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Found 10 results

  1. I don't know the first thing about Fossils. What I have found would appear to be a fossil to me, but I honestly have no clue what it is. Would love to hear your opinions.
  2. Pictures of 2 I found Sunday. I'm located in Missouri, 30 mins south of st. louis. I have a creek that ends in my back yard and I'm at a lower elevation. Using maps from USGS .Gov my property is part St. Peter sandstone, Everton formation middle ordovivian to early ordovician and smith dolomite, Powell dolomite, cotterill dolomite, Jefferson city dolomite early ordovician-ibexian series. I'm still working on learning what that all means lol. I also have 2 different fault, sense of displacement unknown or undefined, certain lines. Not sure if that info is important, but figured extra info is better then not enough. 1st 2 pictures I think they are Crinoids but my Google searches. The big one is about brick size and had alot of stuff going on. The 3rd picture I think looks like it could be a bird or reptile? Either that or the cracks in the rock look like a bird. The last the one side has scales? No clue. If the file is too large I will add more pictures in the comments. Thanks for looking!
  3. Prep intro for a beginner

    Ive always enjoyed fossil hunting in local areas however I've never done any prep. work at all to specimes I've brought home. I've two practice pieces singled out to experiment with. (If it goes horribly wrong nothing lost) One a random chunk of lias clay with some bivalves and the other one a little ammonite just peaking out of another lump of jurassic lias clay. The matrix isn't particularly soft or hard with either. I have no appropriate tools in my possession however I'm willing to buy some basic things which are necessary. Any advice would be appreciated.
  4. 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:
  5. I recently completed my first fossil prep. Woohoo! As a novice, I did a lot of reading and research; trying to piece together exactly what I was supposed to do. How exactly I was supposed to "prep" the fossil and what that process entailed. While I found a wealth of information here on TFF, and other avenues, that information took a while for me to uncover and assemble into something useful. Not that the information itself wasn't useful, but uncovering a bit of info would often cause even more questions to arise. Consequently, it sometimes felt like taking 1 step forward but 3 steps back at the same time. So here is a novice guide, written by a novice, for other novices. It is intended for someone trying to figure out how to get started in Manual Fossil Preparation. The following information is what I feel is the basics of getting started in prep work based on my observations, research, and very limited experience. A quick guide to help get someone started who has been wondering what to do, but hasn't quite figured out where to start yet. Hopefully this will open up the wonderful world of fossil preparation for a few more people. What is Fossil Preparation? Fossil Preparation is the name given to the process of cleaning and repairing fossils. Making them more presentable for display, and revealing more diagnostic detail for study and research. Preparation at it's most basic form, is cleaning. Simply using a brush with water could be considered preparation. However, when most of us discuss fossil prep, it typically involves removing matrix. There are basically 3 ways to remove matrix from fossils. Using hand tools is generally referred to as manual preparation. Using power tools that require an air compressor, or electricity, is referred to as mechanical preparation. The third option is chemical preparation. Which, as the name implies, is using chemicals to prepare a fossil. Typically by dissolving matrix. Most people use one, two, or a combination of all three methods. I chose to focus on Manual Preparation. In my opinion, it is the cheapest, easiest, and the most forgiving form to start with. This is where most people tend to begin their prep journey. The process is pretty much the same with mechanical means. The more aggressive tools just make it go much faster. Which can lead to quicker results, but also quicker damage if done improperly. I figured it was better to cut my teeth on the cheaper, slower option, then upgrade tools if I liked it. I typically see “starter kit” recommendations for mechanical prep in the $800-$1000 USD range. You may get by with spending a little less, but it will still cost hundreds of dollars to get going. I spent less than $50 USD on my manual prep “starter kit” and you can get by with spending much less. Chemical prep can work well, and can be fairly cheap. A gallon of vinegar doesn't cost much... but it can VERY easily damage the fossil if you are not careful and don't know what you are doing. Proper precautions will need to be taken as well. Most chemicals used in fossil prep pose some sort of health hazard. Also, not all chemicals will work in all situations. What tools do you need to get started in Manual Prep? Anything that is sharp and can dig into the matrix that you want to remove. Seriously... Anything! There are people on TFF who started prepping with a wood nail, drywall screw, a push pin, and even a steak knife! That being said, there are definitely tools that will make life easier. Listed below are ones that I found the most helpful and personally used. Pin Vise* Magnification Lamp Dental picks Razor Knife** Brushs Sewing Needles Scribes (Sometimes referred to as Scribers) Scratch Awls Water *A word on Pin Vises... These are handy little gadgets, who's name is somewhat of a misnomer. While they are very useful for holding pins/needles and the like, they are typically sold as small hand drills, and can come with an assortment of micro drill bits. You will not need these drill bits for fossil prep, and if you can find a pin vise without the bits, it will usually cost less. They are sold by many hobby stores, or can be found online very easily. Simply put, they are handles with collets or chucks, used to hold very small things.You don't need a pin vise, but if you do purchase one, I would suggest a range of 0-.125 (1/8) inches or 0mm-3mm. This way you can hold the smallest of needles, and things up to the size of a standard rotary tool bit. Which is 1/8 inch or roughly 3mm. What you put in your pin vise will vary depending on what you are prepping, but I found that a scrib(er) or engraving tip for removing bulkier matrix, and a larger sewing needle worked rather well. They come in double ended forms, or you can usually find them cheap enough to buy more than one for quick switching between tips if you desire. **A word on Razor Knives... These are also known as hobby knives and are commonly referred to by a brand