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Found 275 results

  1. I just finished prepping this fossil crab, a tumidocarcinus giganteus I found here in New Zealand. Still using the one air scribe while I save up for a microjack I tried my hand at prepping both side this time, man that ventral takes ages to do!
  2. Hi there I recently purchased a Albertasaurus tooth. A portion is in a matrix and there are some broken off pieces. This would be my first attempt a putting a fossil back together. If you could provide any input on 1. if it would devalue it by doing it, 2. how I should do it, 3. and what tools or glue or putty I should use. If you could dumb down the language for me that would be appreciated, like I said this is my first time!
  3. ParkerPaleo's White River Prep

    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 hopes of a beautiful orbit and zygomatic arch. I did notice a cross section of vertebrae on the rear of the block so there is probably some neck attached as well. I'm hoping there is enough matrix below the jaws to make a nice pedestal to sit on as well.
  4. Allosaurus tooth

    Recently received back from my prepper a 2.2 inch allosaurus tooth. Here is the before and after. Big difference. At first I thought that the tip was missing but it turns out that it was natural feeding wear! Extra bonus.
  5. Ammonites!!!

    I finished up a prep of a nice double ammonite block that I got from the illustrious @RJB as part of a larger trade for a trailer load of smoker wood last year. I think Ron said these were from the Pierre Shale. Is that right Ron? If so, does anyone know the ID? I don’t know these ammonites well. Here they are, happily atop my antique dental cabinet. Don’t judge my photography too harshly.
  6. Hi everyone I've made a time-lapse of my prep of a recent crab I found here in New Zealand. It's one of the Tumidocarcinus Giganteus ones. I don't have a scribe for the fine detail yet, but got quite a bit of it exposed. Hope you enjoy it
  7. Im looking for some advice on alternative methods of removing excess super glue. This is a piece i have been prepping that has a lot of cracks running through it. I have been applying super glue In the crack on the outside of the concretion, then prepping down and exposing the desired area. The glue holds the cracked bone in place but its hard to judge from the outside how much glue to apply. This often results in excess build up on the bone. Typically i would use acetone to dissolve unwanted preservative or small amounts of glue but some of these build ups are rather thick. It was suggested that i can use air abrasion to remove super glue but i don't have a unit and my buddy's that do are not really taking visitors right now. So im looking for some alternative methods for removing build ups of glue. Im hoping some of the cleaver folks here may have some helpful suggestions. Nick
  8. fish are freakin hard to prep!

    I am always eager to try new things and develop or expand my skills. I've been putting in a lot of hours doing final prep on Hell Creek bone, and frankly, thats easy compared to these fish! I recently bought some un-prepped green river slabs from Ptychodus04. Since the weather and pandemic have put a halt to most things I began trying my hand at prepping these. Such a difference from working big dino bones! The fish bones are like fossilized hairs and unbelievably fragile. The matrix (on most of these) is extremely soft which makes clearing easy with a scribe, but also easy to blow it out. Using a soda blaster is a little more gentle, but still easy to blow out the fossil as soon as the matrix is gone. The bone details are so fine, I can understand how having a stereo microscope (along with a micro-jack scribe) would make this type of prep a lot easier. I think I did OK on my first fish. I'm scared to try and clear the spine any more because the bones are so thin and fragile. Then the second fish is in a harder matrix (and deep), but from what I've cleared so far, it seems to be a in a lot better condition. I'm afraid I may wear out my scribe exposing it though, LOL.
  9. My Collection/Work Space

