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  1. Hi all! Thought I would start documenting my trilobite preps. Here is #1, a Calymene breviceps from the Waldron shale, Indiana, and my first real prep. This is about 15 hours using hand tools primarily and a dremel for clearing some of the original matrix. My fingertips are sore, but lots of fun was had! Very exciting to see this feller reemerge after 400,000,000 years! Now to track down some other unprepared trilobites…. Trickier part of the operation…
  2. Ptychodus04

    Yet Another Phytosaur Prep

    Here’s another phytosaur I’m starting work on. This one is missing some pieces and we are hopeful the collector can find more this spring. Until then, I have some work cut out for me. It may not look like much now but there appears to be a fully inflated skull under all that sandstone! I’ve already found where some of the random pieces in the trays did and have begun gluing and consolidating. I can see the occipital poking out of the back of the block as well! Finally, a phytosaur that is more prep than puzzle. There are fresh breaks on the maxillae where more sh
  3. Well, I’m finally getting to dig into my truckload of fossils from my Wyoming trip with @RJB so it’s my turn to open up a prep thread. I spent a couple hours today poking around to find the perfect fish to start with. The 18” layer never disappoints. This good sized Diplomystus has 2 Knightia on top of it. I’m going to try to save both but I’m concerned that the right hand one is covering most of the Diplo’s skull. If that’s the case, the little guy will have to go! This is after about 90 minutes of scribe work.
  4. I had a bit of spare time today so I thought I'd prep a trilobite or two from my trip around the Confusion and House Ranges of Utah. (See trip report here) I had found this guy in someone else's throwaway pile probably after it came out chipped and subsequently scraped. I didn't think it was worth leaving out in the elements so I brought it home. Here's a before picture. After 4 hours of swapping between dental picks, wire brushes, toothpicks, and various Dremel attachments here is my final product. It's not perfect at all bu
  5. What a difference prep can make! I was recently sent a picture from back home of my first trilobite fossil, received as a childhood gift. This picture really drove home for me how much detail can be lost in prep, and how being able to really look into a pair of 400,000,000 year old eyes is such an incredible experience. It’s kind of a bummer to think of how many lovely critters get scraped away for the sake of quick sale- much admiration for fossil preppers. I like to think that this one was a beginner’s first shot, and that they have gone in to liberate many more bugs from the limes
  6. Looking to buy a stereo microscope to use with an air scribe and air eraser (in a blast cabinet) on echinoids and ammonites. This one seems very reasonably priced, but I have no idea what to look for in terms of quality. Will the image be blurry? Will I not be able to find any parts for this? https://www.vevor.com/collections/stereo-microscope/products/vevor-binocular-stereo-microscope-zoom-microscope-7x-45x-dual-arm-boom-with-led (price is about $250) If needed, I'll go ahead and buy an AMScope (dual boom, trinocular, and light ring) which comes to $576.94 on their site (seem
  7. Now that hockey season has ended and the lab is warm again, and perhaps due to my new found extra time in isolation, I am embarking on documenting my prep projects. I thought I would start the prep season off with something easy that should turn out fairly nice. Please welcome my new little friendly Oreodont, Miniochoerus gracilis. It came into my collection in the summer of 2013 and has sat jacketed in a box until today. This evening I concentrated primarily on consolidation and bulk matrix removal with an ARO, and still have a ways to go. The plan is to prepare the "down" side in the ho
  8. snolly50

    Oreodont Prep Series

    Forum member Ray Eklund recently offered several pieces of White River mammal material at auction to benefit the Forum. I was pleased to win one of these and received it a little over two weeks ago. I now hope to post a series attempting to show the progress in preparation. This fossil is the skull and lower jaw of Merycoidodon gracilis. This is one of the smaller Oreodonts, about the size of a modern red fox. Ray provided the following collection information: Brule Member of the White River Formation, Sioux County, Nebraska. Here are photos provided by Ray, posted for the auction. The r
  9. Ptychodus04

    Iron Powder Abrasive

    I have started prepping Green River fish for one of the quarries in Kemmerer and one of their requirements was that I switch to using iron powder for my abrasive. It's expensive but I wish I had done this years ago! It took a fair bit of cleaning to get the baking soda out of my dust collection system (you don't really want them mixing together). Iron powder is slightly harder than soda but is more rounded. It removes the matrix really quickly with less damage to the specimen. I can operate at significantly lower pressures as well. The softer bits of matrix come off easily at 8 psi.
  10. I threw together a guide to manual prep tools for one of my students who is interested in trying her hand at some peck and scratch work on fossils. Figure I'd share a version of it with yinze. (mildly edited to comply with forum regs) Manual Prep Tools- Earth Sciences Basic "starter tools" You probably have some stuff around your home already that will work for basic prep- large sewing needles, various nails and screws, and even old drill bits. Basically, if it is sharp and pointy, you can probably remove some rock! Hardened nails, like blued fin
  11. So this is the first prep I've attempted with my new Dremel (with specialised tips for fossils/rocks). The ammonite is from Saltwick Bay in Yorkshire. I chose this as my first practice piece as I thought that it was going to be pretty bashed up inside so would be a good one to say 'oh well' if/when I make mistakes. Sadly I now think it could have been quite nice had I saved it for when I have more experience! Anyway, to my inexperienced touch the matrix felt very sticky, with practically none of the matrix popping off nicely. I felt like I was having to carve out the ammonite and t
  12. Fossil Fen

