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Found 16 results

  1. I am going to feel bad if there is already a post with as much information as I am looking for, but I can't seem to find one. Essentially, I am having a hard time finding the proper consolidation materials. I have never prepped before, and I am going to be starting my first project this weekend. That being said, the extent of my knowledge of sealants comes from research on this forum. I am looking for the right materials to use (with or without acetone dilute) to keep my fossils from being damaged while working on some Moroccan matrix. I'm not finding anywhere reliable to purchase PVA B-15, Butvar, or anything of the sort. Is there a more easily accessible material I can work with? I need very little at this point in time, and not necessarily something expensive or overly high-quality as the items I will be working with are small and cheap. What are other alternatives that people use, and what are the benefits of each of them? I am eager to know all there is to know, and I've been slowly going down the list of each of the topics in this thread hoping to find what I'm looking for!
  2. Butvar-76

    Hi Everyone, I recently decided to start preserving all of my pleistocene fossils and feel that Butvar-76 would be the best option. My problem is I can't find it anywhere. I contacted the Florida Paleontological Society and they said they don't carry it anymore. They recommended I either use Duco Cement in acetone or to look on the Museum Service Corporation website. On the Museum Service Corporation website it says that Butvar-76 has been discontinued, but they have an equivalent called B08SY Resin. Here's what they have listed: Butvar Resins White, free flowing powders. Generally soluble in alcohols, acetone and aromatic hydrocarbons. Forms films similar to polyvinyl acetate and is suggested as picture varnishes. Widely used to waterproof textiles. The films resist degradation by sunlight and heat. Average molecular weight is 30-34,000. Butvar B-76 has been discontinued. B08SY Resin is considered an equivalent resin to Butvar B-76, from a different supplier. It utilizes the same Polyvinyl Butyral resin as Butvar B-76. B08SY resin has the same solubility as Butvar B-76, but has a smaller grain size. Contact Museum Services Corporation for additional information, or to acquire a sample for testing purposes. F4503-001 B08SY 1 kilogram $34.00 F4504-001 B-79 1 kilogram $31.09 F4505-001 B-90 1 kilogram $25.08 F4501-001 B-98 1 kilogram $46.12 Has anyone bought B08SY or know where I can still get Butvar-76? If not, are there any consolidants that you would recommend using instead?
  3. Butvar artifacts.

    Every time I use Butvar in acetone (10% w/v) on a fossil, I get a white milky residue that is very difficult to clean off. I was told that the relative humidity had to be below 50% to avoid the white residue, but in Florida that does not happen that often. Questions: 1) How can I pull off the white residue without damaging the mammal fossil (manatee skull)? 2) Will a 5-10% PVA solution in ethanol work better in a high humidity environment than Butvar? 3) Would dissolving Butvar in ethanol work better than in acetone for the white residue? Any help is appreciated. Thanks. TrilobiteAndrew
  4. Hello all, I am in the process of restoring 2 beige mammoth tooth, but before going on with a butvar dip, I was wondering if anyone has a good tip in order to enhance the natural colors of fossils. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  5. B-76 Wont Desolve

    Can anyone tell me why the B-76 is not dissolving in acetone? Is it supposed to be like this pic below? Alex
  6. Dispenser Bottle for Consolidants

    I found a great dispenser bottle for Butvar 76 dissolved in acetone from Nalgene: 60 ml/2oz LDPE drop dispenser bottle. I have used it for more than 5 years (stored inside) and have had not problems with evaporation, leakage or being unable to unscrew the bottle or open the top due to Butvar films. I do keep the bottle upright in a larger plastic container to catch any mishaps. I bought mine at REI in the camping section. I suppose that this bottle also would work with other consolidants/solvent combinations including those using ethyl alcohol. See chart for plastic containers and chemical/solvent compatibilities: http://www.shepherd.edu/wordpress-1/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/chemical_compatibility_for_nalgene_containers.pdf Note that LDPE containers are not recommended for storing acetone at higher temperatures: 50 deg C. I have had no problems storing acetone (and dilute HCl) at room temperatures at less than 90 deg F. For a great source of small quantities of consolidants to use in this bottle see my post:
  7. I found a US source, Talas, for small quantities of Butvar and Paraloid consolidants in 1 and 5 lb quantities. http://www.talasonline.com/Butvar-Resin For a great bottle to use with Butvar and probably other consolidants see my post:
  8. Hi folks. I left my PVA beads at home. This is what I normally use as a consolidant. PVA beads in acetone. Anyone think of a readily available substitute? Something that could be available at the hardware store and is reversible with acetone or another solvent. Cane across a shop selling plastic beads as stuffers for toys etc. I wonder if polystyrene would work as it dissolves in acetone, might not be as hard as PVA.... Any ideas?
  9. Butvar questions