    With more time around the house than usual these days, I decided to finally take some pictures of my fossil storage solution and workspace. My space is towards the back of our attached garage, which manages to stay fairly temperate year round, only dropping into the mid-40 degrees Fahrenheit through most of the winter, and I have a space heater too if needed. An old Ikea table serves as my general work table for fossil prepping and other projects. My other prep tool is a chest freezer, purchased last summer for the primary purpose of freeze-thawing Mazon Creek concretions year round. If needed we could keep some food in there too, but so far it has just been my "rocks" as my wife calls them. I am currently working my way through my bucket of Chowder Flats concretions from 2018. My primary storage solution was also acquired last summer- this vintage steel card cabinet was purchased from an Illinois state government surplus auction. It needed a little clean up, but it is very solid and the drawers are designed to hold a great amount of weight. And I love the way it looks! The library I work at is full of this style of mid-century steel furniture and office equipment, and I have developed a great fondness for it. The top drawer contains Mazon Creek concretions from Pit 11, the Mazon River, and Chowder Flats, along with concretions from the Chieftain no.20 mine site in Vigo County, Indiana. The next drawer is mostly full of Pennsylvanian compression flora and a few concretions from Vermilion County, Illinois- I am working on reorganizing it right now. The third drawer is my finds from the Oglesby, IL roadcut that has been well-documented on this site- Pennsylvanian marine fossils, especially brachiopods and fish/shark material. Next is a mostly empty drawer- so far it just has more Mazon Creek finds collected with ESCONI from the Braceville spoil pile. Finally, the bottom drawer has a mixture- SilurIan fossils from Kankakee County, IL, Pennsylvanian black shale fossils from La Salle County, a few Ordovician and Pennsylvanian fossils from Indiana, and a large Favosites coral I found on a family trip somewhere when I was a kid. I have a few smaller containers with other fossils- one box with all of the other fossils from various sites I collected up through college, and a plastic tote with small shell fossils from a new Pennsylvanian marine site I found last year, but every thing else is in the cabinet. I also have some paleo-themed decorations up too, including my favorite childhood toy, the Playskool Definitely Dinosaurs Ultrasaurus.
  10. Gotta start somewhere

    Hi. Total newbie here. But interested in what I see as I have been lurking this site for 5 years or so. I have acquired some basic prep tools and want to practice a bit of matrix removal to develop a feel for the rock and tools before I start anything important (to me at least). I picked up a few rocks yesterday from the Nanaimo Formations, upper Cretaceous, Campanian the map says. It would be handy to know what I am looking at so I could Google some images and know what to look for as I uncover things. If anyone would care to identify a few things, I would be grateful.
  11. Stages of fossil prep

    I love the process of discovery, removal and cleaning of fossils. I enjoy just looking through my picture of them as they see daylight for the first time. So, in that thought (and since I'm stuck at work and cant be in my prep lab) I thought I would share the piece I have been working on lately. This is a rib head of Edmontosaurus as uncovered and before removal. Hell Creek fm, Butte Co, South Dakota. Below on the right you can see a main rib section just started to be uncovered. The main section was actually found first, and then the rib head was found as I began removing the covering matrix. The the rib head as best as could clean by manual methods. You can see it has large glued-matrix cracks, and the surface has a "dull" appearance caused by micro matrix and glue filling the details. You can also see the extensive pre-deposition erosion with lots of cancellous tissue exposed. This is after air-abrasion with bicarb. I had to use an air-scribe to remove tough bits of CA and matrix. The back side (not shown) had a large area (almost all of it) covered with CA. I had to use acetone on Q-tips and a dental scraper to clean most of it off. Although it seemed that after treatment, even if a layer remained, it was fairly easy to blast off with the bicarb. Although a lot more natural detail is now present, so is the extent of erosion and cracking. Before the last step, I applied a good amount of PVA consolidate to help solidify the structure. I also worked down matrix that was glued inside the large cracks. I didnt remove it, just cleaned it down so there was room for the putty. The CA-matrix mix is a good stabilizer so I didnt see the need to remove it completely, especially since I probably would have split the fossil on accident. Then I began filling the cracks and holes with PaleoSculp. Lastly I put a layer of putty inside the "overhang" that was so badly damaged. I know there is a lot of artistry in applying epoxy putty, texturing, etc. I just happy to get a solid layer without breaking off a section of that thin crown. If you compare the first 2 images with last 2, you'll see a "finger" of bone sticking off right end, to the side. Thats a bit of that "crown" ridge. I removed it and I'm cleaning and separating to bits so they can be glued back in place correctly. A tiny detail, but since I have it, I felt I should keep it intact. I gave a lot of thought to recreating the missing tubercle (a bump off the top of the curve), but they change size and shape with different rib placement. I also wanted to recreate the missing tip of the head. But in the end I opted for "less is more" and decided to leave it as found. The next prep will be the rib main section. It doesnt have the exposed inner bone, but its highly fractured so I will have to separate lots of pieces, clean the matrix out before gluing back together. I'm really worried about its structural integrity, so I will probably blast the surface clean then consolidate before I begin working the cracks.
  12. Crazy glue or epoxy?

