HOW TO CLEAN BONES AND ASSEMBLE ANIMAL SKELETONS
For those of you who are new to this location, this site is all about the preparation and articulation of animal skeletons - OR - turning a dead animal into a clean set of bones and assembling those bones into a complete skeleton.
It is also an introduction to myself, a forty-year veteran of professional skeleton building.
It is also a blatant advertisement for a series of ten Bone Building Books I've written.
These books are a series of manuals explaining how to clean, prepare, and articulate different animal skeletons in a simple step-by-step manner
Each manual is suitable for enthusiasts, teachers and/or students desiring to do a museum quality skeleton on a limited budget.
For the last 25 Alaska Winters I have been illustrating animal bones from different views. Some of these illustrations have made their way into the Bone Building Books. It has been apparent that some bone enthusiasts have been collecting these manuals just for the illustrations and not because they had any intent of building a skeleton. So, for those who just want
it for the pictures (sorry, no centerfold) - for the first time - here is a collection of just the bone illustrations. These are arranged by species, of 31 different land mammals from the Northwestern United States.
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You have questions?
Lee has answers!
I am the Boneman - goo goo g'joob!
Watch this video below to learn more about what I do
Lee's latest skeleton articulation in Fairbanks, Alaska, of a Bowhead Whale.
Click on the video below.
About the Books
The Bone Building Books is a series of manuals (each one dedicated to a different group of animals) explaining how to clean, prepare, and articulate the skeleton of that animal in a (hopefully) simple step by step manner. Each manual, heavily illustrated with black and white drawings, is suitable for teachers and students desiring to do a museum quality skeleton on a limited budget.
The manuals (volumes 1 through 9) are heavily illustrated with black and white ink drawings (which I also confess doing) and often have details precise enough to help in zooarchaeological identification of animal bones. The manuals are based on forty years of bone-work, much of it with students and teachers. The language is simple, the illustrations numerous, and the humor can be corny, but with these manuals, even you can do a museum quality skeletal articulation project with tools and materials available-even in the smallest towns and on a budget that even a public school teacher can afford.
The Bone Builder's Notebook (volume 10) is the companion reference book to any of the other bone-building manuals. If you work with bones or desire to work with bones, this is the answer book to questions you may have about preparing bones or skeletons for use in collections, or for display.
The Bone Builder's Notebook details how to acquire bones, the different options for cleaning, degreasing, and whitening bones, the tools and materials used for articulating skeletons, and includes a section for identifying and siding mammal bones, osteology vocabulary, and reference books. Whether you are a bone enthusiast or a museum professional, this manual has the rest of the information pertaining to bone-work.
A Note About This Series
The Bone Building Books have been created from my often indecipherable handwritten notes, by Mary - my wife and computer-graphic whiz. These manuals are published by a very small press; i.e., me, myself, and Mary. As self-published manuals, they are not exempt from having mistakes. They are also prone to have illustrations that I sometimes will look at after a manual has been printed and think, "I could do that one better." Being my own illustrator, I sometimes do. Being that these are manuals with a very limited sales appeal (I don't anticipate Random House to ever come knocking at my door), I have been having them printed in very small press runs. Consequently, it is fairly easy to revise and correct and amend the books as I feel the need or desire. That makes the manuals essentially all works in perpetual progress, constantly in flux and possibly never totally finished as long as they are in my control. Thus, check this website for information about newer versions. If you get stuck or have questions or comments, I welcome hearing from you. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Bone Building!
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If you encounter any difficulty with any purchase please contact us at:
(This email is checked several times a day.)
907-235-6247 (Alaska Time Zone)
The manuals may be ordered (using a credit or
debit card) by calling us (Lee or Mary).
Business hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
ALASKA TIME ZONE- 7 days a week.
(ALASKA TIME ZONE: If it is 9:00 in the morning in New York, it is 5:00 in the morning in Alaska!)
If the above ordering options do not work for you, or if you have any other questions, let us know by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
This email address is checked at least twice a day. Someone will send an email back to you as soon as possible. For your safety, please do not submit credit card information through email.
SKULLS UNLIMITED INTERNATIONAL
The manuals may be ordered from Skulls Unlimited International in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
www.skullsunlimited.com or call 1-800-659-7585
Overnight and/or FedEx available.
Shoppers in Europe and Surrounding Area
The manuals may be ordered from NHBS.com.
Same price for manuals, but you'll save on shipping.
