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Found 308 results

  1. Echinoid clean up

    This is the nicest echinoid that I have ever found here in South Texas. It always bugged me that I didn’t clean it up completely but I was scared that I would create more harm than good. After reading other’s post, I decided to go slow and see what I could accomplish. Here are the before and after picture. I think I am now happy with the results. Any further suggestions or am I at a good place?
  2. 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.
  3. Okay gang. Don’t ever do this. Brachs are so common here ( along with crinoid bits) I use them as aquarium gravel... But, here’s what happens when you figure out how to acid prep Kewitz limestone to expose calcite and not loose morphology: I finish these with a week long silicon oil soak to make them shine.
  4. So, I tried out my new air scribes and media blaster today. Finally, time to play with real fossils for a change! I’m starting to enjoy all the half days I’m working due to the pandemic. First up a bug from Warren County, Ohio that I found as a Boy Scout over 30 years ago. For years thought this was a partial hidden in the matrix. Next is a brachiopod from Cass County, Nebraska It was fractured, but I reconstructed it.
  5. Prepping with hand tools

    So i prep with dental picks and pin vises and i actually like it. I have more control while prepping. But how far can you get with hand tools? I have read when prepping with hand tools that the fossils get really damaged. I have not noticed it at all. I am prepping a trilo and it goes well. Really well. should i keep prepping with hand tools? And can it make amazing preps?
  6. World's Cutest Fossil Preparators

    I give you the World's Cutest Fossil Preparators! I found a lump of matrix with a sliver of clam shell exposed about two years ago in Buxton, NC. It's a chunk of the Pleistocene shelf on which the OBX are sitting. When I brought it home, all you could see of the shell was the yellow strip in the middle. It was the only fossil visible at the time. It sat on a shelf for two years, waiting in vain for me to scrape away the matrix. I finally decided to use it for mouse furniture a couple weeks ago. They decided that they really like the minerals in the matrix. They have been licking away the matrix but have been very good about not eating the shell -- or any of the other fossils that they have been exposing. I wish they could do this with dolomite!
  7. Belemnite preparation sweden

    I have noticed when prepping swedish belemites that when i remove matrix and shell fragments small holes come up. And its very annoying. Is there any cause to this? Is it just how i prep? I hope u can see it in the pictures. Should i polish it? Hope that someone knows the cause
  8. Prep job needed

    Hey everyone, I found this ventral trilobite in Marjum Pass, Utah over the summer. I wondered whether somebody could prep it out for me. I'm a student working part time so my budget is limited, but I'd love to talk about what it might cost for somebody on the forum to do this job. Here are some pics:
  9. This post series will attempt to illustrate a minor prep project of a Moroccan mosasaur fossil. It is hoped it will encourage others to attempt a similar project, using simple tools. Thanks to Forum members @DPS Ammonite and @LordTrilobite for their helpful pre-acquisition comments. Special thanks to @jnoun11 for his ID verification of the piece and clarification of the fossil's precise place of origin. The Moroccan seller listed the fossil simply as "Mosasaur, 9 cm X 6.5 cm, Cretaceous, Khouribga, Morocco" Here is a photo from the seller. Note the large coprolite resting beneath the rearmost tooth. Unfortunately and not unexpectedly, the piece arrived damaged. At first glance it did not appear too severe. However close inspection revealed cracks in the matrix that ran to and beneath the two rear teeth. As an interesting aside, the break in the coprolite revealed an internal color pattern. To be continued.....
  10. So i got a trilobite pygdium that i i will prep but under it theres not alot of matrix so i was worried that it would fall apart. So i put some cyanoacrylate on the back. Heres some pictures the dark is cyanoacrylate. But the question is is it needed to keep the trilobite whole when prepping?And should i put more on the back as i prep more?And after should i remove it with acetone? If It needs to be there to keep it complete how do i make transparent? I got 2 trilobites that look really flaky pieces of shell looks very flaky and probably will fall apart if i Touch it. How do i fix the flaking part? Also cyanoacrylate? And if so how do i later remove the cyanoacrylate without removing the flaky pieces? Theres a picture of one of the trilobites that looks flaky.
  11. Prepping trilobites

    I got some trilobite fossils that i found many are possibly complete bodies but how do i prep them? How do i know where the body starts and ends? I kind of know where the body ends because of the size of the trilobites. But not really what way it goes in the rock. Up down the side? It also depends on the rock. Its not shale its limestone from kinnekulle. What really worries me are the rib things i Will use dental picks and small and other small sharp hand tools
  12. Need help prepping!