    Hi all. I was hoping to find a pinned set of notes on when and how to use the various glues available for strengthening weak pieces, or repairing fractured ones; but there doesn't seem to be one. Can anyone point out a great thread, or chime in here on what you use and why you choose it in a given situation? Thanks.
  13. My first test prep

    I finished the dust collection system in my prep station this morning so I had to put the tools to use and start practicing! In a nutshell, I LOVE AIR TOOLS!! I picked out one of my random BOBs collected over the years from the South Dakota Hell Creek fm. Typical of my digs, this one had a lot of surface CA and matrix adhering to it, but it was about as clean as I could get it by hand.. I started out by cleaning half of it with just the soda blaster. You can see in the picture that it was doing a phenomenal job. I wanted to get a pic that showed the condition before I worked over the entire piece (in case I ruined it LOL). OF course there were some spots that just wouldnt budge. So I started using the air scribe. So amazing! Watching those little stubborn spots and every other bit of matrix just blow away from the tiniest touch of the stylus. I left the associated bone bit attached with its matrix just because. It looks to be from a different animal, possibly some type of theropod as those often have the hard, shiny surfaces. Trying to clean out the exposed marrow was the most challenging. Lots of tiny flakes of it came off during cleaning, but to just look at the fossil you wouldnt know. One thing I did notice was that the media blaster can eat though a lot of soda in a short time! I finished out the piece by conserving it with a coat of PVA.
  14. Any suggestions on used stereo microscopes? Lens power? Depth of field? Lighting? Cost? Boom assembly? DIY? Thanks
  15. My prep station

    OK, since someone asked me about the prep station I am finalizing, I took took some pics today. To begin, I am working with the available space I have in my shed. I know its tight, but it fits and I'm not cramped. The only downside is that I will have to wear headphones while working. I put a lot of time, research and planning to make the most of the parts I have. For anyone thinking about taking this step, plan out EVERYTHING and price it all out, then probably add another 10% margin. I went the absolute cut-rate version of a prep station and I still have almost $1000 invested. The blast cabinet is from harbor freight. It was a pain putting together, but for the price I couldnt pass it up. If I went with a table-top model or built my own, I'd still have to build another bench and I probably would have spent more $$$$ in the long run. One of the last details yet to finish, is that I'm running the vacuum exhaust outside to prevent the chance of filling the air with micro dust. I have a weatherproof outlet cover it will feed through so that it can keep critters out when not in use. The compressor puts outs out 4GPM, but my tools only use about 1GPM so the volume is plenty adequate. I made the choice to runthe air through PEX piping after looking at all the options. The compressor feeds into the airline with a drop-leg for condensation. For the micro-blaster, I decided to go with a Vaniman Problast model. You can see a second condensation drop-leg running behind it. I didnt even install the included blast cabinet light, I read a ton reviews about how useless it was. I installed 2 LED flood lights to give plenty of illumination. I also ran a pigtail air line with a blowgun for clearing off my specimen, or view-glass, or lights, etc. I could also put on an air-scribe and switch between scribe and blaster without stopping. Using a cyclone dust management system. I dont have this mounted yet, its just mocked up at the moment. I plan to finish that tomorrow. I ran a vacuum line "Y" to the work bench as well. You can also see the switch which powers the box lights as well as a pigtail plug so I can connect the vacuum and turn it all on or off with a single switch. Dry air is very important while using scribes and blasters. This is my drier setup. Anything that gets past the 2 drop-legs, goes into 2 filters (particulate and water/oil) and then a desiccant drier. All that ends in a manifold for distribution. Adjustable vacuum hose on the work bench with a blast gate so I can select or close which ever vacuum line I need. I don't have a blast gate on the box yet. I'm going to have to fabricate a couple connections to make it work. Lastly is the work bench. Again, please excuse that its still filled with construction materials. I built the bench based on the existing remnants from the old shed I cannibalized to make this one. Annnnyway, I gave myself plenty of overhead, below, and bench top storage space. My flex-shaft dremil is ready, and I have an air line for scribe work. I plan on mounting it to a bracket to make it easier to connect to. Lastly is a lighted, magnifier for working on the finer details. A few more things left yet are sandbags for fragile items needing support (I have the sandbags, just need some clean sand), a cushioned mat for working at the blast cabinet, and a new work stool.
  16. Second Prep- Lessons Learned