    Hey Guys, I'm working on trying to mix up some butvar and acetone to put on a tusk tip fragment thats cracking/falling apart. I have had some butvar in a plastic ziplock in the garage for about 3-4 years and never used it. I worked thru the math from some of the other threads and decided that 1 tsp in 8 oz of acetone would get me started and might not be too shiney. About 4 hours ago I put the stuff in a glass jar and its still looking cloudy and I can still see lots of material floating around inside when I swirl it. Will it be completely clear or still somewhat cloudy? I read some threads about it taking a while--not sure what that really equates to. I know some of you are probably dealing with temps much colder but its only 70 here today and overcast at the moment and I'm wondering if this is going to take most of the day for the butvar to dissolve before I can use it. Could butvar sitting in a very hot garage for years and exposed to excessive heat degrade? and that might be part of my problem? Acetone was just purchased last night. Or could I just be impatient as usual? LOL. Thanks! Regards, Chris
  10. Butvar for pyritized fossils?

    I'm going to be making a trip to the Waco Pit this weekend, and I'm hoping to find some pyritized ammonites. If I get lucky and find some, can I use butvar to help preserve them? Also, is there any way to shine them up just a bit? I know a harsh polishing scrub would damage them, but what about something like a toothbrush to get them clean?
  11. opinions about consolidents

    I've never worked with consolidents, but I need to start consolidating some of my treasures. Reading through the posts here it seems many of them are a few years old, and there are some new products not mentioned. For example Butvar B76 is mentioned, but I see online that it's been "discontinued" and the recommended replacement is "B08SY". Does anyone have experience with "B08S"? Is there one good "all around" consolident? For example one that could be used on bone as well as Mammoth tusk, Mastodon teeth, etc.?
  12. This is a Mastodon tusk fragment I found this in a fresh water environment in early November. It seemed relatively stable after cleaning, but over the past four months the uniform dark brown has taken on this mottled pattern. I haven’t detected any instability, no flaking or crumbling, but it no longer sounds solid when tapped with a finger, I assume cracks and fractures are propagating with progressive drying and differential shrinking. I know modern elephant ivory can develop cracks as it ages. So I assume it’s only a matter of time before this fragment starts to fall apart. I have a couple pounds of Butvar B-98 but I have little experience with fossil ivory. Should something like this be given time (months) to dry thoroughly before being consolidated? is it okay to just dunk something like this in Butvar after the initial cleaning and 24 hours to dry? I would have liked to retain the more attractive rich uniform brown color. Darrow
  13. This tooth in matrix has been sitting on a local diver's desk for about three years, under a dust cover, and has remained very stable. We think the matrix is essentially a phosphatic nodule. It's basically a piece of the ACE River Basin river bottom, and obviously it's an amazing specimen. I wanted to prep. it using a hardener, but I've never prepped any fossils before, and wasn't sure which product that I should use. I've heard of Butvar, of course and know people use it on bone, but this isn't bone, it's more mineral. Should I dip, or brush? It would seem a lot cheaper to brush it on. I'd also like something that would be water proof, afterwards. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'd also like some direction on a reputable seller of the product. Any folks here in that biz? If you are, then I'd rather throw the biz to a member, but I will need the product over nighted to me. I want to do the job myself, and I won't be doing a lot of prep. work, so I don't need a ton of the stuff, just enough for this one piece, which measure's about 10" in length. Here's a list of products that are advertised on a site called PaleoPortal Fossil Preparation. - http://preparation.paleo.amnh.org/47/adhesives-and-consolidants Solution adhesives which set by evaporation of a solvent and include:Paraloid B-72 (ethyl methacrylate co-polymer, formerly called Acryloid) Butvar B-76 (polyvinyl butyral, or PVB) Butvar B-98 (polyvinyl butyral or PVB) McGean B-15 (polyvinyl acetate or PVAC, formerly called Vinac B-15) “White glue” dispersions and emulsions (e.g. Elmers, Rhoplex, Lascaux) - Not Waterproof, so not my choice Thanks in Advance, guys ...
  14. Good morning, everyone. I have quite a few plates of bryozoans, echinoid spines and crinoid pieces from the Lake Brownwood Spillway. I was wondering which would be the best for sealing them. As you probably know, the bryozoans are extremely fragile and if they pull free of the matrix, they practically shatter. Also, some might require a little more cleanup than just a toothbrush and water. I have an air eraser. Would dolomite be too harsh on the lacy bryozoans? I'm a major newbie, and have no experience in prepping these kinds of fossils (or any other kind, for that matter).
  15. First Time With Butvar-76

