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Found 282 results

  1. Removing algae off of fossil bone

    Hi everyone, I would like some suggestions on the best ways to remove old algae that have been stuck to fossils that have been sitting in the stream for a while. I've just been brushing it off, but it comes off fairly slowly and takes a lot of work. Is there any chemical that might do the trick? Maybe put it out in the sun for a couple days? Thank you, Joseph
  2. I am looking to spend around $250-350 total on an air compressor and one air tool well equipped to prep both green river formation limestone and softish shales like penn Dixie/dsr. I understand that no one tool would be perfect for that, but I want to find one that can do both jobs solidly.
  3. Hello everyone! I am a digger and prepper of about 7 or 8 years, and of course a lifelong dino lover. I have a lot of experience both digging and prepping fossils from the Hell Creek formation specifically in Montana, but I still have a lot to learn. More recently I’ve begun prepping bones from the Morrison and Aguja formations, and I’m very intrigued by the differences in bone integrity, structure, quality, and mineral make-up. I understand that bones from the Morrison formation are much, much older than that of the Hell Creek and are by and large more agatized. I don’t mean to generalize, but for the purpose of brevity I’ll get to my main question. Ajuga bones. Particularly from the West Texas/Mexico area. I’m finding them to be very strange. I assume the KT Impact Event has a lot to do with their condition; which makes them even more interesting. The ones I’ve encountered (just in my brief experience) are in perfect shape. No predation. Which would fit with a major extinction event. But more intriguingly, I’ve noticed textural indications reminiscent of tissue/skin/muscle on several bones. Moreover, the bones appear to be white and chalky, and sometimes have a feeling and density similar to your teeth when your mouth is dry (REALLY weird and specific comparison I know but can’t think of a better likeness). I assume some of this has to do with the dry climate? I know these are not modern bones because they are very large and VERY heavy. Can anyone explain to me the reason behind the texture and the makeup of these bones from a geological perspective or their experience prepping bones from this formation? Also, regarding the tissue, I normally assume that tissue like structures are just my imagination running wild, but maybe there’s something to that as well? Thanks so much!! Lauren
  4. Hello everyone, I found this bad boy about a year ago in Wyoming. It was in a 100’ ravine and I tore my calf getting it out. I’ve tried to prep it out myself, but the matrix is extremely tough-I’ve spent a few hours with my CP9361, but I don’t have the time, tools, or skill to finish this. I’m guessing that it’s all or mostly in there, but who knows. It’s pretty heavy at around 40 or 50 lbs, but the preserved part that is extruding is very tough, almost metallic. Im looking to pay someone to prep this out for me-I really want to display this thing, especially considering the injury I sustained getting it out of the hole. If anyone has suggestions, or is willing to give it a go, let me know. cheers -J
  5. I recently had a chance to try my hand at a few matrix pieces from Sharktooth Hill. I'm happy with how they came out, although I know I could do a better job next time. Huge shout out to @digit and @ynot for their advice and encouragement. I think the thing I appreciate about matrix pieces like these are that prepping them this way can turn a rather unremarkable tooth into something unique. Anyway, I had fun doing it and I was encouraged to post a "trip report" so here goes... Here's how they looked when I got home. Nice to find out the tooth was intact. WooHoo! I used dental tools (nice set online for <$20) and small paintbrushes to scratch away the matrix. A super soft fluffy brush I found in my wife's makeup kit (shhhh!) was great for removing loosened silt. The matrix looks wet because I was dipping a finger in water and barely touching the matrix to soften it. Not too much though because that Sharktooth Hill matrix can be really soft. When I got more experienced I started using a small paintbrush to apply the water more carefully. Oh nooooooooooo! The tooth fell out. Does that happen to anyone else? I decided that meant the tooth just wanted to be cleaned so I took the opportunity. A quick clean up and a little CA glue and we are back in business. QUESTION: How do the rest of you actually get the tooth clean? There was no way I was going to be able to wash it or use a toothbrush or anything like that. I can tell myself "I like them a little dirty" but can't help but notice that some people get them really nice and clean. Any tips? Esp. with that STH matrix.
  6. My Isotelus

