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Found 128 results

  1. Hello, everyone! Here is another preparation sequence. This is a Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) piece containing ammonites Acanthoplites nolani Seunes, 1887, Diadochoceras nodosocostatum D'Orbigny, 1841 and small Euphylloceras sp. from the North Caucasus of Russia (Krasnodar region, bank of the river Hokodz).
  2. Prep douvilleiceras ammonites

    Hi folks! I got some douvilleiceras that I want to clean up a bit. Ive let them soak in water and then i used a toothbrush and tried to scrape off some of it. It made a minor difference, its like hard clay but not the easiest to get rid off. Do you have any advice what I could do without the risk of damaging the specimens? I do not have any special tools/machines, Just a dremel tool and a engraver.
  3. I need some advice for consolidating these 3 fossils. #1 The Enchodus fang/jaw itself is fine, however the sandy matrix Is the issue, especially because it’s messy for display because tiny grains keep falling off, etc. What would you reccomend for consolidating that?
  4. Not the best greenops ever

    About a month ago I went to Penn with two fossil buddies and they both found prone greenops. Sadly I did not find one. However both of these greenops were split between the positive and negative and probably were missing some skin as the material was quite flaky. For one of my friends this was his first ever find of a prone greenops. Prone greenops that are nicely laid out are a very rare find in the Windom shale. Most of the ones I have found from there or others that I have prepped for people are fully, partially enrolled or distorted. So to my fossil buddy this was a bit of a special find. We wrapped up the two pieces in tin foil in the field and I agreed to take it with me and prep it for him. Well zoom ahead a month in time and I am going out with him last week to collect and he asks how is his greenops coming, whereby I realize that I have not only not started it ,but in my senility had forgotten I had it and had no clue where it was. Well when I got home it turns out that I had never unpacked the bucket of fossils from that trip and low and behold his fossil was packed just as we had left it. A careful look at both parts under the scope confirmed my opinion that the bug was in pretty rough shape , but a prone greenops, not to mention perhaps his first ever prone warranted we attempt to bring it back to life. Unfortunately I did not take any pics until a ways into the prep but here is what I did to start. 1. Washed the mud off both plates scrubbing with a tooth brush 2. Squared up what would become the fossil plate with the diamond gas saw 3. Cut out as small as possible a square from the top piece of the matrix that contained the top part of the greenops using my 7 inch tile saw with diamond blade 4. On a belt sander using aluminum oxide 120 grit thinned the top piece as much as safely possible to help minimize my prep time later. 5. Using super thin cyanoacrylate glue reattached the top portion to the main slab clamping tightly with a c-clamp. Asusual all prep was done under a zoom scope at 10x to 20x magnification using a Comco abrasion unit and in this case a German Pferd MST 31 scribe exclusively.. Not a lot of scribing was done other than to outline the bug as the skin was not in great shape. Abrasion was pretty much done with a .18 and .10 nozzle using 40 micron previously used dolomite at 30 PSI. Here is the bug after about an our of prepping . I have outlined in red where you can still see the outline of the section that was glued down. A lot of people do not realize that many of the fantastic trilobites you see on the market have actually been glued back together because the splits are often through the bug. I once did a Moroccan trilobite that was in 7 pieces when I received it Here is the bug after another 40 minutes Took some pictures of the prep but frankly they ended up too blurry to use so here is the prep after abrasion is complete and after I have repaired a lot of the parts that broke of in the split. I tend to use a white repair material and always take a picture to let the owner know what has been repaired Here is the bug after coloration applied . The repairs were allowed to cure overnight before coloration and a bit of extra carving to clean up spots.Just waiting for me to do a final cleanup tomorrow after everything has cured a bit more. A long way from being the worlds most pristine or perfect bug but I am relatively pleased that we were able to breath some new life into an ailing bug. Totally prep time about 3 1/2 hours over 4 days. I suspect the owner will be pleased with the result. I have seen people toss bugs in the field that were in this type of shape. For those of you who just need to know the bug is 27mm x 18 mm A slightly different view
