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Found 68 results

  1. Being a member of the forum for 7 great years now, I have seen plenty of questions from beginners asking how to prep their finds. And this was something I struggled with at the beginning myself. As a result, I have brought together some of MY techniques of basic fossil preparation in a picture heavy presentation. Each fossil shown required less than 4 minutes to prep. It works well for me with the type of rock that I pick up. My old techniques will probably make more advanced members cringe!!! But remember, we all have to start somewhere. So let us begin with items that are probably already found in your home . We will need some matrix to work on. All pieces of matrix in the bucket have a hint of a fossil showing. From experience, I have found that removing most of the matrix out on a hunt results in disaster. Improper tools, hasty removal, pieces fly and drop onto the rocks below, no glue. Trim pieces down to a reasonable size but do the finesse work at home. VICE: I knew the vice would make some of you scream NO!!!! I heard @Malcolmt for sure!!! The vice is usually used for breaking off larger chunks of matrix . Always begin AWAY from the fossil and as matrix is removed, move towards it. Microfractures will occur in the matrix as one progresses closer to the fossil. Something that you can "feel". At this point the heavy duty equipment can be put away and use more delicate utensils. When applying pressure to the matrix, do so SLOWLY. Often you will feel the rock break BEFORE cracks are seen. Stop and assess the situation before proceeding. Look at the pieces of matrix removed as they can reveal unseen fossils that are worthy of collection. If an unforeseen fracture occurs through the fossil, CAREFULLY remove the pieces from the vice. This is why superglue is pictured in the tools needed for preparation. HAMMER: It is used with a chisel or a drywall screw but can be utilized alone. If such is the case, I have had the best luck tapping the matrix on the backside. Give gentile taps over the surface of the matrix trying to find weaknesses in the rock. As with the vice, you often feel the weakness before the break. This allows inspection of the fossil, making sure the matrix doesn't split through the fossil. On layered matrix, Tap on the sides of the specimen, not on the top or bottom. This will allow splitting of the sample in a bedding plane, as seen below. CHISEL: Chisels seem to be most effective in very hard matrix or softer layered stone. Place the chisel on a bedding plane NEXT TO the fossil. If the chisel touches a fossil, a imperfection will likely be produced. Unfortunately, sometimes this can't be helped. As with the vice and hammer, start with gentle taps, slowly increasing in force until success is had.
  2. Using a GPS to mark finds?

    I am considering the purchase of a handheld GPS unit to mark the location of my finds in the field. Is this something that any of you are doing? Your thoughts and recommendations are invited!! THANKS! Dave
  3. This has come up a bit around the forums lately, and with the shopping holidays just around the corner, I figure it is a good time to open up this can of worms! Well that and I am buying up equipment for my new earth sciences students to use, so might as well dig two trilobites with one hammer... But first, a few disclaimers: I will use brand names for some items. This is not an endorsement, but a statement on quality/price/durability, etc. With tools, not all manufacturers are the same. Why buy junk ten times, when you can buy the pro-grade once the first time? Also: Everyone has their personal preferences and different sites require different tools for the job. (Example: I bet I'm the only one that carries a "emergency pack" that can keep me alive for 72 hours in most situations for a fossil hunt and I think the paleo pick makes a better automotive tool.) There is a certain amount of opinion, personal preference, and experience involved in getting the right tools for the job Last: I am not going to talk about backcountry and general outdoors safety in detail (for the most part). I am not going to discuss your local laws and such unless my tool suggestions might get you into trouble. There would be too much to cover. This is mostly about tools. This guide is intended for those new to the hobby, not those of us that sweat trilobites and poo T-rex teeth. Next up is SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY. Thou shalt not be Mike Rowe (Mr. Safety Third) Please refer to this excellent thread on how to use rock tools safely: Fossil Hunting Field Tools for Beginners: The Basics- All you really need is eyes and hands for most fossil hunting trips. A bag, satchel, or pack is handy to put your finds in. A pocket knife and a couple of old screwdrivers are handy too. Dressing for the climate and weather is also very important. Prepare for insects ahead of time. In snake and scorpion country, wear the proper gear. Know the law before you go. Never ever ever go out alone. It is dangerous and boring to do so. Always let other folks, not on the excursion, know where you are going. Write a schedule/itinerary and leave it with someone you trust with your life. Stick to said itinerary without exception. Leave the solo excursions to us anti-social nihilists. Use maps and learn how to use a compass. Smartphone based apps will get you lost and dead. Period. GPS units are OK if they are designed for backcountry use. Automotive "GPS" is no better than smartphone apps...and will get you lost and dead. And don't think you thousand dollar backcountry GPS with Iridium Satellite subscription is going to save you...they are only good till the batteries die... and, in my experience, 99% of users do not know how to use such gadgets properly. Really smart beginners hook up with the local fossil/rockhounding club and limit their first few excursions to those with the club in order to learn from the more experienced. No website or book can do that. In my opinion, channel your