name that is rather “exact”. I had read people recommending to use these and how great they were to have around. I thought “Why use a razor blade on rock?” I didn't fully realize their use in fossil prep until I actually broke down and tried it. The tip of the knife can be used similar to a dental pick or needle and can slide between the layers of rock to pick it away or split it. I found that it could also be used to sculpt the matrix around the fossil. Sure it will dull quickly, but replacement blades are cheap, and it actually cut and planed the soft shale I was working with pretty well. I am sure there are more uses that I need to discover. Very handy and cheaply purchased. So... How do you actually prep? Well... You remove matrix without damaging the fossil. Things can happen, but this is the ultimate goal. First you use a larger tool to remove the bulk of the matrix. Depending on the size of excess matrix, you may be using a hammer and chisel for this, or you may use something like a scratch awl. My first prep was on a brachiopod valve so the scratch awl method worked well for me. I used the awl to pick and scratch at the matrix. Removing as much as I could, as quickly as I dared. Use a brush to get dust and debris out of your way. I used a small paint brush. Something that puffs air or even a little water can also work. Once you start to get closer to the fossil you will want to use something finer. When I got down fairly close, I switched over to a smaller scribe tip. When I was right next to the fossil I started using the sewing needle and dental picks. When you are right up against the fossil you will want to be very, very careful. Hopefully their will be a small gap between the matrix and the fossil. You can slide a dental pick, sewing needle, or tip of a razor blade in this gap and pick away the piece. Lifting it away from the fossil will hopefully cause it to flake off. If the matrix is more “sticky” you may need to painstakingly pick it off grain by grain. OK. Now you know how to prep, but what do you actually prep first? My advice is...Don't start with a nice, expensive, rare, or scientifically important specimen. Don't grab the one that you have just been dying to see revealed and start poking at it. There is a learning curve to prepping. The concept is simple, but in practice it is difficult. You WILL mess up. Especially on your first try. It happens. The needle slips and scratches. That piece of matrix that looked like it was going to break away cleanly took a piece of valve with it. Practice. Build up your skills and technique, then tackle that nice fossil. Your results will be much better and you will be happier with the outcome. Also, don't grab that big hash plate. Get something small that will give you a sense of completion in a few hours. A hash plate may take 10s or 100s of hours to complete. Starting with a small piece will give you a sense of completion and a much needed reward for your hard work and first try. If you collect fossils, I suggest getting something that is common to the area. Something that you might even currently pass over because they are everywhere. If you purchase your fossils, look for the same type of thing. Something that is common and not too expensive. Something that is a dime a dozen. Maybe even a fragment of a larger specimen that isn't worth much monetarily because it is broken. I would also suggest something that is relatively simple. Something with a lot of bones and pieces might throw you for a loop. Here are some Tips and Tricks that I learned just in my first few hours of prep work. Take your time! This is probably the most important tip I can give. Don't rush it. This process will take hours, not minutes. Even on something small like a brachiopod valve. I didn't time my first prep, but it took at least 4 hours. If you are tired, stop and give yourself a break. If you are frustrated with a piece that just doesn't seem to want to come off, move to another section to work on, and come back to it later. Rushing and frustrations cause mistakes. Magnification is very helpful. I would even say necessary. I used a magnification lamp. The magnification and light combo worked great for letting me see what I was doing. Especially when working close to the fossil. I have seen others who use those magnifying visors, or even a microscope. Keep your tools sharp. It sounds crazy I know. You are pushing these things into rock, and they will dull quickly, but they do work better when sharp. There is a noticeable use of less force when using a sharp tool. To borrow a philosophy from knife use... A sharp tool is a safe tool. Good lighting is a must. This goes hand in hand with magnification. If you can't see what you are doing, you can't prep. Wear proper safety equipment. Dust and flying debris is a real hazard. Even when using a tiny sewing needle. I would wear a dust mask and eye protection at the least. Gloves for protecting the hands from the errant dental pick/needle tip may come in handy as well. Know the morphology and/or anatomy of what you are trying to prep. You need to know what you are trying to dig out of the rock and what it looks like to avoid damaging the fossil or digging into the wrong place. The pieces and parts may not be where they are supposed to be, because of the nature of the fossilization process, but you need to have a good idea of what you are looking for. I wet the fossil from time to time. This isn't always an option depending on the fossil and matrix, but in my situation it helped wash away dust, bring out detail so I could better see what I was doing, and softened the matrix slightly, making it easier to prep. Stone is like wood, it has grain. Look for it and use it to your advantage. Picking and poking with the grain will typically yield better results that digging across or against it. Some things are not worth prepping. There I said it. Sometimes things will take way to long to prep, or are too delicate. You need to realize, and be ok with the fact, that some fossils, or part of a fossil, is better left alone. I'm sure I'll think of something else after posting... I hope this quick little guide will encourage other novices to try fossil prep. It is an enjoyable and rewarding aspect of the fossil obsession. Seeing something revealed for the first time in millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of years has a distinctly wonderful feeling. Thanks to all those who helped get me going with their comments and suggestions in various threads. A special thanks to those that I PM'ed and asked questions of. You know who you are. Your knowledge and expertise were invaluable and greatly appreciated! Comments, corrections, and constructive criticisms are always welcome! Best of luck! Here is a link to my first prep that I referenced...
  6. Novice looking for advice