  5. It was a pretty good week fossil collecting I managed to make it to Penn Dixie Tuesday and Friday. A few of us Canadians had the place to ourselves both days Tuesday was an interesting day, three of us went Mike, Greg and myself and we all ended up with heat stroke. The temperature topped out at 39 Celsius and then you add in the humidity factor and it was low 40's. Stupid weather for collecting but we all found some very good stuff. Greg found a huge plate that I cut down in the field for him to about 12 inches by 12 inches. It would appear to have 4 complete prone E. rana on it . It currently sits in my basement waiting to be prepped. I do not have a picture as of yet but if I get his permission I will post one. Mike as usual is the greenops whisperer and he found 2 or 3 relatively complete and large greenops at the top of the blocks in the main Penn trilobite layer. I was having a reasonable day I probably had 20 to 30 enrolled or partially enrolled trilobites in the bucket along with a very nice Pleurodictyum americanum (a tabulate coral) . I only find a few of these each year at Penn and always take them home because they prep up quite nicely. I was getting a bit frustrated that both Mike and Greg were finding prone rana's including Greg's spectacular plate, when my fortunes changed with one split of the rock. For those of you that have been collecting with me you know that my style is to spend the morning breaking out huge blocks from the main trilobite layer with big prybars, wedges and chisels and then I split for the whole afternoon. We were working a large bench and had gotten to the state where all the blocks were locked in because of convoluted dome structures and the lack of natural cracks. The blocks that day were coming out about 200 to 300 pounds and about 12 to 18 inches thick. Eventually I would resort to the diamond gas saw and create some weak areas that we could exploit, but back to this story. In frustration with the heat and three guys not being able to get the next block out I just took a chisel and a 5 pound mini sledge and took my frustration out on the rock. Well to my pleasant surprise off popped a piece of matrix that clearly had 2 nice bugs in it. Wow one strike of the sledge and the fortunes of the day are totally changed. I always tell people who are collecting with me to keep at it, your are only one strike of the hammer away from having an amazing day. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures in the field my phone would not let me it said the battery was over heated. Here is ta picture of the shard about 1/2 hour into prepping. What you cant notice in this picture is that there is a 3rd bug buried to the left, I was just able to see the edge of a pygidium from the side. For once I got lucky and it was not just an isolated pygidium. Here it is probably an hour into the prep Prep was pretty standard using a COMCO air abrasion unit at about 30 PSI with 40 micron previously used dolomite, utilizing .025. .015 and .010 tips. Very little scribing was used on the piece because was quite thin and looked to have weak spots that were stabilized with cyanoacrylate and dilute vinac in acetone .Anyway for your viewing pleasure here is a series of pictures of the completed bugs. The plate has no repairs or restoration and the bugs are lying in their original positions. Going into my collection besides the "Perfect Bug" I found earlier this season.
  6. It’s been a long time since I posted here. So here’s a thanks to everybody that’s helped me out in the past on here. It’s seriously appreciated. So. Here’s a lovely 6 inch Hildoceras I found recently at Kettleness, I’m the Yorkshire coast. She’s a beauty. A few of the outer whorl chambers are a little crush, but it just adds to the piece of think
  7. There is only one way to do this. 1. Do it 2. Say sorry
  8. How to stabilise and prep fossils?

