Slow progress on my bones

This post is about bone-cleaning and may contain text and photos that some readers might find disturbing. All content is hidden under the link. Continue at your own discretion!


After a week of sitting in the degreasing bath, I decided to check in on the deer scapulae that I started cleaning a little over a month ago.

There was still some white, chalky residue visible on the bones when dry, so they’ll be going back in the degreasing bath to soak a bit more. The only new thing I saw was some mystery gunk oozing from a hole near where the bone would have attached to the rest of the shoulder. I hadn’t seen any of this gunk when I was macerating these, but a small amount of the stuff came out of both scapulae, so it seems like the degreasing bath is doing some good!

My other bones aren’t very exciting at the moment, unfortunately… the raccoon skull is still degreasing indefinitely, and the deer bones I found in Arizona are still macerating. Though there isn’t much dirt or visible organic tissue left on these, I can tell I’m making progress just from looking at the water:

The photo on the left is a reminder of what the water looked like on the second day of cleaning after soaking for twenty-four hours, and the photo on the right is what the same batch looked like yesterday morning after soaking for about two days. It’s a significant difference, and – though you can’t tell from the photos – these bones are starting to smell a bit better, too.

Progress hasn’t been hugely exciting; cleaning these bones has consisted mostly of me hauling them in from the garage, dumping the old water, refilling the containers with fresh water and a healthy helping of washing powder, and then carrying everything back out to the garage to soak. Still, I’m pleased with how this batch is coming along!

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