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Storage System for Odoriferous Skeletal Material


The purpose of this container is to provide support for fragile, sometimes oily, skeletal material, and to combat offensive odors produced by these specimens through use of an adsorbent.


Tamsen Fuller
325 S.E. Alexander Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97333
Tel (504) 752-1475

Illustrations: Tamsen Fuller

Publication: 1992


The system consists of an open inner box containing the specimen and a packet of activated charcoal that fits into an outer support box (Fig. 1). The inner box can be removed from the outer box, and has sides that fold down for easy access.

Figure 1. Lift-out, blotter paper support holding a skeleton is placed in a box next to a container with activated charcoal.

Materials Tools Supplies

  • Acrylic rod
  • Activated charcoal, 6-14mesh
  • Drill and drill bits
  • pH neutral blotter paper
  • pH neutral paper board box or polypropylene box with lid
  • Polyethylene foam plank
  • Silk, open weave fabric


  1. Choose a suitable box such as a polypropylene box with a lid or a pH neutral, paper board box. Paper board boxes can be made in-house with a drop front so that the specimen support may be drawn, rather than lifted, from the box (See Confer, “Boxes from Paper-based Materials,” this volume).
  2. Make the support for the skeletal material from pH neutral blotter paper, with four fold-down sides (Fig. 2). This support can be replaced if it becomes contaminated with specimen oils. The blotter paper is relatively inexpensive and the container is easily made.

    Figure 2. Lift-out blotter paper support with fold-down sides.

  3. To make a container for the adsorbent, cut a hole in the center of a small piece of polyethylene foam plank (4-5in square) using a sharpened 2-3in diameter copper pipe (Fig. 3).
  4. Heat bond the cut foam onto a second piece of solid foam plank (Fig. 3).

    Figure 3. Adsorbent container.

  5. Fill the cavity with activated charcoal (Fig. 4).

    Figure 4. Activated charcoal is added to container.

  6. Cover the adsorbent container with silk crepeline pinned in place with pegs cut from a thin acrylic rod or other stable plastic (polypropylene or polyethylene) rod. The crepeline will prevent accidental spillage of the charcoal (Fig. 5).

    Figure 5. Attaching silk crepeline cover.

  7. Place the specimen on the blotter paper support and position it inside the box near the container filled with activated charcoal.


As an alternative, the container to hold the adsorbent may be made from a small polypropylene box with lid that has been drilled like a sieve for air circulation.

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