If you are not confident removing the jaw from the shark’s head yourself, then I can do this for you. The head will need to be thawed out when delivered.
When removing the shark’s jaw from the head, please rinse it well and freeze it straight away in plastic bags to ensure the jaw is as fresh as possible when I receive it. This will ensure a much better result. The longer the jaw is left unfrozen, the more chance it will deteriorate and that will need to be corrected later on with extra repairs.
When removing the shark jaws, be particularly careful when cutting around the lower flanges. Although nicks and cuts can be repaired, it is best to avoid damage in the first place.
The Star of the Cleaning Process
Once I receive the jaws, I soak them in my special solution for 24 hours to soften the jaw and remove some of the bloodstains on the cartilage.
I look for any damage to the jaw and take photos, looking for cuts, holes, broken cartilage and any missing teeth. Both mako and tiger shark jaws inevitably come with broken teeth and can be repaired if the angler wishes to complete the set. The missing or broken teeth are replaced with an exceptional quality replica using dental folding techniques and materials.
The process of removing the flesh from the underlying cartilage is a delicate and time-consuming process requiring patience, sharp blades and an eye for detail.
Whitening and Drying the Jaws
After the flesh is removed, the jaw is washed again, any remaining blooded scrubbed away and the raws are rinsed again to prepare for the whitening solution. The whitening solution both whitens and disinfects the jaws. Depending on the size of the jaws and their condition, they are left in the solution between 1 and 5 days.
After whitening, the jaws are dried on a board in the final position – natural open position – and kept in place with ties. The drying will take about one month altogether.
The Final Touch Up
After the jaws are dried they are examined for any cuts, cracks or holes that may have appeared during the drying process. Any missing or damaged teeth are also replaced.
The final check involves sanding to remove any imperfections, and three coats of non-yellowing, non-glossy taxidermy lacquer that will protect the jaws for years to come.