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Found 205 results

  1. 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
  2. I've owned a sweet Keich that came from China via Germany in the mid-20th century. In our last move, it was broken. The photos attached show the main break point with missing vertebrae. The next photo shows the cross-section, just for the sake of proving authenticity (you can see how the matrix striae curve around the bone as well as the details of the spine in cross-section). As I was lucky enough to find the missing vertebrae I placed the pieces together in the next photo and held the pieces in place in the final photo to show how it should look when finally repaired. My question: What adhesive should I use to repair the matrix and is there something different I should use to glue the delicate piece with the vertebrae into place? Many thanks to all for any experience/advice.
  3. Hello, I'm about to start my first experiment in preparing an Eocene fish from the Green River 18 inch layer. I've done some prep of fish from the "split fish" layer with some success. But the matrix here appears much different! I'll be doing with with a pin vice, scribe and a head band magnifier with good lighting. I could use any advice from y'all with MUCH more experience than me! Thanks
  4. Hi everyone, Have been fossil hunting at Achanarras quarry and I have found what I am sure is an complete Dipterus valenciennesi. The only problem is that it is covered in a thin layer of hard stone. I am just wondering if anyone has had any experience with preparing Caithness fish fossils and know what tools are best for the job?
  5. 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
  6. I'm starting to get into mechanical prep seeing as with the quarantine I have extra time on my hand. My equipment arrived before my projects did so I've been practicing on this invert I had on hand. I believe this is a gastropod? Or is it a bivalve? I can never keep them straight in my head. Anyways, I forgot to take a before picture so I apologize for this awful photo as it was the only one I had: And this is it currently: Obviously not done yet, needs some more work and then some serious clean up to make it look nice but I'm thinking to put it aside for a while. The matrix is very annoying. There is less than a millimeter of rock covering the left side but as I learned the hard way on a small section, haste leads to immediate damage of the fossil. Prying upwards is great for chipping the rock away quickly but wants to take the fossil with it I'll finish it eventually but it will be slow, slow going. On a more exciting note one of my real projects arrived today. Here in a bit I'll draw up and post a plan of attack and tomorrow I'll probably get a start on it. My hope is that with this thread I can get your guys' opinions and advice to help prevent me from adding another cautionary tale on the bungled extractions thread
  7. Echinoid prep

    Hello, I believe that this is a fossilized sea urchin, it might not look so, but I do see a resemblance. It appears to be made out of gypsum, or another soft crystal. I was wondering If iy would be wise to dip it in vinigar. Would you be able to see some more details? Or will the wjole thing just dissolve?
  8. Hello everyone! I found this elephant tusk in the desert a few months ago, everything I find here is very brittle, and this is no exeption. I have already set the small unstable fragments with a very small layer of super glue. Should I use paraloid? I haven't been able to find any in this country, is there any other more common substance I can use (I've heard bad things from wood glue). I still want to remove some of the matrix, but I am unable to do so because of the fragility of the fossil. Thanks in advance.
  9. Base of tooth consolidation