internal Indiana Jones, and wear a wide brimmed hat. Look the part and keep the sun from scorching you to death. In addition to the above, the most important bits of gear these days for beginners is a smartphone (or other camera) and a tape measure for those finds you can't take with you. A camera and tape is also handy to collect information about where you found it and in what member of what formation to help with later identification. Bonus points for turning location data on on your smartphone camera so that the location data of your finds is imbedded. Why carry a notebook when you have a computer in your pocket anyway? For folks in the United States: Buy a tape measure that has both imperial and metric units on it. Paleontologists, geologists and all other scientists use metric measures. If you need help identifying something from photos later on, a metric scale is crucial. Also, you won't have to do arithmetic with fractions out in the field or try to remember which mark is 32nds and which mark is 64ths. While I learned how to think in metric decades ago, I use this exact tape measure in the field: Please take notes about your finds. Where are you? What Formation? What Member? What other rocks and fossils where around where you found it? What is the date and time? All of this stuff can help the pros help you later on if need be. Finally, use the right tools for the job. A geology pick is not needed on a sandy beach. A shovel does you no real good in a shale quarry. A big bucket can be more useful than a back pack. Think before you pack, in other words. Enough of that. Now that we have covered the first tool (your brain and how to use it) let us discuss the actual tools! Hammers- There are three basic types you will need, depending on what and where you are fossil hunting. rarely will you need all three at the same time, but it is a good idea to have them in the car, just in case. #1 Geologist's Pick These are the industry standard for a reason. There are two basic styles, the modern and the traditional. Both are available in a variety of weights and sizes. I prefer the modern 22 ounce (about 624g) size for general use. If you carry a lot of gear, or have small hands, you will want the smaller weights. If you are going to be swinging for long periods, the long handle version will benefit you. Keep in mind that there are size limits on the tools you can use. In the US on public lands in particular, you are better off keeping the 22oz and skipping the bigger stuff. Also, do not make the mistake I made in Arizona a decade back and have these tools out and visible in driving compartment of your vehicle. Some law enforcement folks consider this stuff "weapons" and they can make a simple tail-light out become a real fiasco... Keep your tools in the trunk or toolbox, or in a backpack or such to prevent headaches. #2 Mason's Hammer This is basically the same thing as the geologist's pick, save that it has a chisel head rather than a pointy head. These are best for you shale splitters, though like the pick, it is also a handy tool for moving around soft stuff. Again, I call out the Estwing here. My granddaddy, the life-long union bricklayer stated "If it ain't no Estwing, yinze jus' wastin' yinze money." That review was good enough for me. Also, one gets what one pays for. I tried to be cool and buy the cheaper stuff and...well...this brand is worth every penny. I have a box of broken, damaged, and useless albeit cheaper tools to prove it. #3 Breakers, Smashers, and Kabonkers (the scientific terminology) I'm lumping these all together as they all serve the same purpose: Smashing stuff or driving a chisel. Personally, I prefer a ball peen, a deadblow, and/or a sculptor's mallet, but this depends on the rock I plan on breaking. DO NOT USE CLAW HAMMERS OR THE ABOVE SPECIALTY HAMMERS TO DRIVE CHISELS! They are not designed for metal to metal strikes and are a surefire way to get access to the glass eye/can't get through airport security club. Plus, the lack of depth perception makes later fossil trips a bit more difficult. I prefer the mini-sledge for smashing open stuff. I prefer a sculptor's mallet for driving chisels. I prefer a deadblow for all my other kabonking needs. These can be had on the cheap. These images are the exact ones I use, a reverse image search can direct you to a source. Next: Loved by pros, oft ignored by newbies.... The paint brush. Yup. Same one you would use to paint your kitchen or bedroom. Again, there is a range of personal preferences here, but in the field I carry a couple of cheap, disposable chip brushes and a synthetic angle brush (AKA a sash brush by painters) depending on where I am headed. If weight is an issue, I take chip brushes. Sash Brush Chip Brushes Next up are chisels. Safest bet is Masonry chisels, followed up by Stonecutter's chisels. You can get by with "cold" chisels for fieldwork, and many folks do, but they are designed for metal work and will not withstand rockhounding as their purpose made counterparts will. You will need to take along a file to keep cold chisels sharp. Most non-specialty masory chisels are no more expensive than their metalworking counterparts. Pictured are the exact masonry and stonecutter chisels I use. There are also specialty chisels available for splitting shale. They are a necessity for anyone into such work. They are made from hardened tool steel. They are thin, sharp, and precise. Another is called the "gad pry" and is invaluable for quarry for work and the like. It is a bit heavy though, and only the Estwing is rated for stone work. It gives you all the benefits of a chisel and crowbar in one tool. Next up is Digging Tools First and foremost: If you are new to the hobby, know before you go. On US public lands and many other places, most sites are "surface collecting with minimal disturbance only", meaning, it is a violation of the law to dig. For general fossil hunts, I quit carrying around entrenching tools, folding shovels and the like years ago. They are heavy and I almost never needed them. However sometimes one