    OK, so guess who's using this Covid-related down time to post the topics he never got around to? In late 2013 I visited the Mt Orab "trilobite farm". This was my 3rd or 4th time (and final) and, as were most, I was always fairly lucky finding something. I usually just "dug" in the area where the flexis could be found, once stumbling on the partial Isotelus shown above. This day I decided to lend a hand on the area where Isotelus' were more prevalent. As at Penn Dixie, long crow bars were pounded into the layered shale so that massive pieces could be extracted. Those pieces were then methodically chiseled into smaller and smaller pieces in the hopes of uncovering an Isotelus. One partial was uncovered and folks oohed/aahed and commented about it. But at the end of the day it was laying in the scrap heap. I asked about it and was told by the "owner" of the property that since only a part of it was showing it wasn't worth his time to prep it further. As at many such spots, the impressive ones go to the owner. He told me I could have it. When I got home I wrapped it up good and pondered for a long time on how to prep it. 1 1/2 years later it still wasn't prepped (but still wrapped) and we moved into a big DIY house that I had to put a ton of time into. And the Isotelus was forgotten. And it stayed that way until this past fall/winter when I came across it among the boxes in my basement. "Oh yeah!" This was my first time prepping something so fragile but I decided on a plan. I'm a dremel and dental pick guy but I knew those were not the way. I used the dremel attachment with the sharp point as a chisel and slowly started to chip the dry shale. It worked remarkably well. The "lower" portion is the newly uncovered area. Once I got it completed I decided it needed a covering. It was too brittle and fragile to last. that's where I made my mistake !!!
  7. Back in April 2017 I posted pics of what I thought was a unique bryozoan encrusted horn coral.... Since then I have come across more while collecting in SW Ohio that I'd like to share. And, yes, the prep can be extensive. The first one, there is no real top/bottom or side view. It is 7 cm across x 10 cm "tall" This one is 4.5 cm across x 4.5 cm "tall". I believe the bryozoan on the following is Constellaria florida This one is 5.5 cm across and 6 cm "tall" This last one is my favorite. I finished prepping it in early March. I think the layering of the bryozoan is amazing. It is 7 cm across x 9 cm "tall" x 4 cm "deep". The horn coral is broken.
  8. I just finished prepping this fossil crab, a tumidocarcinus giganteus I found here in New Zealand. Still using the one air scribe while I save up for a microjack I tried my hand at prepping both side this time, man that ventral takes ages to do!
  9. Hi there I recently purchased a Albertasaurus tooth. A portion is in a matrix and there are some broken off pieces. This would be my first attempt a putting a fossil back together. If you could provide any input on 1. if it would devalue it by doing it, 2. how I should do it, 3. and what tools or glue or putty I should use. If you could dumb down the language for me that would be appreciated, like I said this is my first time!
  10. ParkerPaleo's White River Prep

    Now that hockey season has ended and the lab is warm again, and perhaps due to my new found extra time in isolation, I am embarking on documenting my prep projects. I thought I would start the prep season off with something easy that should turn out fairly nice. Please welcome my new little friendly Oreodont, Miniochoerus gracilis. It came into my collection in the summer of 2013 and has sat jacketed in a box until today. This evening I concentrated primarily on consolidation and bulk matrix removal with an ARO, and still have a ways to go. The plan is to prepare the "down" side in the hopes of a beautiful orbit and zygomatic arch. I did notice a cross section of vertebrae on the rear of the block so there is probably some neck attached as well. I'm hoping there is enough matrix below the jaws to make a nice pedestal to sit on as well.
  11. Allosaurus tooth

    Recently received back from my prepper a 2.2 inch allosaurus tooth. Here is the before and after. Big difference. At first I thought that the tip was missing but it turns out that it was natural feeding wear! Extra bonus.
  12. Ammonites!!!

