Preserving a shark jaw requires proper cleaning and maintenance to prevent decay and ensure the jaw remains in good condition. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to preserve a shark jaw:
Materials You’ll Need:
- Shark jaw
- Bucket or container
- Mild detergent or dish soap
- Soft-bristle brush or toothbrush
- Bleach (household bleach with no additives)
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- Plastic or glass container with a lid
- Paper towels or clean rags
- Clear acrylic spray or varnish (optional)
- Safety Precautions:
- Begin by wearing rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your skin and eyes while handling the shark jaw and cleaning materials.
- Cleaning the Jaw:
- Fill a bucket or container with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or dish soap. Mix to create a soapy solution.
- Immerse the shark jaw in the soapy water and allow it to soak for a few hours or overnight to loosen any debris or organic matter.
- Scrubbing and Cleaning:
- After soaking, use a soft-bristle brush or a toothbrush to gently scrub the jaw’s surfaces, including the teeth and gums. Be cautious not to damage or break the teeth.
- Pay special attention to removing any remaining tissue, algae, or dirt from the jaw. Rinse the jaw thoroughly with clean water to remove soap residue.
- Bleaching the Jaw:
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing one part household bleach with nine parts water in a well-ventilated area. Do not use bleach with additives, scents, or colors.
- Immerse the shark jaw in the bleach solution. The bleach will help disinfect and whiten the jaw.
- Check the jaw regularly, as the time needed for bleaching depends on the size and condition of the jaw. Small jaws may take a few hours, while larger ones may require several days.
- Rinsing and Neutralizing:
- Once the jaw has reached the desired level of whitening, remove it from the bleach solution.
- Rinse the jaw thoroughly with clean water to remove any residual bleach. This step is essential to neutralize the bleach and prevent further deterioration.
- Pat the shark jaw dry with paper towels or clean rags. Ensure that it is completely dry to prevent mold or mildew growth.
- Preservation (Optional):
- If you want to further protect the shark jaw, you can apply a clear acrylic spray or varnish to seal and preserve it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, typically by spraying a thin, even coat over the surface.
- Store the shark jaw in a clean, dry, and dust-free environment. If possible, display it in a way that prevents direct exposure to sunlight, as prolonged sunlight can cause fading and damage.
Regularly inspect and clean the shark jaw as needed to ensure its long-term preservation. Properly preserved shark jaws can make unique and fascinating displays or collectibles.