    Hi All, I am very new to prepping, so thank you in advance. On the base of some of the small teeth that I have, I like to place superglue to prevent "crumbling" of loose particles. The superglue works great but leaves a shiny/glossy appearance. Is there something better to use? I have Vinac beads that were given to me but not sure how to use it in that capacity. I placed superglue on the left tooth and nothing yet on the right. Thanks again
  10. Starting to prepare specimens from Green River Fm Split Fish Layer. Several are quite thick - up to 2-inches. I would like to split them further but the pieces seem a lot harder than when collected. Presuming this is because they are much dryer (collected in early June, rock still very moist). Questions: 1) Is the dryer rock likely to split less cleanly than it did when moist? 2) Will re-hydrating* the rock make them easier to split cleanly? 3) Even if it does, is re-hydration likely to loosen the fossil on the upper surface of the rock? I could just experiment but would hate to loose a good specimen in the process. Thanks for any help. *I could re-hydrate by submerging in water but that seems most likely to damage the fossil. The first approach I would try is to support the slab over water in a closed plastic containers. Placed in the sun, the high humidity should re-hydrate the rock fairly quickly. Any other re-hydration ideas are most welcome.
  11. Hello everyone, first of all I want to say how I love this forum and how many great people are here, I couldn't find a better community. Back on topic I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to fossil preparation, I only prepped some echinoderms, bivalve and some isolated Ictitherium teeth. But after reading and reading topic on this forum I decided to begin a bigger project. I bought an oreodont skull, as you can see from the photos it seems in really good conditions and the matrix seems really soft to work on. At the same time I see that there are many fracture on the skull (pretty normal for these fossils) and so I though that I should consolidate the skull before starting to prep it. Do you agree with me? How should I consolidate it? I read that a great way to consolidate such fossil is brushing them with a 1 to 50 paraloid solution. It this the correct strategy to use? Thank you to anyone who can help me on this task, I 'm so excited to start this project.
  12. Hi Guys My son found this neat little fossil on the beach at Charmouth, Dorset, U.K. We had no clue what it was until we had it looked at by an expert at a fossil roadshow. We are considering removing some of the limestone matrix that hides some of the teeth. Do you think we should attempt to remove some of the matrix or is it too risky. There are several Hybodus shark teeth in what appears to be part of the jaw bone. With what I think is a limestone, type matrix covering some of the fossil. None of the teeth can be seen in full. I have some experience using fine hand held electric carving tools. And it would be very interesting to see more of the teeth. What do you think ? Thank you for looking at this for us. Matt
  13. 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!
  14. Prepping tips

    Hello everyone, I recently found an ammonite in a nodule I collected at Monmouth Beach a few years back and am thinking of prepping it. It seems to be some kind of deathbed as there are (or were ) 3 ammonites in the rock and it seems to go through the entire nodule. However, I’m stuck with a rotary multitool and have close to 0 prepping experience with it . The only things I know are to turn the speed down when prepping near the fossil and turn it up when removing rock. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  15. hi, I'm a student from Belgium. I've been searching the internet and I can't find any unprepared fossils for sale, can you help me out?
  16. 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...
  17. Belemnite Preparation Tips

    I am wondering if anyone has any tips or guidance for preparing belemnite fossils. I found a bunch of them this weekend and would like to polish them so I can enjoy their orange color!
  18. Hello TFF members - I'm in need so some advice on this one please. So this is my first post (happy to be corrected on any newbie errors) and although preparation is my favourite part of the fossil game, I am 'fairly' new to it - In other words, please go easy on me, I'm aware it's going to be all too tempting to say I've bitten off more than I can chew here... I recently purchased this Mosasaur skull from a well known European fossil auction site; you may have seen it yourself if you follow such things. It wasn't 'hugely' expensive, but that doesn't mean I'm not serious about making something good out of it and giving it a lot of attention (which clearly it will need...). It is from Morocco, was sold as a Platycarpus (from the teeth I would tend to agree, but please correct if you think otherwise) and originally was complete in a plaster jacket. The seller decided to prep it and remove from the jacket. Whilst this may have exposed more of it, some quite nicely, they have also turned it into the most insanely fragile fossil I have ever come into contact with! It was already in five large pieces when advertised for sale, and despite being very well packaged, has suffered further in transit. The matrix is not much more than hard (ish) sand and the bone only marginally more solid. Doesn't help that it's so crushed, so only matrix between each piece. Clearly leaving it in the matrix, perhaps replacing the jacket with something more aesthetically pleasing as part of a mount and prepping only the surface would have been the way to go, but it's beyond that now, so I would really love some thoughts and suggestions on the following: 1 - Immediate stabilisation and strengthening to prevent further breakages and reattach the broken sections (buckets of CA to solidify the sand matrix and reduce porosity to enable gluing?) 2 - Rebuilding/mounting (combining these two, as it will never be strong enough to hold in one piece and the mounting technique will likely need to be integral as it will need complete support across the entire back. It would never be my first choice, but I'm thinking a rebuilt matrix under the fossil to support and hold it together at the same time?) Ok, lots of text there for background and to give you more context, here are some pictures which will help... Original, in jacket: Advert pics: And another: Now it's home, in a slightly more confused state: And another: Last one, you get the idea: If anyone is interested in seeing more of it, please let me know, have lots of pics. It's an interesting item and despite being crushed to hell, looks to be fairly complete (the reverse tells it's own story too, more teeth there, etc.), but it's realistically only ever going to be an 'in matrix' display piece. Out of curiosity, I believe it's upside down, with the two maxilla visible on top and the upper jaw section being below, sure someone will easily be able to confirm? Anyway, enough from me, would love your thoughts and really appreciate anyone who has the time to consider and reply. If I haven't been clear or you need more info, please just let me know. Thank you, Dave
  19. Miocenic fish and teredine