    I finished up a prep of a nice double ammonite block that I got from the illustrious @RJB as part of a larger trade for a trailer load of smoker wood last year. I think Ron said these were from the Pierre Shale. Is that right Ron? If so, does anyone know the ID? I don’t know these ammonites well. Here they are, happily atop my antique dental cabinet. Don’t judge my photography too harshly.
  13. Hi everyone I've made a time-lapse of my prep of a recent crab I found here in New Zealand. It's one of the Tumidocarcinus Giganteus ones. I don't have a scribe for the fine detail yet, but got quite a bit of it exposed. Hope you enjoy it
  14. Im looking for some advice on alternative methods of removing excess super glue. This is a piece i have been prepping that has a lot of cracks running through it. I have been applying super glue In the crack on the outside of the concretion, then prepping down and exposing the desired area. The glue holds the cracked bone in place but its hard to judge from the outside how much glue to apply. This often results in excess build up on the bone. Typically i would use acetone to dissolve unwanted preservative or small amounts of glue but some of these build ups are rather thick. It was suggested that i can use air abrasion to remove super glue but i don't have a unit and my buddy's that do are not really taking visitors right now. So im looking for some alternative methods for removing build ups of glue. Im hoping some of the cleaver folks here may have some helpful suggestions. Nick
  15. fish are freakin hard to prep!

    I am always eager to try new things and develop or expand my skills. I've been putting in a lot of hours doing final prep on Hell Creek bone, and frankly, thats easy compared to these fish! I recently bought some un-prepped green river slabs from Ptychodus04. Since the weather and pandemic have put a halt to most things I began trying my hand at prepping these. Such a difference from working big dino bones! The fish bones are like fossilized hairs and unbelievably fragile. The matrix (on most of these) is extremely soft which makes clearing easy with a scribe, but also easy to blow it out. Using a soda blaster is a little more gentle, but still easy to blow out the fossil as soon as the matrix is gone. The bone details are so fine, I can understand how having a stereo microscope (along with a micro-jack scribe) would make this type of prep a lot easier. I think I did OK on my first fish. I'm scared to try and clear the spine any more because the bones are so thin and fragile. Then the second fish is in a harder matrix (and deep), but from what I've cleared so far, it seems to be a in a lot better condition. I'm afraid I may wear out my scribe exposing it though, LOL.
  16. My Collection/Work Space

    With more time around the house than usual these days, I decided to finally take some pictures of my fossil storage solution and workspace. My space is towards the back of our attached garage, which manages to stay fairly temperate year round, only dropping into the mid-40 degrees Fahrenheit through most of the winter, and I have a space heater too if needed. An old Ikea table serves as my general work table for fossil prepping and other projects. My other prep tool is a chest freezer, purchased last summer for the primary purpose of freeze-thawing Mazon Creek concretions year round. If needed we could keep some food in there too, but so far it has just been my "rocks" as my wife calls them. I am currently working my way through my bucket of Chowder Flats concretions from 2018. My primary storage solution was also acquired last summer- this vintage steel card cabinet was purchased from an Illinois state government surplus auction. It needed a little clean up, but it is very solid and the drawers are designed to hold a great amount of weight. And I love the way it looks! The library I work at is full of this style of mid-century steel furniture and office equipment, and I have developed a great fondness for it. The top drawer contains Mazon Creek concretions from Pit 11, the Mazon River, and Chowder Flats, along with concretions from the Chieftain no.20 mine site in Vigo County, Indiana. The next drawer is mostly full of Pennsylvanian compression flora and a few concretions from Vermilion County, Illinois- I am working on reorganizing it right now. The third drawer is my finds from the Oglesby, IL roadcut that has been well-documented on this site- Pennsylvanian marine fossils, especially brachiopods and fish/shark material. Next is a mostly empty drawer- so far it just has more Mazon Creek finds collected with ESCONI from the Braceville spoil pile. Finally, the bottom drawer has a mixture- SilurIan fossils from Kankakee County, IL, Pennsylvanian black shale fossils from La Salle County, a few Ordovician and Pennsylvanian fossils from Indiana, and a large Favosites coral I found on a family trip somewhere when I was a kid. I have a few smaller containers with other fossils- one box with all of the other fossils from various sites I collected up through college, and a plastic tote with small shell fossils from a new Pennsylvanian marine site I found last year, but every thing else is in the cabinet. I also have some paleo-themed decorations up too, including my favorite childhood toy, the Playskool Definitely Dinosaurs Ultrasaurus.
  17. Gotta start somewhere

