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Chemcial Question for Taxidermy Related Project

I am quite interested in the articulation of the bones of animals. I plan on using small game (squirrels, frogs) to begin with, and I will probably donate them to my Biology teacher, since she loves skeletons.

The process of defleshing and whitening the bones of the animal is fairly straight forward - soak the carcass/skeleton in chemical baths and take it out when it's done. The chemicals needed for the process are what's going to be hard for me to obtain.

I need a 0.3% solution of sodium carbonate. Sodium bicarb is extremely easy to come by, but I've never seen sodium carbonate. I've heard it is used to raise the pH in pools, so I'm guessing a pool store would carry it. But, would it be possible (practical) to make it? Is there a way, using household chemicals, to produce sodium carbonate? I don't need very much.

Secondly, I need a 20% solution of hydrogen peroxide. I only have a 3% bottle. I've heard H2O2 is some pretty dangerous stuff. Again, is it possible for me to buy/make it? Would freeze-purifying it work?

Thanks for any help, and if I get this to work out, of course it'll all be turned into an Instructable.

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oilpaint28 years ago
Don't use chemical baths as they can dissolve the bones. Museums use dermestid beetles to eat the flesh off the bones or use a disection kit to remove most of the flesh and skin and use the dermestid beetles to finish the process of flesh removal. Dermestid beetles like a darkened room and thrive best at 70 to 80 degrees Farenheit and make sure the room is well ventalated due to the smell. The specium is usually put in a plastic tray and adult dermestid beetles are put in with the specium they lay eggs and the larvae hatch and they eat the dry-moist flesh from the bones. Check on the bones peroidically until the flesh has been eaten, be prepared for the smell. Remove bones carefully with the disection kit forceps and place into a clean plastic container and use boiling water with borax to soften uneaten cartilage use the ratio one part borax to 20 parts water. Use surgical gloves and have lab coat, have disection kit with scapel, forceps and probe in the set. After letting bones sit in the borax water solution for at least an hour, remove bones with forceps on to absorbant paper in a plastic tray. Scrap gently away the cartilage and then place back into boilingg water and borax mixture at the same ratio for 10 to 15 minutes and remove bones onto fresh absorbant paper in a plastic tray, let air dry next to a camphor block to keep unwanted insects away. After 24 hours you should have the quality of bones you need. N.B. Make sure you have a well ventilated areas to work in. Be Prepared for the smell. Use surgical gloves, lab coat and disection kit. Flush borax solutions down drains with plenty of water and avoid breathing borax fumes.
NachoMahma9 years ago
. "Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash)" - http://www.google.com/url?sa=X&start=3&oi=define&q=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium+carbonate
. Dang! Last try. If that doesn't work. go to Wikipedia and search for Sodium Carbonate.
I'm pretty sure you can refine peroxide at home, I'll try and dig up the method, I used to do it in school jst because oxidising stuff is fun... We actually managed to whiten and kill a bunch of sheep bones with household cleaners and chemicals in a bucket, I know fairy liquid was in it, it was boiled at some point, possibly microwaved but that might be something I just wanted to do, toothpaste with active calcium was involved aswell, anyway we did all this with what seemed like a good idea and the skulls turned out great. I suspect this is not advisable for smaller animal bones though, I remember in biology the way to kill the marrow is to boil for several hours, thats why chicken stock bones sound so brittle and hollow when you let them dry...