the rest is spread out around private property. Customers are welcome to come by appointment to drop off and receive skulls. If you are not a customer but just curious about visiting, I’m sorry to say I don’t have the availability to host you at the moment.