    Hey guys, Ive found these while out on a walk with my dog. I was wondering if they could possibly be teeth or maybe my imagination is seeing things and they are just rocks. Any advice would be great! Thanks in advance. Foxx
  7. Complete Novices need help!

    Hi, my children and I have never cleaned up a fossil before, but we go to places like kimmeridge, charmouth, Lyme Regis etc a lot as we live not far away, normally we just see the fossils at the beaches and leave them to the experts. Yesterday though on a trip to Charmouth, my son found a large piece he wanted to bring home and clean up (he’s recently been given a rock tumbler and is now fascinated with rocks/fossils etc). We don’t have any tools at the moment but I’m happy to get some simple bits. The warden at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre suggested he start with sandpaper. Any advice on how we start would be greatly appreciated, thanks. Aimee x
  8. Hello, I am completely new and inexperienced in the amateur palaeontology world. I am planning some trips to search for fossils on the beaches in The Netherlands. What are the things I really need to have? I can think of a sieve and a shovel. But what are the best things to wrap found objects in? And what sizes of sieve should I buy and where from? Basically, throw everything at me you know, I'll take it in (eventually) Happy Hunting! -Jacob
  9. Hi all, I think that this is my first time in this thread of the forum, after being active for about a year and a half... Shame on me! Well, just for your info I know absolutely NOTHING about microfossils. So please bear with me So I have a question for you guys: So I bought this microfossil slide recently for just 3,25€ (not sure if it’s a good deal or not, but seemed okay to me), thinking it would be useful to store my very small fossils. Well, when I got it, I had two surprises: 1) it’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be! Fossils can get REALLY small I guess! 2) there aren’t any walls or so separating each number square. I thought that this would be simply another one of these sorting boxes with different “sub boxes”, which are always useful for storing fossils appropriately; but then a mini version for microfossils. Seems like I was very wrong! So so my main question is: how do I use this? Also, if you have any tips on how to go around with microfossils appropriately o would be glad to hear them. Again, all this stuff is very new to me. Microfossils are definitely not my strong point. Thanks in advance, Max
  10. Removing paster jacket?

    Ok, I am a novice to this whole fossil-prep thing.... So we found a couple of large (well, for us) bones in the field, and as they were starting to fragment a bit, we put a thin plaster jacket around it, and dug under the dirt to remove the blob, and packed the whole thing in foil. Back home, I flipped the chunk upside down, and removed the dirt and prepped the bottom of the bone. So now I have to do the top side...any tips on the next step? Am I over-thinking this, and the plaster hasn't bonded to the bone?
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