    Hi Guys, I'm preparing this beautiful Miocene fish lying on a bed of teredins. Arriving at this point in the preparation I am undecided about what to do, there are two options: 1) eliminate the teredinas to free the fishing also from the other side (assuming it is intact) and make a 3d fish. 2) Do not go further and refine the work. What do you recommend? In the picture the 2 sides. video-1573331835.mp4
  20. I've been doing preparation for four years now and have tried various masks but none seem to work for me. I've used the disposable ones and the hard ones, but since I use a microscope for preparation all they seem to do is restrict me or send all the air I'm breathing out upwards and steam up the eye pieces! I have a pretty narrow nose so I sit pretty close to my microscope. I've found when I do wear the disposable masks I end up pulling it under my nose - pretty much defeats the purpose. I was just wondering what others around the world use? I know it's dangerous to not wear a mask, and that's what I'm currently doing. For ear protection I use some noise cancelling headphones - best investment I ever made! They are a million times better than earplugs or earphones in my experience, and you can still hear when people are talking to you. Any general notes or suggestions on PPE used around the world would be great!
  21. Hello friends. i am from Vietnam. People in my country dont know much about fossils, and we have no forums to ask about fossils. So, can you help me to finish my preparation? ------ I bought from internet I used sandblaster to expose specimen. Looks more and more beautiful: More bones were exposed. These are hands and foots. But when i use sandblaster, the bones were destroyed, too. So i stop using sandblaster, and dont know WHAT CAN I DO NEXT? ----- I see other Keichousaurus on internet. It's perfect: -------- I want to prepare my fossil like that. I am thinking about using Acid, but i havent used acid before. CAN YOU GUIDE ME WHAT TO DO NEXT? --------- I plan to use acid to soften the stone and expose the bones. Then continue using sandblasting gun (because now the stone is softer, sandblasting at low intensity will not destroy bones). Do you think so? Thank you my friends!
  22. Hello all, I was wondering if anyone could give me suggestions for cleaning this tooth. It is a C. poseidoni (sokolovi) from Harleyville, South Carolina. The tooth has some dirt covering parts of the crown, bourlette, and root. I tried using warm water and a toothbrush, but I was unable to remove anything. Are there any other methods for cleaning fossil shark teeth? Should I just leave the tooth as is? I would prefer not to use vinegar. Thanks for any suggestions.
  23. Trimming matrix with saws

    Hi All. I am looking for suggestions on trimming matrix (hard shale, limestone) from specimens. I have used a tile saw in the past. I am wondering if small hand saws with diamond blades would also be effective. I appreciate the help.
  24. Preparation training!

    Hi, that's my second preparation using only handtools and table grinder for rough shaping. Limestone can be a pain but I'm slowly learning moves, can't wait for engraver I'm still loooking for my "style", let me know what's wrong and what is right
  25. Help with preparation

    Hello, i have a few fossils like the one in the picture, they are all shells in limestone. I want to clean them and i have had some success with acetic acid. I just wondered if someone had any tips or a better way to clean them, also if anyone knows whats the best concentration to clean them, mine is 25% acid but this seems a little high. I can post a picture of a relatively clean one if it helps to identify the best way to clean them.
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