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Found 121 results

  1. 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
  2. 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.....
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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?
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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!
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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?
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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).
  16. 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?
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. Trilobite Preparation

    Hello everyone, I recently purchased an Ordovician Trilobite on a auction site. It really needs some preparation,and it would look so stunning. I am looking for a professional expert in fossil preparation who knows what he is doing, I would like it for him/her to be in Europe because outside Europe the shipping is very expensive... I would be shipping it to the preparator,he would prep it and then I would pay him whatever the shipping costs to ship it back to France.(With an additional little ammount to say thank you.) If you are interested,contact me by private message, and I will tell you all the detail you need. Really appreciate it and this prepped trilobite would look amazing in my collection. Thanks,Thomas
  20. Catching up on Texas Preps

    This thread is a saga of procrastination. First of all, many of these finds are months old. Second, this weekend's prep efforts have helped me continue to procrastinate on my kitchen remodeling efforts. Third, the time put into shooting photos and creating this thread is helping distance me still further from moving ahead on the kitchen. So...let's waste some time together. I found a few cool Pennsylvanian inverts last weekend in North Central Texas, and pushed their prep to the front of the line. I enjoy the matrix association pieces most, so let's have a look. First, Meekospira and Worthenia. Second and third, 2 views of maybe Glabrocingulum in the aperture of a Pharkodontus. Third, a cool little orthocone nautiloid resting in next to a Worthenia gastropod.
  21. Hello everyone, I've recently been put in charge of emptying a fossil collectors secondary collection (the non-prepped fossils he collected himself in the sixties and seventies). I found several plates hidden underneath a built-in aquarium inside a wall, see pictures attached. They seem to be flattened shale ammonites from Whitby, and they seem to be flaking. I guess because they were being used as a crutch to keep the aquarium in place. Is there any emergency prepping, maybe a coating of somesort I can do to keep these plates from flaking any further? Or maybe some tips to safely transport them? I've already moved crates full of smaller plates, but these are very large and unstable. I'm a hobbiest fossil hunter and I've never prepped a plate like this, so any help is welcome. I only have 6 days left to move and secure these plates in one piece. If not moved by then, they will be dumped in a thrash container :(. Thank you in advance!
  22. I just bought this fossil fish. I wanted to know if the "wide open" areas just under the dorsal fin and in the ribs are signs of breakage, or are they just under the matrix?
  23. Hello everyone, A geologist friend of mine roped me into his love of all things ancient, so here I am new to the fossils, and new to the Fossil Forum. I received my first Green River fish slab yesterday and spent most of the day on and off working off the layers with dental scaler that I've used for in the past for Roman coins. Must say that this matrix is much easier than the stuff encrusted to the coins! So far I'm pretty happy with the progress, but am looking for advice on how far to take this so that I don't overwork the piece. Here are a couple of photos of the progress. Note the series of three stages use lighting from the top to highlight the 3D effect of the specimen. The other photo uses light from the lower left to show a more natural visual look if you just look at it laying on the table. I believe I still have a lot of detail work taking off sediment between the bones and along the spine, etc. Any advice on around the head and eye socket, the border? How about surface finishing? If the slab is dampened, the fish stands out more, so would a mat clear coat of something be a reasonable finish, or should I leave it alone? I believe I read that a 20% solution of white glue in water might create a good effect. Any experience with that? Again, there seem to be many schools of thought. Thanks in advance for your help. Also, I believe this is a Knightia, but wouldn't mind confirmation from someone in the know. The fish is almost exactly 4" head to tail. Again, thanks.
  24. Cleaning a fish

    I got an unprepared fish fossil from my grandparents as an early Xmas present, and I've been working on cleaning it up. This is what I have after a few hours' work. I've been using the dental scraper pictured, mostly just trying to find the general outlines of the body so I can figure out what species this might be. Thing is, I'm a bit confused. The area above the cleaned area to the left is where the head is supposed to be, and you can see raised areas that seem to indicate the structure of a skull, but I'm finding what looks like skin way past that. I also don't seem to have any ribs yet. What's going on? Could the skin somehow have come loose and been moved?
  25. I have a batch of fossils, mostly small gastropods, from the Waco shale pit. Most of them look pyritized to some degree, so I want to treat them to be sure they don't fall apart. Thing is, they're really small- most under 1cm, some as small as 1mm square, and one ammonite that's something like 3mm across. My original plan was to soak them in Iron Out overnight, wash them with dish soap and a toothbrush, and then coat them in butvar. Is this still the best way to go? Should I soak them for less time since they're so tiny? And any tips on bushing butvar onto such tiny fossils?