    I got a kilo of Butvar-76 plastic from Museum Services Corporation, and slowly mixed a tiny amount into acetone following a 2.3 tablespoons to 800 ml ratio (about a 1:24 by volume) I found in an excellent post by Mattalic. Tonight I treated my first few fossils with it. Some random observations on the process... 1) Everyone says when working with acetone to do so in a well-ventilated place, preferably outdoors. They say this for a very good reason. Don't be a dork (like me) and mix it indoors. I was queasy for several hours afterwards. 2) The largish (approx 6" diameter) glass jar I bought to hold/mix it in was not adequate. Or more accurately, it was too adequate. A smaller mason jar would have been a much better choice. I'll be going shopping soon. 3) The metal lid on the jar had a paper/plastic laminate liner. It almost immediately began to fall apart, and the jar leaked like crazy when shaking it, getting acetone all over the place. See item 1). 4) I want a magnetic stirrer. 5) Mattalic's suggested ratio of Butvar to acetone worked well. I think he nailed it. 6) I've got several hundred small specimens of neuropteris leaves and related material that I've painstakingly extracted from sixty or more pounds of crumbly weak shale in the past few months. Since this stuff is very soft, including fossils that are actually in clay, I've been treating them with PaleoBond stabilizer (to good effect). On some specimens I've coated the entire thing, while on others I've only stabilized the fossil, and not the surrounding matrix. This has resulted in a somewhat unattractive 'stained' appearance around each leaf. Soaking in the Butvar solution for 60-80 seconds removes this staining (and presumably at least some of the stabilizer), seems to make the fossil impressions slightly more contrasty to the matrix, and when dried gives the specimen overall a slightly plastic-feeling coating. I quite like the effect. I should take some before and after photos. 7) I've got a few dozen pieces of weak slate containing graptolites. It was this stuff that first set me off looking for ways to stabilize fossils, as washing them, not washing them, setting them on soft paper towels, and even looking at them funny would cause pieces of the slate to fall off. Very fragile stuff. So I dunked a couple of these in the Butvar solution, also for 60+ seconds. And now I know what the word 'delaminate' really means. The acetone seems to have an even more severe effect than water did, causing lots of splitting along fracture planes that weren't visible. I think with some care and experimenting this effect can be mitigated, and once dried the pieces did have improved strength. And I may intentionally try to delaminate some more, since one such split revealed a very nice graptolite that otherwise I'd never have seen. Overall, largely thanks to a wealth of helpful information on these forums, my first foray into Butvar-76 went well. I'm looking forward to lots of additional batches.
  16. Let me start out by saying I am not a fossil preservation expert, nor a paleontologist. I have a PhD in Paleoclimatological Modelling and as a consequence, spent my time glued to a computer, with my head deep in computer science and geological papers but not the rocks. My undergraduate honors thesis however was in paleontology, determining a metric for characterizing patterns in evolution using the morphology of Conodonts and Archosaurs... so I've always had a love for the field and have taken up fossil collecting again as a hobby now that I have found some time. Thought my recent head-first dive into fossil consolidation using Butvar-76 could help given the fact that a lot of newbies, such as myself, bring up the topic often and repeat the same questions. So, my effort to consolidate the information (pun intended) is here. One of the things I began researching was preservation of various material - bones as well as other delicate fossils as I wanted to preserve what I had collected and subsequently neglected over the years, until now. Clearly, consolidants such as Butvar-76, Vinac and PVA were regular hits in my research. My own decision was to use Butvar-76 simply because it was (or still is?) a standard in preservation and fully reversible if so desired. You can make your own decision to what best suites your own needs, but my write-up here is for my experience using Butvar-76. My initial research focused on these specific forum topics: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/3629-preserving-fossils/ http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/23262-butvar-76-bone-frosting-solved/ http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/21591-butvar-vs-duco/ http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/35626-cleaning-and-stabilizing-st-clair-fossil-ferns/ http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/32206-where-to-buy-butvar/ http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/28135-butvar-b-76-question/ Harry's responses have always outlined exactly what I was looking for and he has a great write-up which I used as a basis for my first attempt: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/user/42-harry-pristis/ My first prep. and preservation was to be on a baleen whale jaw section and vertebra from the St. Marys formation around Calvert Cliffs. It was collected 12 years ago (roughly) and still had a lot of dried out clay material and shell frags embedded in it which I wanted to remove and some portions broken apart either during