needs to move a bit of soil, and I prefer the "hori-hori" also known as the garden knife. There are lots of them on the market, but only one meets my standards: The A.M. Leonard Deluxe. They sell these as "stainless steel" but they are not. They are Italian INCONEL steel, and will surface rust/patina a bit if not properly maintained. However, I can tuck this guy in my boot or belt, and when used with a geology pick, I rarely need anything else. I use the version that does not have the useless gator serration edge. This is not a sharp knife, it is a digging tool. The serrated edge is handy for cutting weeds and roots in the garden but merely a pain in the gluteus maximus for rockhounding. (sometimes literally) Other popular digging tools for fossil hunters: The classic entrenching tool, also called a council pick: The classic military folding shovel, often (mistakenly) called an trench tool by The Estwing Paleo Pick is also popular* civilians and a latrine tool by military veterans. *Please note that the paleo pick is illegal in many public fossil hunting areas in the USA as it is bigger than the size standards set by law. As of 2020, it appears Estwing has shortened the handle to bring it into compliance, but to be frank, I find this tool to be too heavy and too bulky to carry all day and it doesn't do anything my geo pick and hori-hori can't do. I keep mine in my car in the winter for snow emergencies these days. The last Item I'll discuss are sieves. Apparently, Sifting for micro and macro fossils has become popular in the last decade or so. Sifting isn't just for paleontologists and lonely kids in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do anymore! It is hard to suggest sieves to beginners. Different sizes are needed for different locations. The most basic is just a few sections of "hardware cloth" in various sizes. This is also sold simply as "wire mesh". It is cheap and you can cut it however you like with scissors. When I was a barefoot farm kid back in the 70s and 80s, I would use a can opener to remove the bottoms of coffee and soup cans and duct tape sections of hardware cloth over the hole. Now one has a combination scoop and sieve for use in lose soil, beaches, and such. Depending on where you live, you can get this product in metric sizes too. This stuff is just galvanized mild steel, so it will rust after a while due to abrasion. You can get other sizes in brass and stainless steel and even copper, but they will cost you. The best way to use this stuff is start big and work down to small. I won't go into detail as the interwebs are full of how to videos for the techniques you can find on your own. These days, I splurged a bit a bought a cheap set of sieves made specifically for the earth sciences. Thanks again to the interwebs, you can get very nice sets for really very little money. I use eight mesh size version of this exact set: It can be had for as little as 30USD if you search a bit. Many vendors sell them for three times that...so it is worth the extra effort to find the affordable ones. They are all made by the same overseas manufacturer and feature stainless steel mesh and ABS plastic. They also nest into a pack friendly stack. They are very light weight and a big improvement over my garbage bag full of duct taped coffee cans... If you have money to burn or live in mining country, you can find professional sieves at thrift and antique stores, industrial auctions, etc. . I don't recommend these to beginners as they are heavy and have sharp edges, but they are beautiful to look at and can provide bragging rights. A brand new set of these will set you back at least a few hundred USD. Used ones can be had in mining country for just a buck or two a piece. So, there you have it, an sensory overload of goodies to use in the field. Just remember, all you really need is your eyes, hands, and a bit of common sense, but as with many hobbies, the more you get into it, the more you want the right stuff. Good hunting.
  4. A guide to manual prep tools

    I threw together a guide to manual prep tools for one of my students who is interested in trying her hand at some peck and scratch work on fossils. Figure I'd share a version of it with yinze. (mildly edited to comply with forum regs) Manual Prep Tools- Earth Sciences Basic "starter tools" You probably have some stuff around your home already that will work for basic prep- large sewing needles, various nails and screws, and even old drill bits. Basically, if it is sharp and pointy, you can probably remove some rock! Hardened nails, like blued finish nails and masonry nails can be fashioned into finer points with a bit of grinder work. See also: Pin Vise (below) Another option is hobby knives, like an Exacto as there are tones of different disposable blades and hooks and such for them. Personally, I rarely use them for fossils as I tend to break off the fine points and need my blades for my models and such, however, if you got 'em, try 'em! Automotive gasket picks/o-ring picks Pros: Cheap and easy to get- any auction site or automotive parts store has them. ranges from cheap to moderately expensive. Available with thin, pencil like grips and heavy screwdriver like grips Cons: You get what you pay for, the cheap ones tend to be softer steel and prone to bending and breaking. Be ready to re-sharpen tips regularly. Lousy for hard matrix and may leave marks that rust later on. Dental Tools: Pros: Fairly easy to get consumer grade versions online. Range from cheap to pricey. Extremely fine points, but way require occasional sharpening. Cheaper ones tend to bend easily on rock. Cons: Real medical grade stainless steel dental picks (the best ones) may be illegal in some places as they are medical equipment and not intended for consumers. The best ones can cost a lot. Also very sharp and easy to stab yourself with... Dissection Probes (stainless steel) Pros: Affordable and relatively easy to buy online. Heavy stainless steel versions cost more, but have a variety of tip types you cannot get elsewhere that are very useful. