Bone Building Books
Step-by-Step Guides for the Preparation and Articulation of Animal Skeletons
By Lee Post (a.k.a. Boneman)
About the Author
Lee Post and the Bone Building Books
In the mid 90's, came a three-year high school/museum collaborative project in which I worked with high school students on first articulating a 41-foot Sperm Whale skeleton we had collected and cleaned, then half a dozen other skeletons. Since that project, my focus has been working mostly with schools and students and creating written manuals that can help others who might want to do similar projects. One teacher suggested that I was like the Pied Piper of bones, leading a trail of kids whom all wanted to do another skeleton project.
Today, I still live in Homer, Alaska, with my wife, Mary, who is my computer-graphic whiz and web site designer (so if you have any complaints about this site or how the manuals look you can complain to her). I still sell books in partnership with my sister, Sue Post, and our friend Jenny Stroyek, at the Homer Bookstore. That's my part-time day-job, but my real passion is bone building.
Photo by Durrell Kapan, CA. Academy of Science
As a kid, I was a junkie--a natural history junkie. I was passionate about the natural world and couldn't get enough of it. I collected everything related to that world I could get my hands on -- bugs, birds, feathers, rocks, shells, butterflies, and especially bones. These were labeled and displayed on the walls of my room until it looked like the aftermath of a bomb going off in a natural history museum storage room.
I spent several formative years on the East Coast where an ultimate treat was finding a new specimen or visiting a natural history museum. Of special interest was any exhibits having to do with bones, whether a full dinosaur skeleton or a single human bone.
Eventually, my family moved back to Alaska where I finished school and became a bicycle mechanic and eventually moved to the small town of Homer, Alaska where I became a bookseller. Homer had a great small natural history museum (The Pratt Museum) run by an inspiring director, Betsy Pitzman (who also was a bone enthusiast), and a wonderful crew of staff and volunteers. There, I articulated a 17-foot beaked whale the staff had collected and cleaned. This led to fifteen years of building up the osteology collection at the museum by salvaging, preparing, and often articulating animal skeletons.
My room when I was a kid
My Beautiful Daughter
It really wasn't that big. She was holding it close to the camera.
Who keeps my world running smoothly, my accomplice, wife, and webmistress.
Inside the house
It is a lot different from when I was a kid, but I still have skeletons and bones on the walls.
What we can see from our house.
The Homer Bookstore
My daytime job.
The Homer Bookstore
A peek inside
The Homer Bookstore
The Homer Bookstore
Favorite Pastime and Favorite Friends
It's tough holding that beach down - but someone has to do it.
These are super teacher friends and their beautiful daughter (and myself in the purple shirt), on a kayak trip.
Then it's off to another beach and another part of the bay.
Another kayak friend silently sneaking over to an otter (what looks like a log in front of her). The game is to try and get as close to the otter before it knows you're there.
Homer is known for it's spectacular scenery - it's halibut fishing - it's artists and authors and for this 4 mile long sliver of property that sticks out into the bay (The Homer Spit).
My summer passion is kayaking. This is the type of scenery on the other side of the bay.
Sometimes I kayak before it is summer - especially on days that look like this.
This is a kayaker's view of the end of the Homer Spit - taken during a not quite summer kayak trip.
A short hike on the other side of the bay gets you to this view.
The Homer Harbor on a nice day in the winter.
A view of the bay from the road past town.
A Homer beach on a typical summer day (when the sun is out). A sunny summer day is very atypical however.We got a couple of them last year.
An eagle with Mt Augustine - an active volcano in the background.
Eagles allow photographers to get quite close. . . .
. . . .combined with ever changing winter lighting - it is a photographers mecca for eagle photos.
The "Eagle Lady" Jean Keene fed the wild eagles for a period of time each winter, attracting sometimes several hundred eagles to the end of the Homer spit.Jean Keene passed away this winter of 2009. She shall be missed.
The bay has several hundred sea otters which sometimes congregate near the base of the Homer spit in the winter, feeding and resting on ice floes.
Sea Otters wrap themselves in kelp while they sleep to keep from drifting away. The game is to sneak right by them in a kayak without waking them. Sometimes it works.
Another volcano we can see from the Homer area---Mt Illiamna with some sea otters in front of it on an early spring day from the kayak.
Yes I'll take your picture too.
Harbor seals are common.
As the snow in the hills gets deeper and deeper, Many moose move into town. Some stay and have their calves here in the spring.
This is in my front yard which is in a suburban neighborhood in town.
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.