collecting or drying over the last decade. The bones fresh out of storage. Baseball for scale. The points Harry and others drive home is that Butvar is for impregnating. You can mix it up thick for a glue or for a demi-shellac, but technically for vertebrate material you want to soak the stuff - completely impregnate the bone with plastic by allowing the Butvar to seep into every pore and crack in the piece to consolidate it so that your precious finds wont dry out and crack over the years. If you are just starting out, like I was, I highly recommend reading Harry's write-up I linked above. For those looking for a shellac type substance, a different thickness in Butvar solution will accomplish this leaving your piece with a wet-like finish (a thin coat of solidified, fully reversible plastic). The look of the finish will depend however on your solutions viscosity (how much Butvar powder you dissolve), the amount of water in your material before application (this is bad) and how quickly you let the material evaporate. Personally, I wanted to keep my pieces as natural as possible without a shellac, but with the protective qualities of plastic impregnation. When you purchase your first Butvar-76 batch, expect it to come in a form similar to this. Powder. The things to watch out for, and pay attention to were: (1) Water such as surface, humidity, pore, interstitial etc; (2) evaporation rate of the solution after application; (3) thickness of the solution; (4) Materials for mixing (e.g. acetone can chew through lots of different kinds of plastics); (5) Storage. For the jaw section, I cleaned it using a soft toothbrush and water and left some of the clay material in some of the cracks that I thought would help stabilize the bone - for filling other cracks after the pieces were assembled I intended to use matrix mixed with white-glue. I did not glue the two larger pieces back together yet as I wanted to Butvar them separately as the acetone may weaken the glue. Since I used water for cleaning, I put the bones in the oven on low for an hour to dry them out. I read about heat shock damage, but many threads say they never experienced them, so I took a shot. I did however buy a few pounds of silica based desiccant (very cheap at pet stores and Ebay) for a homemade desiccant chamber just in case - and something I will touch on later for another piece to dry it out. Silica gel desiccant for drying items out that you don't want to put in the oven. You must create a very closed system for this. After drying, I used a 800 ml mason jar to mix my Butvar solution. My jars were acquired at the local Weis store and were less than a dollar a piece. The inner rim has a silicone based sealant which gets degraded with use - but since the jar is beveled and has the classic two-part top, you can still get a very tight fit without the spills. To mix, I measured the Butvar powder out and sprinkled the powder into the acetone. I then tightened the lid and shook violently until the powder became almost dissolved into the acetone (you will notice the white powder starts expanding into "clear bubble like" globs before finally fully dissolving into solution. I then left it for about 5 minutes to allow it to fully dissolve - and shook more if necessary. I made sure to check the bottom of the jar to disrupt any powder that may have settled to form a layer. Be rough with it. 800 ml Mason Jar. Mason Jar classic top, with beveled edge. This silicon gel sealant will get eaten by the acetone. If you are using a classic mason jar lid however, that doesn't matter if you tighten the top. I tested different thicknesses on random clean, dried rocks to see the different results. 1 tablespoon in 800 ml seemed to do very little. May be good for a deep soak but was hard to tell how much stability I was getting. At 3 tablespoons shale was getting a wet-like surface and at 3.5 tablespoons I was getting a clear coat on the outside that was painfully obvious. I didn't like this result personally, but my friend liked it on his St. Clair material as it made the shale darker, and ferns whiter. I will touch on this point again later on. Finally, after a bit more trial and error, about 2 and a third tablespoons seemed to be my sweet spot. Fractures were consolidated in shale, and smaller bone frags I had laying around definitely benefited. The outside also wasn't too obvious although when you touched it, you could tell ever so slightly that it was there. I then created a tin-foil pan using heavy-duty tin-foil, placed the bones in the foil pan and covered it with my solution. After about 30 seconds to a minute, I removed the pieces and placed them into a Rubbermaid PP recycle number 5 container to slow down evaporation. Earlier, without tenting the material, a bone fragment got the white dusting on the outside that had to be removed with acetone later on. I wanted to avoid this. It should be noted that not all plastics are created equal and there are many out there that can fit the bill here for both soaking (if you don't want to use tin-foil) and tenting to slow down evap. I used the following to allow me to find the right materials for this job: http://www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance http://www.plasticsintl.com/plastics_chemical_resistence_chart.html Simple Rubbermaid storage container - singular unit PP 5 plastic. Recycle number 5, PP, is Polypropylene and is A-Excellent for compatibility with acetone. Lots of Rubbermaid tubs are made from this but make sure to check - LDPE is