    Hi. Total newbie here. But interested in what I see as I have been lurking this site for 5 years or so. I have acquired some basic prep tools and want to practice a bit of matrix removal to develop a feel for the rock and tools before I start anything important (to me at least). I picked up a few rocks yesterday from the Nanaimo Formations, upper Cretaceous, Campanian the map says. It would be handy to know what I am looking at so I could Google some images and know what to look for as I uncover things. If anyone would care to identify a few things, I would be grateful.
  18. Stages of fossil prep

    I love the process of discovery, removal and cleaning of fossils. I enjoy just looking through my picture of them as they see daylight for the first time. So, in that thought (and since I'm stuck at work and cant be in my prep lab) I thought I would share the piece I have been working on lately. This is a rib head of Edmontosaurus as uncovered and before removal. Hell Creek fm, Butte Co, South Dakota. Below on the right you can see a main rib section just started to be uncovered. The main section was actually found first, and then the rib head was found as I began removing the covering matrix. The the rib head as best as could clean by manual methods. You can see it has large glued-matrix cracks, and the surface has a "dull" appearance caused by micro matrix and glue filling the details. You can also see the extensive pre-deposition erosion with lots of cancellous tissue exposed. This is after air-abrasion with bicarb. I had to use an air-scribe to remove tough bits of CA and matrix. The back side (not shown) had a large area (almost all of it) covered with CA. I had to use acetone on Q-tips and a dental scraper to clean most of it off. Although it seemed that after treatment, even if a layer remained, it was fairly easy to blast off with the bicarb. Although a lot more natural detail is now present, so is the extent of erosion and cracking. Before the last step, I applied a good amount of PVA consolidate to help solidify the structure. I also worked down matrix that was glued inside the large cracks. I didnt remove it, just cleaned it down so there was room for the putty. The CA-matrix mix is a good stabilizer so I didnt see the need to remove it completely, especially since I probably would have split the fossil on accident. Then I began filling the cracks and holes with PaleoSculp. Lastly I put a layer of putty inside the "overhang" that was so badly damaged. I know there is a lot of artistry in applying epoxy putty, texturing, etc. I just happy to get a solid layer without breaking off a section of that thin crown. If you compare the first 2 images with last 2, you'll see a "finger" of bone sticking off right end, to the side. Thats a bit of that "crown" ridge. I removed it and I'm cleaning and separating to bits so they can be glued back in place correctly. A tiny detail, but since I have it, I felt I should keep it intact. I gave a lot of thought to recreating the missing tubercle (a bump off the top of the curve), but they change size and shape with different rib placement. I also wanted to recreate the missing tip of the head. But in the end I opted for "less is more" and decided to leave it as found. The next prep will be the rib main section. It doesnt have the exposed inner bone, but its highly fractured so I will have to separate lots of pieces, clean the matrix out before gluing back together. I'm really worried about its structural integrity, so I will probably blast the surface clean then consolidate before I begin working the cracks.
  19. Crazy glue or epoxy?

    Hi all. I was hoping to find a pinned set of notes on when and how to use the various glues available for strengthening weak pieces, or repairing fractured ones; but there doesn't seem to be one. Can anyone point out a great thread, or chime in here on what you use and why you choose it in a given situation? Thanks.
  20. My first test prep

    I finished the dust collection system in my prep station this morning so I had to put the tools to use and start practicing! In a nutshell, I LOVE AIR TOOLS!! I picked out one of my random BOBs collected over the years from the South Dakota Hell Creek fm. Typical of my digs, this one had a lot of surface CA and matrix adhering to it, but it was about as clean as I could get it by hand.. I started out by cleaning half of it with just the soda blaster. You can see in the picture that it was doing a phenomenal job. I wanted to get a pic that showed the condition before I worked over the entire piece (in case I ruined it LOL). OF course there were some spots that just wouldnt budge. So I started using the air scribe. So amazing! Watching those little stubborn spots and every other bit of matrix just blow away from the tiniest touch of the stylus. I left the associated bone bit attached with its matrix just because. It looks to be from a different animal, possibly some type of theropod as those often have the hard, shiny surfaces. Trying to clean out the exposed marrow was the most challenging. Lots of tiny flakes of it came off during cleaning, but to just look at the fossil you wouldnt know. One thing I did notice was that the media blaster can eat though a lot of soda in a short time! I finished out the piece by conserving it with a coat of PVA.
  21. Any suggestions on used stereo microscopes? Lens power? Depth of field? Lighting? Cost? Boom assembly? DIY? Thanks
  22. My prep station