    Hello all, I think this question has been asked a lot here but It is still not 100% clear for me how to stabilise, glue and prep fossils. I've found some beautifel ammonites, a reptile tooth, trilobites... But every time I try to prep one it turns into a disaster after a couple of minutes. I have an air scribe and a lot of hand tools , but I am afraid of using them again since all of my tries turned out in the destruction of the fossil. Could someone give me hints on this? Greetings Thijs
  9. The Perfect Bug

    Some of my collecting friends often ask why do you keep going back to Penn Dixie its really not a place for hard core collectors. I have no clue how many times I have been to Penn over the years but I never get tired of going. If someone says lets go to Penn Dixie.. my answer is "I'm In". Penn is a spot to go to meet great people who actually get it when it comes to this crazy passion of ours. If you have never been to Penn figure out whats stopping you from going .........and get there.....( tell me or Devonian Digger you are going and we will try to get there as well) When I go to to Penn I am on a quest for that perfect plate of multiple E. rana , or that prone greenops or the even more elusive Bela. But I am always hoping to find that perfect bug, the common E. rana that just screams out to you I am perfect. I am going to make your day. To me the lowly phacopids are just beautiful when professionally prepped. They may not have the monetary value of a dicranurus or some other spiny Moroccan bug but they are every bit as beautiful and deserving of a spot at the center of your collection. As I indicated in another post last week I had an amazing day at Penn last Sunday. 45 potentially complete enrolled and at least 8 complete prone. For some reason this particular bug screamed out to me Prep me first. Generally I am prepping bugs for other people and it is getting to be rare that I am actually working on something of my own. So here is the bug that I just could not resist getting into the blast box. Does not look like much but the qualities I am looking for in a specimen to prep are there. Most of the bug is buried in the matrix so if it is there it will be undamaged The part that I can see is flawless The cephalon has the first pleural segment attached The matrix is not so large as to be hard to work with in the blast box There were others on the pool table that looked promising but this was the one that got chosen First a bit about the actual prep. Two scribes were used, an Aro for the rough matrix removal and a German Pferd MST31 for the fine close in scribe work. My goal is to expose as much of the bug as possible using scribes before starting any abrasive blasting. The less abrasion that is used on the bug the better the end result. The more you use the blaster the less detail you will get in the finished product regardless of the blasting media you use. With the Penn E. rana's you can generally get a bug 90% clean with just scribe work. In fact I will often scribe out bugs for an afternoon and then only final prep the absolute best ones. If a plera is missing or some skin is gone then the bug goes into a box to be prepped on a rainy day when I have nothing better available. The actual abrasive blasting for this bug was done on a COMCO MB1000 using previously used (this is a little gentler than unused) 40 micron dolomite. This powder was sieved through a 325 mesh sieve and dried in an oven a 225 F. (just over 100 C.) for 30 minutes. As most of the matrix was removed using the German scribe only two of my smallest nozzles where used in this prep .015 and .010 (smallest I own). The prep for this was done under an Olympus zoom scope at between 10x and 20x magnification. At the conclusion of the prep no visible matrix remained on the fossil down to 20x magnification. End result a "Perfect Bug" , that ever so elusive beast that we all aspire to be blessed with. So what make the perfect bug (In my humble opinion) Flawless exoskeleton Nice positioning on matrix Prone with no undulations 100% Complete No toolmarks No burnthroughs or overblasted areas No glue, consolidants or coatings Symmetrical bug Zero twisting or distortion No repairs or restoration No coloration Provinence known So without any further delay (I know you are all waiting with baited breath to see what I call the perfect bug) Here is the bug that made my morning today. It measures 34mm from edge of pygidium to tip of the cephalons nose and is 20 mm at its widest point. It was excavated on Sunday July 8. 2018 out of a block (one of about 25)that Jim and me excavated at the north east end of the drainage ditch that runs below the section that was dug for the dig with the Experts weekend this year. Yes J. this is the spot you were excavating and having little luck with....... unfortunately thems the breaks.....
  10. fossil prep video

    I have watched this guy on Youtube for some time now. What I like about him is how laid back he is and how he makes do with what he has. He is from Yorkshire and mostly collects and preps ammonite fossils. Except for the droning of the air pen, (that's what the mute button is for, eh?) it is a pleasant video series to watch. Kind of like sitting in a chair next to him while he chats about what he does. Anyhow, if you are a beginner like me, it is instructive to watch. Walt
  11. What is worth prepping