    This is my second manual prep. Three partial brachiopod valves. Again, nothing special. I picked them up specifically to practice on. The middle valve is very fragile. Part of the valve broke off while prepping and the whole thing is ready to come off the base matrix. It wiggles like a loose tooth! No surprise, as the whole piece has cracks running through it; typical of the stratum. I also was beginning to uncover a bryozoan above the left most valve. I chose to stop as this was just for practice anyway. It will make a good addition to my son’s little collection. I realized after I was well into the prep that I had neglected to take progress pictures. Oh well... Mistakes made, and lessons learned, but I had fun along the way! Practice makes perfect! Things I learned... You need supporting matrix. I broke a couple of pieces from the edge of the valves because they were undercut and very little matrix was there to support it as I applied pressure to the top. “Sticky” matrix is the bane of my existence! Lol. Seriously. That stuff is a pain in the neck! Matrix composition can vary even in the same rock. Some pieces flake off. Some spots are hard. Some are soft. Others drive you crazy! Patience! I already knew this, but it bears repeating. Remember to take pictures. Here are a couple of before shots and one completed picture. The only pictures I remembered to take... Before: After:
  17. Jigsaw Tusk

    I have been lucky to find pieces of an ivory tusk (mammoth or mastodon) in the Peace River approx. 2 weeks ago. I have taken some photos to show what it looked like when found, two after consolidating showing how some large pieces fit together and then photos of the many loose pieces. I will have a nice jigsaw puzzle to work on once I consolidate the remaining pieces. I am hoping for suggestions on what glue or adhesive to use to try and rebuild the tusk. I have researched options that included super glue, gorilla glue and other adhesives. Which is best and easiest to work with? Photo #1 - tusk when found Photo #2 - three largest pieces consolidated with acetone and vinac. Photo #3 = tusk pieces properly aligned . Photos #4 & #5 - puzzle pieces to be consolidated and used to rebuild the tusk as best I can I will post progression photos and the final product when done. Thanks for any help on the adhesive/glue question.
  18. So i managed to acquire this lovely cluster of ammonites, but the largest, and most impressive one, is stuck right in the middle. I’m not sure if I should even attempt to try and get it out, seeing how many ammonites there are around it. Does it seem like a good idea? If so, how should i go about it?
  19. Fossil Preperation Help?

    So I had previously bought an electric diamond tip Dremel but I want to upgrade to a faster way to break off matrix because at this rate fossils are taking me 8+ hours for a mediocre job. I am now looking seriously into air scribes because their efficiency and ease on my hands and time. So I have a budget of around 400$ (total for the airscribe and compressor) I was looking into the Chicago pneumatic CP9361 which is 260$ on amazon but its from Hungary and the reviews say sometimes it doesn't work. And I saw another for 900$. So I am confused on how much this should cost. If I am going to spend nearly 260 I want it to work. I have decided that maybe I should play it safer and try out a less expensive scribe *because I still need to buy a compressor* and this is my next option (see photos) My questions are 1. Does this look like it would be slightly faster than a 20$ electric Dremel. 2. Do you think this will be a good tool for basic fossil prep work. 3. Where can I buy a compressor? (budget of 200$) 4. What should I look for in an air compressor to fit the needs of this scribe. Thank you for any feedback, hopefully someone can help out a novice like me
  20. Mini Blast Box