not very good and after a few uses will start to degrade. Recycle number 3 will simply dissolve. Silicone also will degrade which is often used in lids including the popular Pyrex home storage container lids. My container was a singular piece PP box. I added some tin-foil balls to the base of my box for drying purposes, as I wanted to have less contact points on the incoming wet fossils - the balls act as pedestals over the plastic which seemingly helps drying on all sides - and the natural crinkles in the foil further reduce contact points. Super-dee-duper simple drying rack. Tin foil balls placed in the bottom of the PP5 container. The balls act as a colonnade to stack your fossils on to reduce contact points while drying. The crinkles in the foil further reduce surface area touching the specimen. Fossil stacked for drying, tented for slower evaporation of the Butvar solution. After tenting and allowing the bones to fully dry, I glued the fragments back together with cyanoacrylate gel (super glue) and am beginning the process of finalizing the finer details using white glue and matrix. Any "frosting" you get due to whatever process you use, can easily be removed using a q-tip or brush dipped in acetone. The amount of pure acetone you will re-apply depends on what you are doing - if you are re-soaking in acetone to remove the plastic (or some of it), or simply adding some acetone to try and get the plastic back in solution to seep deeper off the surface. Current prep. state of the same bone material. Brown coloration coming through after cleaning, fully impregnated with plastic. No frosting and pieces are re-assembled using cyanoacrylate gel. Cracks will be filled in with a mixture of the calvert clay and PVA. For brushes I used a Nylon based brush as Nylon does not react with acetone. You can get natural hair brushes from an art store, but Home Depot had artificial bristles, Nylon of which was the most compatible with acetone. Simple Nylon bristle brushes - thanks Home Depot. Nylon has a high level of acetone compatibility. Other artificial bristles will dissolve. For impregnation I poured over the entire bone. Brushes were used on smaller pieces to drip solution over. I rarely brushed - I may have dabbed here and there especially over areas of bone that had more pores in them to help the solution to get into the material. These brushes can be used in pure acetone to re-dissolve Butvar, or clean up and frosting which may have occurred in your own experiences. Every thread regarding Butvar talks about bones because that is seemingly the primary use. Agreed. However, I wanted a material that could be used almost universally for archival purposes, vertebrate and invertebrate - even on St. Clair shale. 14 inch St. Clair plate, multiple species, pre-Butvar. Fern fossils from St. Clair are very intricate and have both a graphitic like imprints and the famous white Pyrophyllite form. The later of which flakes off easily even as you try and get it out of the field site. I wanted something that could preserve the ferns, Pyrophyllite and all, as well as consolidate any shale layers and frags that may have been loosened during excavation. The Pyrophyllite also seems sensitive to water content so I wanted to completely preserve the piece. People have had success using hair-spray in the field (cf. links above) and in hind sight, I probably would use a soluble hair-spray in the field for removal, bring the fossils home, rinse with water, dehydrate, then consolidate. In my first attempt however, I skipped the hair-spray and brought them home the best I could. Since I didn't want to "cook" shale from a high carbon locality, I took the silica desiccant, filled a porous sack (feel free to use a sock) and put it in another Rubbermade container. I then left the fossils inside this home-made desiccant chamber for 2 days, only to remove them immediately prior to Butvar application. It's not perfect, but I like to think it did something - the Rubbermade get's a very good seal to it, proof of which is the fumes of acetone when you finally open the lid. Along these lines an important note: make sure to always do this in a highly vented area (outside is good) and no where near anything flammable. At 3.5 tablespoons of Butvar in my 800 ml container my friend got a wet-like clear coating on the outside of his pieces which he liked as they made the shale blacker and the white ferns pop more. And clearly they were preserved. I wanted something less obvious and went with my 2 and a third tablespoon mixture again and followed the same procedure outlined above. The outcome was perfect, with layers and fragments firmly in place, the shale still in its original color and I can tell that the piece is Butvar'ed since I can rub my finger on the pieces and not get an anthracitic stain on my figure from the residue of the shale. Also, the white portions no longer flake on contact. Putting a non-consolidated shale piece next to one I did at 2 and a third tablespoons, you cannot tell the difference. Same plate as before, after Butvar using the solution ratio mentioned. A lot of this was trial an error using the aforementioned posts as a guide. I am sure the heavies will chime in on the mistakes I made along the way, but thought first timers may enjoy a report on a fellow first timers attempt. And Harry, if you feel I lead someone astray with some wrong information, I will gladly correct my wording - or point out my own mistakes. Best, M
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