Devon, UK - +44 1803 865913
One to two manuals FIT IN ONE ENVELOPE
Shipped via US Postal Services - Flat Rate Priority Envelope for both USA and International Shipping
Three to 11 books FIT IN ONE BOX
Shipped via US Postal Services - Medium Flat Rate Priority box for both USA and International Shipping
More than 11 books FIT IN ONE BOX
Shipped via US Postal Services - Large Flat Rate Priority box for both USA and International Shipping
Shipping costs are calculated at the time of purchase - Click here to see current USPS costs
No overnight delivery or Fed Ex available (We live at the end of the road in Alaska.) However, those services are available if you order the manuals through Skulls Unlimited International, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA - at 1-800-659-7585 www.skullsunlimited.com
Please allow one week for delivery within the USA.
Normally 2 to 3 weeks Internationally, but depends on location and customs of individual countries.
If there is a long delay, please check with your local post office and/or customs.
(At least 3 weeks (if not more) to Australia and New Zealand and South Africa)
For Europe and surrounding area save money on shipping by going here: NHBS.com
Links to Bone Related Sites
Skull Site - This is "THE"site if you are at all interested in bird skulls or bird skeletons (over 1000 different skulls). It also has a world-class cool quiz you can take to see how well you can do at identifying birds by the skull shape. This is also the source of detailed information about macerating bird bones as a way to clean them.
Skulls Unlimited International - Skulls Unlimited is probably the largest bone preparation company on Planet Earth. They also sell skulls, bones, skeletons, and even Bone Building Books by a certain; yours truly.
The Bone Room - This is a business with a storefront in Berkley, California, that has been a source of bones and natural history related treasures, since 1986.
www.taxidermy.net/forum/ - This is an active forum site of search-able posts (with a linked archived section going back as far as 2006 - plus older archived posts) having to do with skulls and bones. the information is to get bones commercially clean and paper white using beetles or warm water maceration, followed by detergent de-greasing and hydrogen peroxide for bleaching. Questions or suggestions about alternative methods are about as well received as suggesting back surgery at a chiropractic convention. This can make for some entertaining reading, but you may have to wade through a lot of verbiage to figure out some basic answers to good questions.
Kodiak grey whale project - Stacy Studebaker, of Kodiak Island, Alaska, found the whale and organized local volunteers to help bury, excavate, clean, repair, articulate, move and suspend the skeleton.
El Refugio de Potosi - This is a new non-profit nature reserve a little south of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Besides being a great place to look at local nature, they are starting to work on the preservation of a large sperm whale skeleton, with the intent of having it on display. The director, Laurel Patrick, is an ex-nurse and tree nursery owner from Oregon. Her passion to preserve a piece of local ecosystem and to educate others about the flora and fauna of that area is commendable and inspiring. Check out the hummingbird feeders if you are birding in that area.
Jake's Bones - A very fun website about a 14-year-old boy in Scotland with the love of bone collecting.
Pratt Museum of Homer, Alaska - Most of my bone work and skeleton articulation techniques have originated from this award-winning institution. It is frequently acclaimed by its many visitors to be one of the best small town museums in America.
Favorite Friends' Bone Related Sites
Timber Line Creations - Mike Lettis--This is a guy I grew up with. He does antler carving and has a really cool gift shop in a nearby town and deals in Alaska Pleistocene mammal bones.
Blue Walrus Carvings - Ed Sotelo--Ed and his wife, Sheryl, are Super-teachers who did a world-class brown bear skeleton project with their classes. Ed is also a master ivory carver, specializing in fossil walrus tooth carvings.
How to Hire the Boneman
If you want my hands-on participation in your skeleton project, or if you have a skeleton you want me to articulate outright, well---I can be bought! My rates are not fixed and can vary greatly depending upon the project, where the project is to be created, how much time I will need to be away from home, and what kind of budget is available. Contact me with any proposals you might be thinking of; anything from small mammals to whales.
Organizations Who Hire TheBoneman:
Parks and Recreation Centers
Marine Mammal Centers
A great many of the skeleton projects I do these days are done as group projects with schools, teachers, and students. Many times these are the culmination of an enthusiastic teacher working with me via e-mail and going as far as they can get, then calling me in to work with the students directly for the main portion of the articulation process. If you are desiring to do a skeleton project with your class, I will suggest getting the closest manual to what your potential project will be. This will give you a good idea of what you are getting yourself into. If after reading the manual you haven't been totally discouraged and you still want to keep going, you are welcome to contact me with further questions.
This email address is checked at least twice a day. If you wish to make an order, please go to the
individual manual pages or to "Ordering Options" for more information.
4048 El Sarino Court
Homer, Alaska 99603 USA
Alaska Time Zone: 9:00 AM in New York = 5:00 AM in Alaska
WE DO NOT SELL OR BUY SKELETONS OR BONES
These two skeletons were articulated by 15 students in Dillingham, AK, during a three day weekend college class I taught, which was open to high school students. During that same weekend, the students also butchered, de-fleshed and simmered another pair of animals for an upcoming class.