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Found 6 results

  1. Interesting Bug # 1

    Let's go on what may turn out to be an extended journey. It is my intention to try to take pictures ever few hours along the way while prepping this little guy. In a few minutes I will post a picture of an unprepared trilobite exactly as found with no preparation whatsoever. What is a bit exciting about this one is that it is actually my bug and eventually when finished I will actually get to keep it for my own collection. Unfortunately for me, most of the really nice bugs and crinoids I prep end up not being mine, but at least I get the chance to experience them and see them come alive in person. I actually have 4 bugs and a nice plate sitting beside me right now that are not mine and waiting for a couple more to be done before packaging off to the owner. To set the scene a piece of matrix a little larger than my fist was split very cleanly into two pieces. The trilobite was cleanly dissected into two pieces across the split as are many trilobites when they are found. I am very hopeful from what I can see that the trilobite will be essentially complete; but that is really only known by the fossil faerie's at this time. You know those little gnomes that during the night hide the fossils for us to find, But they often try to trick us with those pesky partials. To help you out a little bit I have placed the picture with the trilobite roughly in the correct orientation. Eventually the two halves will be reunited by using a super thin cyanoacrylate that is made for Radio Controlled airplanes. So to answer a prep question that is often asked , Do you glue first then prep or prep then glue. The answer is it depends on the type of split you have, the amount of matrix to be removed and the quality of preservation of the fossil. In about 80% of the fossils I will do some prep first , then glue. I specifically want to see that I do in fact have the correct orientation for the fossil. I am also at this point trying to determine how complete the bug is. You do not want to spend 100 hours on a bug only to discover it is a partial. I once prepped 3 Oklahoma dicranurus for someone and sadly they all turned out to be partials. For example once you determine where the cephalon or pygidium is, go to where you think the opposite end of the big should be and see if it is there. If you are dealing with a spiny bug like a dicranurus look to see if the free cheeks are there and check that the long pygidial spines are there. If they are not you may be better off investing the 100 plus hours it might take in a better specimen. You will often find partially prepped dicranurus for sale that have been abandoned at the point the preparator discovered that something that should be there is missing. It takes almost as long to prep a dike missing say 1 free cheek as a perfect one, but the price difference between the two bugs when finished could easily be double. It is very important that you know the anatomy of the bug you are prepping. If I am working on a less common bug I will always have a picture of that bug at my prep station . However, reality is that I end up prepping the same 5 types most of the time (eldredgeops, greenops, ceraurus, isotelus, flexicalymene) as this is generally what I and my clients actually find. If it is a spiny bug you must know where the spines are likely to be on your matrix or you will without any doubt destroy them. If the bug is say a phacopid then you are off to clear sailing and can use very different methods to get down to the bug. I for instance on a non spiny trilobite will often use a Dremel with a diamond wheel to quickly remove a lot of the overlying matrix. I would never do this on a spiny trilobite. So without further rambling delay here is the mystery bug prior to any preparation. I am not at this point going to even tell you what the bug is, but if you would like to hazard a guess then send me a PM and I will let you know if you are correct Now here is the same side of the bug after about 15 minutes of preparation. At this point I have not discovered anything that would lead me to believe that the bug will not be complete. Note that you can see black sharpie lines on the left. I always put sharpie lines across the split to make it easy to line them back up when time to reassembly. You cannot see it here but all sides have them If you have anything interesting that you would like to consider having prepped you can always send me a PM and we can discuss. My next plan of attack is to spend about 15 minutes on the opposite side of the split. Following that I will come back to this side and use a Pferd MST31 air scribe with the fine stylus to remove some of the matrix well away from the actual fossil. Note that at this point I already know where the head and tail should be on the fossil and the correct orientation that I am going to prep from.
  2. How to choose abrasive media?