    OK, since someone asked me about the prep station I am finalizing, I took took some pics today. To begin, I am working with the available space I have in my shed. I know its tight, but it fits and I'm not cramped. The only downside is that I will have to wear headphones while working. I put a lot of time, research and planning to make the most of the parts I have. For anyone thinking about taking this step, plan out EVERYTHING and price it all out, then probably add another 10% margin. I went the absolute cut-rate version of a prep station and I still have almost $1000 invested. The blast cabinet is from harbor freight. It was a pain putting together, but for the price I couldnt pass it up. If I went with a table-top model or built my own, I'd still have to build another bench and I probably would have spent more $$$$ in the long run. One of the last details yet to finish, is that I'm running the vacuum exhaust outside to prevent the chance of filling the air with micro dust. I have a weatherproof outlet cover it will feed through so that it can keep critters out when not in use. The compressor puts outs out 4GPM, but my tools only use about 1GPM so the volume is plenty adequate. I made the choice to runthe air through PEX piping after looking at all the options. The compressor feeds into the airline with a drop-leg for condensation. For the micro-blaster, I decided to go with a Vaniman Problast model. You can see a second condensation drop-leg running behind it. I didnt even install the included blast cabinet light, I read a ton reviews about how useless it was. I installed 2 LED flood lights to give plenty of illumination. I also ran a pigtail air line with a blowgun for clearing off my specimen, or view-glass, or lights, etc. I could also put on an air-scribe and switch between scribe and blaster without stopping. Using a cyclone dust management system. I dont have this mounted yet, its just mocked up at the moment. I plan to finish that tomorrow. I ran a vacuum line "Y" to the work bench as well. You can also see the switch which powers the box lights as well as a pigtail plug so I can connect the vacuum and turn it all on or off with a single switch. Dry air is very important while using scribes and blasters. This is my drier setup. Anything that gets past the 2 drop-legs, goes into 2 filters (particulate and water/oil) and then a desiccant drier. All that ends in a manifold for distribution. Adjustable vacuum hose on the work bench with a blast gate so I can select or close which ever vacuum line I need. I don't have a blast gate on the box yet. I'm going to have to fabricate a couple connections to make it work. Lastly is the work bench. Again, please excuse that its still filled with construction materials. I built the bench based on the existing remnants from the old shed I cannibalized to make this one. Annnnyway, I gave myself plenty of overhead, below, and bench top storage space. My flex-shaft dremil is ready, and I have an air line for scribe work. I plan on mounting it to a bracket to make it easier to connect to. Lastly is a lighted, magnifier for working on the finer details. A few more things left yet are sandbags for fragile items needing support (I have the sandbags, just need some clean sand), a cushioned mat for working at the blast cabinet, and a new work stool.
  23. 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:
  24. Jigsaw Tusk

    I have been lucky to find pieces of an ivory tusk (mammoth or mastodon) in the Peace River approx. 2 weeks ago. I have taken some photos to show what it looked like when found, two after consolidating showing how some large pieces fit together and then photos of the many loose pieces. I will have a nice jigsaw puzzle to work on once I consolidate the remaining pieces. I am hoping for suggestions on what glue or adhesive to use to try and rebuild the tusk. I have researched options that included super glue, gorilla glue and other adhesives. Which is best and easiest to work with? Photo #1 - tusk when found Photo #2 - three largest pieces consolidated with acetone and vinac. Photo #3 = tusk pieces properly aligned . Photos #4 & #5 - puzzle pieces to be consolidated and used to rebuild the tusk as best I can I will post progression photos and the final product when done. Thanks for any help on the adhesive/glue question.
  25. So i managed to acquire this lovely cluster of ammonites, but the largest, and most impressive one, is stuck right in the middle. I’m not sure if I should even attempt to try and get it out, seeing how many ammonites there are around it. Does it seem like a good idea? If so, how should i go about it?