Maceration Heater

treillw

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What heater would you buy to do maceration?

It's 30 degrees most nights and warms up to 50 for a few hours each afternoon. I don't want things to freeze up.

Thanks!
 

PablitoPescador

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BackcountryBloodline

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I ordered a couple of these bad boys for my elk. Worked really well and kept the temp high enough to make it a speedy process. Still working on the degreasing and you definitely need hotter water than the fish tank heater's max to degrease properly. https://www.wowmarz.com/product/mylivell-aquarium-heater-submersible-auto-thermostat-heaterfish-tank-water-heater-and-adjustable-temperature-with-suction-cups-2/?attribute_color=300W+(4ft+cord+)for+55-95+Gallon
Yup I generally use a smaller version of that. One issue I always have is the tendons at the tie in points don't want to break down for some reason, always end up having to let it dry out and pull all the fibers out manually before whitening...maybe that's normal but possible I'm not keeping things warm enough, anyone else have the same issue?
 

snowcamoman

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Sorry, I just cut a 55 gallon metal drum and run a turkey fryer burner under it on low. I keep a small bilge pump going to pump water over it and it does a great job. Pressure wash the thing after several hours and it gets most everything off the skull.
 

30338

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What kind of skull are you working on? I typically use 2 fish tank heaters set on 90 degrees in a 5 gallon bucket. I wrap the bucket in old blankets with a bungee cord holding it on there. I have also used with great success an old cooler in cold temps. The ones I buy are off Amazon and run around $15 each. Takes 7-9 days in my uninsulated barn even in cold weather.
 
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treillw

treillw

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I have two elk heads. I boiled them, but they didn't get as good as I would have liked. I think soaking them for a few days will help. I would have done maceration right from the start, but I don't think all my neighbors would appreciate me doing that in my apartment!
 

PablitoPescador

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What kind of skull are you working on? I typically use 2 fish tank heaters set on 90 degrees in a 5 gallon bucket. I wrap the bucket in old blankets with a bungee cord holding it on there. I have also used with great success an old cooler in cold temps. The ones I buy are off Amazon and run around $15 each. Takes 7-9 days in my uninsulated barn even in cold weather.
What’s your degreasing process if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve been playing around with dawn and ammonia but it’s taking forever
 

30338

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I just did 2 lions that I alternated between warm dawn water and week long soaks in acetone. I think they both turned out nicely. For deer, haven't figured out an acetone method yet. So soak in warm dawn water for 1-2 days, rinse, get new dawn water and repeat till it stays clear for a few days. Then peroxide and sun bleaching.

Finding degreasing is the most difficult part of the process though. If you are doing a bear or lion, I'd go with a sealed container and acetone for a week between dawn soaks. Just keep going till the dawn water stays clear for a few days. Elk seem easiest to get really well degreased using dawn water. Good luck.
 

30338

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Looks nice. What kind of pail or drum do you put that on? Steel only?
 
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treillw

treillw

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What kind of skull are you working on? I typically use 2 fish tank heaters set on 90 degrees in a 5 gallon bucket. I wrap the bucket in old blankets with a bungee cord holding it on there. I have also used with great success an old cooler in cold temps. The ones I buy are off Amazon and run around $15 each. Takes 7-9 days in my uninsulated barn even in cold weather.
What cooler are you using from amazon? Can it fit elk heads?
 
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treillw

treillw

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I just ordered this last week. I built a big maceration tank last a few seasons ago, but tossed it after the element and thermostat went bad and left me with a block of ice with 4 partially finished heads! This pail heater will also get the water hot enough to properly degrease.

https://www.amazon.com/Silicone-Drum-Heaters-Adjustable-Thermostat/dp/B00OYEABGQ?th=1
Will an elk head fit in a 5 gallon bucket without getting the antlers wet?

Is the strap long enough to go around a 55 gallon drum?
 

30338

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What cooler are you using from amazon? Can it fit elk heads?
Oh the cooler was just an old one I had laying around. It worked really well. I tried an experiment with a moose skull and it didn't work out well. So will need a new cooler for this fall. I have been able to fit elk heads in a 5 gallon bucket at times. I have also used a large 15 gallon rubberized horse bucket from a ranch supply store. When using that, I have used 3 of the amazon heaters.
Getting the antler bases wet has caused no issues for me. They come clean with a good rinse and brushing.
 
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