    Lobster Prep Advice

    Hello All, I came across this fossil at a local rock and gem store and I'm having a go at preparing it. Apparently it is from Indonesia and I believe is a Thalassina, although with the spindle like legs I haven't seen anything that looks like an exact match. Here's my question; the fossil is covered with a sticky coarse sandstone, and I'm wondering how much of the matrix I should leave between joints in the tail and between the legs on the main body. I'm not sure if removing too much matrix will just cause the fossil to fall apart, but I suspect it might. Has anyone had
  13. Ill be working on a pretty big fossil and wanted to know any differences between paraloid b - 72 and paleo bond stabilizer . I've used paranoid on a few things but have no experience with paleobond stabilizer. Are they used the same ? Does paleo bond need any mixing ?
  14. I have a few really nice fossils from the White River Formation of northeastern Colorado that I need to prep, and given I am a beginner at fossil prep I would really like to gain some advice and guidance from people with experience do I don’t accidentally damage the fossils. The first fossil is an Oreodont skull. The skull is mostly intact, and I was able to extract it from the field without using any glue or stabilizer or consolidant or anything like that, so this fossil is in its “natural state.” The zygomatic arch and upper tooth row are crumbling, but
  15. fossilhunter21

    Fossilhunters fish prep

    I am not great at fossil prepping but I thought I might keep you guys updated on how my prep is going. This one is a challenge, the matrix is so hard it broke the tip off of my xacto knife. I have been working on this for 6-7 hours.
  16. Hello Fossil Forum, Thank you all for the fantastic information I've already been able to find on prep tools and overall prep lab requirements. I'm in the investigation phase right now and am poised to purchase my first air scribes as an upgrade to the electric engraver I've been using so far. My question is this; for any of the Canadian experts out there, do you have any suggestions on where to look for tools and supplies that can be delivered easily within Canada? There are a lot of great retailers out there, but they all seem to be located in the USA or UK, are there any Canadia
  17. Fish aren’t the only things I can prep (although recent posts may appear that way). I just wrapped up these trilobites for a fellow TFF member. All in, they took 5.5 hours. The larger one required significant consolidation as it was horribly cracked.
  18. PrehistoricWonders

    Air Scribes

    Hi all, I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on 1. air scribes you’ve found are good for fossil prep, and 2. All the parts needed for Scribes. I’m not quite sure all the parts needed for a scribe, I know you need the scribe itself and an air compressor, but I don’t know beyond that. P.s; the fossils I’ll be working on will be Green River fish, for the most part.
  19. Ptychodus04

    Crab Prep

    I took a break from working in contract preps last night and spent an hour with the Super Jack attacking the crab that I got from @Doctor Mud. This far, the crab doesn’t appear to be sticky or covered in calcite.
  20. Its fossil Friday, so share a pic of your latest fossil acquisition, or prep. This is my latest prep project, a large Mioplosus from the Green River fm of Wyoming. Its not 100% finished but getting very close. Sadly it had already lost 1/2 to 2/3 of the tail before I found it, it has some damage to the rear dorsal fin, and the original break/exposure was through the head so it will take extra work to remove the glue used for an improvised field repair. I did learn a good lesson and will be bring proper consolidates and glues when I go fishing this year.
  21. Jurassicz

    Bad Trilobite split

    I split this trilo from a rock, Some shell got stuck on the negative. How do I fix this? Is the Trilobite destroyed? Should I glue the Trilobite back on the rock? How do i get the shell back on the trilo? Is it normal that shell can come off Trilobites? Trilobite head Negatives with shell stuck
  22. I have been trying my hand at prepping for a few months now. Started with some nice air scribes, then tried air abrasion. I bought a cheap badger airbrush and threw tons of media at fossils. To me, it seemed that no matter what the pressure or sand agent, I saw absolutely no results. So, I bought a AEC and had it overnighted, hoping I was just using the wrong tool. Well, absolutely I was using the wrong tool. The moment I got the AEC up and running, I finally understood why it's called an air eraser. Slowly, but surely, the tough dolemite matrix melted away, as if it was being miraculou
  23. Jurassicz

    Fossil prep and dust

    So i prep with hand tools. Mostly chalk and limestone. But i am worried about the dust coming off the rocks. I spray the rocks with water so dust wont come up. But im not sure if that works. Do i need a mask?
  24. So i got alot of trilobites that i would like to prep. But i only have a dremel and hand tools. But i dont think a dremel would be good for trilobites. Most of them are in limestone from sweden. Mostly kinnekulle. Im scared of doing damage to the trilobites with hand tools. As i cant get air tools. I have sharp nail vises and a exacto knife and a optivisor. Also the matrix can sometimes be soft and easy to prep and sometimes it can be super hard
  25. Big44g

    Question on Fish Prep

    I have a questions on how to properly prep Fish fossils. I collected the attached fish from the green river formation near Kimmerer WY a few years ago. I have not done anything to the sample, I collected it, returned home and displayed it. How does one properly look for other fish in the matrix? I can see very small parts of other fish in the sample, but do not want to do anything to the sample until I get a better understanding on how to prep fish fossils. Thanks for the help
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