    Hello! I have recently acquired an air eraser to prep fossils out with, and I was just wondering how to choose an appropriate abrasive for the task. I have a few different items I would like to prep out, but most specifically are some horn corals and hexagonaria from the Devonian Coralville formation.
  3. I bought a non-working Comco MB-101 air abrasion unit. I've got everything working but have a question about the foot pedal or the lack of one. The unit did not have a power cord or foot pedal when I bought it. I contacted Comco they no longer have a parts list or manual. I would like to know the manufacture name and model of the foot pedal if anyone has one to reduce my chances of picking the wrong one. I'm currently using a toggle switch. Thanks, Hoffy
  4. Hello all. I recently picked up this Airbraisive which has a quite large "industrial" nozzle that's orifice is WAY to large for me ! I'm using 44u CrystalMark dolomite as well as some CrystalMark soda. Any thoughts on upgrading the handpiece and or just nozzles. Sizes, etc.? Thanks in advance.
  5. Air Abrasives

    Hello, can anyone tell me what the difference in performance is between a non pressurised and a pressurised micro air abrasive unit please? Also, some of the more expensive micro blasters can run at 185 psi so how powerful a compressor would be needed? I mean most workshop tanks wont hold this pressure for long surely?
  6. Well I finally managed to acquire 5 kilograms of aluminum tri hydrate Al(OH)3 with 100% guaranteed to be smaller than 200 mesh and 90% guaranteed to pass through a 300 mesh screen. The tests I ran were as is; unscreened out of the bag. The tests were using a COMCO air abrasion unit at varying presures from 2 PSI to 90 PSI. I paid $35 for 5 kilograms (about 11 pounds). The material seems to be very consistant in size definately under 50 microns. A small particle size is good for delicate prep work. The data sheet that came with the product rates it as non hazardous which is a very good thing , regardless I always wear a mask and operate in a negative pressure blast cabinet. The material I got appears to be pure with 0% silicates according to the data sheet.Silicates are a bad thing. Nasty to breath and tough on fossils Let me state that overall I was disappointed for the type of work that I am generally doing. I had heard so many good things about this media on the forum here. So what did it do well. It was an excellent media for cleaning Penn Dixie trilobites . It appears to be harder than the matrix but softer than the actual trilobite. I would give it a 10 out of 10 for cleaning fossils from the Windom formation. The trilobite practically cleans itself. It did very well at low pressure 2 to 10 PSI with a small nozzel (.018) cleaning black shale from New York state that contains triarthus and another sample from Ontario containing psuedogygites. At higher pressure (40 to 60 PSI and a larger nozzel (.025) it cuts through the shale like butter, works good on delicate shale comparable to the results I get from pure calcium carbonate. Veralum formation grey matrix, James Dick Quarry Brechin, Ontario. Does a good job removing grey matrix seems reasonably gentle on tan coloured flexicalymene trilos. However will not remove at all the tan matrix that is found at the very top of the quarry that you can find crinoid stems in. Dolomite will remove this tan colored matrix albeit slowly. Whitby formation, St. Mary's cement quarry Bowmanville Ontario. Cuts through matrix slowly but does not appear to cut the isotelus trilobite at all. Looks like will be an excellent abrasive for material from this quarry . Ran test at 60 PSI. Needed a bit higher PSI to take matrix off at an acceptable speed. Harrigan Formation trilobites Clarita, Oklahoma (tan coloured). Cuts through matrix very easily. A bit more forgiving on actual caramel coloured trilobites and shells than dolomite. Arkona, Ontario .... Widder, Hungry hollow and Arkona formation trilobites works ok but not as well as the 44 micron dolomite that I normally use on these. For a fragile trilobite it may be preferencial to the dolomite as it does not cut quite as well. But it is much slower in the 30 to 40 PSI range which I generally use on these trilos. Waldron Shale worked very well semes to be harder than the matrix but softer than the typical caramel colored trilobite. would rate it a 8 out of 10 , does not cut the matrix as well as dolomite but seems more forgiving on the actual trilobite. Heres the bad news for me . It will not touch the Moroccan trilobites in the dark grey matrix or the tan matrix . Tried tests on material from 3 different localities. The matrix is definately harder than the aluminum trihydrate (3.0 on the Mohs scale). Even as high as 95 PSI observing under high magnification their was no noticeable abrasion. Dolomite at a Mohs hardness of 3.5 will work on this matrix though it is by no means a speedy process. I will try to update this post with some tests on samples from other localities as I get a chance.
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