    Guys, please tell me how to prepare a mastodon tooth and jaw that was excavated within the past two weeks. It is already starting to dry out and crack. I need help from what I need to do to stabilize, to clean, and to make it look like museum quality. The bones are so fragile and are starting to crack and crumble.
  13. Prepping And using water

    So i spray little bit of water on my fossils and scrub with a toothbrush. But sometimes these appear orange marks. Not sure if i just did not see them before. I prep under a normal ikea lamp. I have heard the sun can discolor fossils. My curtains cover the Windows in the room. The water really helps me see better detail. I just wanna be 100% safe
  14. Sacrum Prep

    I’ve been working on this prep on and off for several months for a client and I finally finished it this week. It took 24 hours and there’s a huge pile of rock chips on my bench and lab floor thanks to this! This is the sacrum from a Triassic Phytosaur. Here’s a before and some after photos. This thing was covered in calcite and there were areas where it had displaced the bone and even grew into the bone itself. That stuff will make you lose your religion!
  15. Hello all, (I do hope I've gotten this in the correct category) I'm considering trying to invest in an air abrasive setup for fossil prep. Mainly looking to find something that will be capable of some light matrix removal in tight spaces. I already have a functional air compressor and I find these kits online for cheap. My questions are simply, are these cheap pens functional for prep? And will the aluminum oxide they come with be safe for fossils? Thanks for all of your help and guidance!
  16. Bones extraction

    Hi, I am in need of advice in order to remove these bones from the field. For scale, the rib size is about 30cm and is going to the top pf the picture. My issue is that the matrix is a mix of sand and clay, very soft, and the bones are extremely fragile. Ideally i would like to remove them with the matrix but it would need to be stabilized otherwise it will fall apart. I am thinking about putting a lot of starbond on bones and matrix all around to solidify everything ? But then how to remove the plate ? By the way is it possible to remove matrix sticking to the fossil if it has been "starbonded " ?
  17. So i prep with dental picks. Do i need a dust mask for it? Also i was putting small drops of glue cyanoacrylate i think its called. What happens if u breath in a little bit of glue? Is it dangerous?
  18. Found this trilobite a while ago. But i have no idea how to prep it. The matrix is super thin some parts i can prep. I will probably damage the fossil if i try to prep the thin parts. Any tips?
  19. First Fossil Prep

    I got two unprepared GRF fossil fish, a Knightia and a Priscacara as presents for my birthday, in a kit that also contained a small handheld needle-like tool. I would like to get some advice from the experienced members of this forum on how to proceed. For tools, I have a sewing needle, x-acto knife (with parental permission,) and the tool that came with the kit. I have a slides microscope that can focus well enough for a prep in order to have some magnification. I have Lance Grande's book on the GRF for anatomy, and have read all of the prep threads I could find on this forum. I have decided to start on the most exposed part of the backbone, and move up from there, saving the delicate fins for last. I have already tried out the tools on a few coprolites and vertebra on the rock. What advice do you have for this prep to be as successful as possible? @RJB @Ptychodus04 ? Thanks!
  20. Whats a Good first air pen?

    So i have always prepped with hand tools. But i really like the air scribes. But theres alot to choose from. Many of my fossils are limestone and sometimes theres a super small layer of matrix on the fossil that if i try to remove will damage the fossil. I have heard about sand blasting is that any good? I would really like one that can prep fragile fossils. I have seen many where they dont even Touch the rock when prepping. I also saw a shop called zoic palaeo tech i think its called. They were selling alot of tools but dont know what to choose anyhelp? I Also see these wooden boxes people use for prep i right now prep on my desk. Should i also get those wooden boxes? And when i prep the fossils now i spray little bit of water to see more details so its easier for me to prep. But i have heard fossils get destroyed while drying fast. I Only use a ikea desk lamp and the sun does not reach in. I know that the sun can really sunburn fossils. Sorry for the long text and questions
  21. This is probably just something stupid but these black dots always come on my fossils really hard to remove them is it just matrix i had not seen? Its really annoying they always show up. Its on the side of the belemite.
  22. I have alot of fossils with super thin matrix on them. How do i prep it manually? The rocks are limestone.
  23. I have used this glue a few times before but on one of my finds its came out of the crack can i remove all glue and try again and Will it preserve fossils in the long run?
  24. My daughter and I do most of our collecting around the Whitby area where we mostly collect ammonite nodules with high iron content, making them very hard. I have tried prepping them with a Dremel rotary tool and while it often works quite well around the outer whorls it barely scratches the centre. I’d like to step up to using an air pen or similar but it looks a heck of a jump in terms of cost. Initial research looks like it’s going to cost £400-500. Is this a realistic estimate for entry level, but decent equipment? I wouldn’t want to throw a couple of hundred at poor quality gear that isn’t up to the task. (I’ve seen cheaper alternatives on a popular auction site that are shipped from China that I’m keen to avoid) Any advice is greatly appreciated
  25. Hello TFF friends! Fossil Preparation has been something I have delved into on a surface level since I do not have the money to purchase air scribes and abrasives yet. So far I have been using a carbide scriber and some chisels or a dremel for larger matrix removal. Now I am looking to upgrade a bit and get a pin vise, they seem quite versatile and pretty cheap. I have found a vise that I think will be good for now, but I am now facing the task of finding needles to use with it. Can anyone recommend any good pin vise needles? I am looking to use them on matrix of different hardnesses from fairly soft shales to harder limestones if possible. Thank you for any help, Misha
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