March 25, 2013
The Cleaning Tanks
'Whales and Nails' uses two different treatments to coax oil from bones and brighten them up to their natural color. First, bones are immersed in a "hot" water tank (180 degrees) for several days to pull grease and oil from inside the bones. Next, they are placed in a hydrogen peroxide "soak" tank for a few days which allows the degreasing process to continue and brightens them up to their natural, creamy color. Both tanks pictured below were constructed by Dan for this purpose. While these tanks had the capacity to hold most all of Whale 68's bones, a much larger tank had to be constructed for the skull. On the next blog post, we will take a look at how Dan actually built a large soak tank AROUND Whale 68's skull! Keep in mind that Whale 68 is a very large humpback whale, measuring 45.5 feet in length! Her skull alone measures 14 feet in length!