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Found 5 results

  1. A guide to manual prep tools

    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 finish nails and masonry nails can be fashioned into finer points with a bit of grinder work. See also: Pin Vise (below) Another option is hobby knives, like an Exacto as there are tones of different disposable blades and hooks and such for them. Personally, I rarely use them for fossils as I tend to break off the fine points and need my blades for my models and such, however, if you got 'em, try 'em! Automotive gasket picks/o-ring picks Pros: Cheap and easy to get- any auction site or automotive parts store has them. ranges from cheap to moderately expensive. Available with thin, pencil like grips and heavy screwdriver like grips Cons: You get what you pay for, the cheap ones tend to be softer steel and prone to bending and breaking. Be ready to re-sharpen tips regularly. Lousy for hard matrix and may leave marks that rust later on. Dental Tools: Pros: Fairly easy to get consumer grade versions online. Range from cheap to pricey. Extremely fine points, but way require occasional sharpening. Cheaper ones tend to bend easily on rock. Cons: Real medical grade stainless steel dental picks (the best ones) may be illegal in some places as they are medical equipment and not intended for consumers. The best ones can cost a lot. Also very sharp and easy to stab yourself with... Dissection Probes (stainless steel) Pros: Affordable and relatively easy to buy online. Heavy stainless steel versions cost more, but have a variety of tip types you cannot get elsewhere that are very useful. Easy to resharpen and maintain. The blunt probes can easily be ground into chisel tips and quad points. Awesome for soft matrix. The spear point type are so useful! Cons: The cheapest ones are no better than gasket picks and are soft and prone to bending. Also, very sharp and easy to stab yourself with... Industrial tungsten carbide (tool steel) scribes Pros: A personal favorite for hard matrix and fine detail work. CHEAP. Large variety of styles from a pointy stick, to a retractable pen. Tips can be replaced and are cheap. Cons: Do not strike these with a tapper or hammer- the tip will shatter. Chisels: Pros: Excellent for removing big chunks. Good for small stuff too if you know what you are doing. Great for the field and the bench. Best ones are acquired through art supply stores. Cons: Buy carbide tipped chisels designed for stonework...many cold chisels are designed only for use on mild steel or masonry and are virtually useless for stone due to softer steel used. Heavy and you gonna need a variety of hammers. Also...expensive....but you get what you pay for. Specialty Chisels: There are special tool steel thin chisels designed for splitting shale. If you are a splitter and don't have a few of these, you are doin' it wrong! Pros: Specifically designed for splitting fossiliferous shale. Cons: Can be hard to source. Side note: You can make your own if you have access to a grinder and some "blue" spring steel. General Purpose Hammers: DO NOT USE A CLAW HAMMER. I say again, DO NOT USE A CLAW HAMMER. They are not designed or made to withstand meta on metal impact (like a chisel head). There are tonnes of brands and types, but a good quality ball peen and a few mini sledges will treat you right. Personally, I prefer the "deadblow" style, but wood handle and all steel are good too as you can get really small weights. Mallets: Trust me, having a mallet is really handy. Deadblows are my preferred (pictured above), but I also use a sculptors mallet...which once you learn how to use, will likely be the only hammer you ever use during prep. Don't laugh, but if you need to really wail on something, a bowling pin is awesome. Paint Brushes/chip brushes/wire brushes: Artist paint brushes are useful for all sorts of things, from removing dust to picking up small bits. I use a mix of synthetic and natural bristles Chip brushes are super cheap to the point of being disposable, but don't last very long if used wet. Also, 100% recyclable. a clay sculpting "feather" brush Pin Vise: This is a handy little item for holding, well, pins. For your purposes this can be regular sewing needles, large gauge needles, sharpened nails, etc. DO NOT over tighten the chuck. It will jam and ruin your tool. An Exacto type knife handle can double as a pin vise by changing out the chuck jaws with rotary (dremel) tool chuck jaws. Pros: Inexpensive and Easy to get most anywhere. However as with most tools, you get what you pay for. Often sold with tiny drill bits which are handy for lots of things. Cons: Thou shalt not over tighten thine chuck! Cheaper models have soft aluminum or brass ferrules which can be prone to breakage and thread stripping if over tightened. cheap version expensive version...designed for fine scale modelers...notice the chuck and ferrule are steel and nickle plate, rather than aluminum. Scratch Brushes also known as Wire Brushes including sculpture brushes: Cheap, easy to get, various types available anywhere! You will find lots of uses for these. (Also, old tooth brushes are handy...the kind without the rubber stuff in the bristles!) Pros: Many! Cons: Be careful! Brushes with steel bristles can rust and stain your specimen---stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and nylon are safer if you have humidity around! So, there is a brief overview of basic hand prep tools. Field tools and powered tools are an entirely different subject discussed well in other threads.
  2. Greetings kind people, Hope you are having a nice day:) There was a similar thread posted around the same topic, but a lot of those websites could not meet all my requirements so I'm here to seek help I'm looking for websites which are: 1) reliable and reputable 2) very inexpensive 3) ship internationally (particularly India) with good packaging and reasonable prices 4) good quality and vast collection 5) can provide most of my requirements in a single order(since I'll be shipping it to India, it would be economical to order everything from single website to cut down on transportation costs). I'll take down the post in case of violations of the guidelines. Please do let me know. Thanks in advance:)
  3. Stands for fossils

    I just send it to start making some stands for my fossils. This is my first one. It's a very simple one. I bought some brass rod at the craft store and decide it it was way too flimsy and not up to the task. so I went into the closet and pulled out a coat hanger that had plenty of patina on it. None of their decided coat hangers to the right materials I did a post on Facebook asking for people's old hangers. I'm going to cut all the straight portions of the hangers and keep them and toss out the rest. Soon I will be swimming in free wire to make fossil stands. And the older coat hangers have better color to them and brand new brass. You can get the pre-cut wood plaques and hobby lobby or Michaels for about $0.75. I very lightly staind the wood because I'm one of the possible to stand out. You can easily make these for under a dollar apiece without even having to cut the wood. Next will be time to see winter coat hanger solder together very well for more intricate stands.
  4. I’m curious if anyone has any recommendations on cheaper microscopes that would be good for finer prep work. I have seen some very cheap ($30 or so) digital microscopes on amazon that seem to get good reviews. But I’m not sure digital is the way to go. I can’t afford more than around $100 right now.
  5. Hello all! It's rather hard for me right now to take good photos of fossils, especially when it comes to close-ups or specific small details. That is, because I have an old iPhone 5... I'm not really willing to get a new phone anytime soon, therefore I am looking for a lens or small microscope I can attach to my phone in order to make detailed photos of small fossils. I've made a bit of research, but it didn't prove itself to be very useful. That's why I am asking your help: what do you think is the best lens/microscope I could buy (for a cheap price, no more than 20 euros/dollars)? Or, what do you use to make your photos? Thanks already, Max
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