    I am often asked by people "Is this worth prepping?" The answer often is that it all depends. There is no guarantee that an unprepped specimen will be complete or that it will even prep out nicely. Some specimens are just to thin skinned or flakey or there really is little actual fossil there (mostly cast). It is my experience that prepping most common fossils will not increase the value of a specimen by as much as the prep will cost. If an average eldredgeops from New York costs about $20 to $50 to have prepped, depending on mostly the size, is it really worth prepping it when you can buy one for say $35 to $50 that is already prepped. A lot of the people I prep for it is the "first" of a species or the first prone trilobite that they ever found. So it is the associated value to them that makes the fossil worth prepping. I recently prepped a ceraurus for a US customer that was the first ceraurus he/she had found and was in their opinion the best trilobite they had ever found. Here is a picture of how it looked unprepped as I received it. It was obvious to me that there was a missing left genal spine and that the pygidial spines would likely not be complete. I relayed this information to the owner along with a preparation cost estimate of $60 to $100 US depending on how the bug responded to preparation and what if any repairs were needed. So the question is would I have paid that amount to have a bug prepped that would not be museum quality pristine when it was completed. For me the answer is likely not because I have quite a few pristine ceraurus already and although this one looked to be large and highly inflated it probably would not end up with a place in my display cabinet. So for me the answer was not that hard to come to. Equally for the owner of this bug it was an easy decision as it was in their opinion likely the best specimen if not the only specimen they were likely ever to find themselves as this one had taken countless years of collecting to find. Here is the bug about an hour into prepping. Very little scribe work was done as there was very little bulk matrix. All prep work is done under an Olympus zoom scope at 10 to 20x magnification. The initial air abrasion was done on a Comco MB1000 at 50 to 60 PSI using 40 micron dolomite with a .025 nozzle. An interesting and unexpected surprise was to find the hypostome still attached to the bug.. Given this knowledge in advance I would likely have prepped this for myself if it was mine as I do not have a ceraurus with hypostome intact. Now here is the almost completed bug. Final prep was done with a .015 nozzle at 30 PSI with 40 micron dolomite. A few small minor repairs can be seen in white which still need to be colour matched to the fossil . These were not burn throughs from over abrasion but actual defects in the fossil that I felt repairing would enhance the final aesthetics of the specimen. Remember this is going into a collection of an older amateur collecting enthusiast that has not found a lot of trilobites in their life. Note how highly inflated the specimen is By the way that is the pygidial spines from another ceraurus in front of the lip of the big bug. Now I am probably breaking a Peppers secret society rule by disclosing the cost for the prep. There is very little information on the internet regarding actual costs for having a fossil prepared. We seem to be like magicians not wanting to disclose our trade secrets. People are often surprised by how much it actually costs to get a fossil prepped. By the time you take electricity, supplies and wear and tear on the equipment (not to mention the original investment in the equipment) Preparators are lucky to get a minimum wage. My hats off to those who eke out a living this way. So what did it actually cost....... $80 US plus shipping ....... What s the bug worth.... well priceless to the owner. So here's the question.... would you have paid to have this bug prepped knowing what the costs was going to be.. Now gotta get back to matching the colour on those white spots.... Hate doing that worst part of the whole prep
  12. Hi I'm new to this forum and the reason for joining is I have inherited part of my Grandpa's fossil collection. I have this small ammonite with some really nice detailing, which i would like to polish up and turn into a necklace so I can keep his "spirit" with me and plus I think it could look pretty cool. But I'm not sure how to go about this. Any Ideas?
  13. Hello all. I hope this is OK to ask... I was wondering if anyone would be generous enough to send me (Nathan) some "throw-away" matrix material or partially encased fossils so that I can attempt to prepare and document various methods for sandblasting them. We are currently trying to make improvements on our sandblasters for harder, more difficult matrix and I need samples for R&D. I would happily send this person the specimen back after it's been prepped if they would like and will give full credit in any publications we create using the sample. There would be videos showcasing the removal as well as lots of photos to share with the community during the process. Please feel free to DM me if you're interested in helping at all. Thank you! -Nathan
  14. Little prep....id ammonit

    Hi everyone, today i have finished preparing this little ammonit from Normandy. Does anyone know what ammonit is this? Before After
  15. Forgive me if I'm being impatient or repeating myself--I'm new to this site and forum. I tried posting this under Questions and Answers a while ago and haven't seen it appear yet--maybe there's an approval process that has to run its course before a post appears publicly. In case I just didn't get it entered correctly I'll try again under this heading, which I didn't see at first. ANYWAY . . . . Does anyone have experience removing iron stains from St. Clair, Pennsylvania plant fossils? The white mineral that provides the striking contrast with the slate is pyrophyllite, a silicate. As an avid mineral collector (sorry, not too knowledgeable about fossils, even though I grew up in eastern Iowa--I decided I couldn't be an expert on both and settled on minerals) I am familiar with using Iron Out, Waller's solution, oxalic acid, etc. to remove iron oxide stains from mineral specimens. Can iron oxide stains be removed (or at least lightened) on St. Clair fossils by soaking in one of those reagents? They shouldn't affect the pyrophyllite chemically, but I can see how removing the iron oxide could disrupt the coating physically. I do not intend to scrub them--I'm sure that would do more harm than good. Any other suggestions? Thanks!
  16. Preparation advise