    What do you do if you have a slab that is too big for your abrasive cabinet and you live in Texas where the weather never cooperates? You build a miniature blast cabinet that sits on top of the slab. The box is 8”x10” and is 7.5” tall. This allows my microscope to sit on the slab and come into focus without hitting the top of the glass. It is lit by 4 foot long LED strip lights taped to the outside of the glass. The bottom has a bit of tee shirt stapled tomorrow it to make a bit of a seal and the side where my arm goes in has the sleeve of the shirt stapled on. The other side has a hose connector for the dust collection system. It’s not a perfect seal so I still have to wear my respirator but on a day like today (30’s and snowing) It lets me work on a slab that needs abrasive and is really big.
  21. My First Prep- Simple but Fun

    I guess this is my first prep. It's nothing spectacular, but it's what I would consider my first official go at it. I specifically picked up this fossil in the field in order to try my hand at prep work. It's a single ventral/pedicle valve of the brachiopod Hebertella sp. I figured it would be something good to start with as it is small, a shape I am familiar with, and a fairly common find in the Upper Ordivician exposure that I have been hunting. So if I messed it up I wouldn't be too broken up about it. The matrix is brittle and flakes away easily. Before Photos: I had previously purchased a cheap engraver, but it was cheap for a reason, and it broke as I was trying it out, so I resorted to hand tools. I had a variety of dental picks and a heavy duty scratch awl that I used to prep this little guy. The scratch awl was used to remove the bulk of the matrix, but I switched over to dental picks as I got in close to the fossil. I also used a lighted magnifying lamp to help with the up close work. Some progression pictures as I worked to remove the matrix: This is the point at which I ran out of time and had to stop. It's not completely finished, but the bulk of the matrix has been removed. Overall, I think it went fairly well. Using the hand tools had a sense of familiarity to me as I used to hand carve wood a lot, and still do on occasion. I know this wasn't the grandest prep ever, but it did give me a feel for how prepping is done. I enjoyed it. It was relaxing and a bit therapeutic. I think the next logical step would be using air abrasion to clean up the plications. I have a cheap air abrasion tool that I can use, but I don't have a collection box so I would need to do it outdoors with a mask and plenty of ventilation. I'm curious if there is another option to air abrasion. I thought about using a rotary tool and various brushes, but I figured the brushes would polish away the valve. I wonder what they used "back in the day"? Anyway... Comments, suggestions, constructive criticism is welcome!
  22. I was given ~$400 USD on Christmas, earmarked for an air scribe and air compressor. I've read many posts on the site about what to get, but many are almost a decade old now (that's so hard to believe!) My use-case would be limestone fossils (primarily ammonites or trilobites from North Texas / Oklahoma areas. I've seen recommendations for Chicago Pneumatic, a 8315B, Paleo-Tools, etc. What all do I need to get, assuming I'm starting with nothing? If I need to save more money, I'm willing to do so. I do have a 5 gallon cylinder shaped air-compressor, but assume I should get something bigger. Thanks all!
  23. Does anyone know where i can get a decent affordable air scribe for prepping? Something under $100 . Some of the ones ive seen are over that. Thanks
  24. Diprotodon Incisor

    @Jesuslover340 found this one on Monday. We jacketed it yesterday morning and I started prep last night. The exposed side is gone, but one side will display nicely still so that’s good. Going to finish it tonight. She got something even better than this nearby though, will be posting a thread on it soon I believe
  25. I have some phosphate crab nodules from the Isle of Sheppey that I've had for years. Haven't found a good way of prepping them yet. Tried various air tools (ME9300 and microjack) and air abrasive with limited success. Do any of you UK guys have any secrets you could share with me. Have one of the rarer spiney crabs that I would like to turn out good. Thanks for any help you can provide