    Looking for advise on a mosasaur jaw in sandstone. I’m wondering if I should do more prep to show more of the jaw still hidden in sandstone, the only problem is the jaw bone is fragmented. Any advise would help
  17. I found the following multiblock during a recent trip to the Wutach valley which I described here a few days ago. There appear to be at least 3 ammonites on the one side, although there could be more buried under the matrix. I didn't notice until after I had extricated the block that there is also one large one on the reverse side...not quite complete, but certainly worth exposing as well. Let's see what happens. Here are both sides of the block in the raw. The first thing to do then, was to have a go at removing as much matrix as possible with the air pen without getting quite down to the shells, in order to try to ascertain the position and size of the ammonites and also to see if there were any more in there. The next photos show how far I had gone before I decided that it was time to put the air abrader into action. There was a lot of broken shell material in there, but no more ammonites. There were also a few sticky spots and I didn't want to take the chance of breaking into a shell with the stylus. It turned out that the matrix on the side with the large ammonite was soft enough to be removed quickly, but there were a lot of spots where it was pretty tough on the other side. I did however manage to remove enough soft matrix to get a good idea of where the ammonites lay. With the exception of the one at the bottom left, since it fell into the matrix at a relatively acute angle, although I was getting the feeling more and more that this was just a partial. There was also a larger partial just above it which could be causing problems.
  18. Part 4 (from Washington)

    Ok, so here's where I've gotten to & this will bring you up to date with what I've accomplished so far. First, I used a couple of different small stiff brushes and a very low impact tool that is similar to a Dremel tool. I cleaned a sand type of dirt, that fell away without much effort, in places in & around on the surface. About half way through the cleaning the piece started to make noises as if cracking. I mixed up a tube of Duco cement with a six oz. bottle of acetone. I decide to apply it generously to areas I'd already cleaned. I believe it was a good move as the sound has stopped. Also, it feels more sound when I pick it up. After I had applied the solution, I left it under a uv light to dry.So what do you think so far?
  19. I have been wanting a Micro Jack for a while. If anyone has one that they don't use, I would be interested in buying or trading for it. If not I will probably order one from PaleoTools soon. Thanks!
  20. Hi everyone, Last year I went on a one day fossil hunting trip to the Champagne region in France with a fossil hunting buddy of mine. We went to the well known locality of Fleury-la-Riviere, where Lutetian (Eocene) rocks are outcropping on the hillsides above the vineyards. We had a really good day, with lots of cool finds, among others a small but very nice Campanile giganteum. It was a lot of work to extract this gastropod in one piece, but it worked out nicely.
  21. Here was a nice surprise. I picked up this fossil cluster of barnacles and noticed a nice layer of agate underneath! When I processed the photo I took of it, I saw that the light from my flash dispersed giving this rainbow effect. It's very small but now when I hold to the light I can see the little rainbows! I heard this process is called diffraction grating. I would like to polish the agate but I think the rainbows will go away once the material is flattened.
  22. Tortoise Display Stand

    After prepping the big Stylemys that I recovered in Nebraska this summer, it seemed a shame to have spent all that time on the plastron only to have it sitting on a shelf out of view. So today I welded together a stand for it. I wanted the part upon which the tortoise rests to have as small a footprint as possible, because my idea was to use a mirror or mirrors to make the plastron visible to observers. Of course the angle of the mirror will depend on the height of the shelf where the tortoise is displayed. At just below eye level, this set up works reasonably well. If positioned below eye-level, this set-up works well (showing even more of the plastron).
  23. My last time out I found a lot of shark teeth. They are all black. Can these be cleaned or are they just black? If they can be cleaned how does one go about cleaning them?
  24. Air abrasive on GRF Fish?

    I have heard of using an air abrasive for GRF fish, but haven't been able to find any pointers on how to do it. Is this a safe method of matrix removal? I have one slab I am working on now (first try on a fish) and have been thinking of getting some more 18 inch layer fish to prep if I can. I am guessing you would use bicarb versus dolomite. If you do use this method, any pointers on PSI, and overall technique, when to use, when not to use? So far I have just been very sporadically working on it with an Aro. Nathan
  25. Dust Masks

    So far the only prep tools that I have are different types of picks. Because of this there isn’t that much chalk dust being put into the air at one time. I currently wear surgical masks which are less restrictive than other dust masks but they seem to be ok for what I am doing. If at some point in the future I start using tools that generate more dust, such as air scribes, would these kinds of masks work or would I need more restrictive ones? What do you use? Thank you all very much for the help that I have received. I am just beginning to prep fossils and I am trying to learn as much as I can.
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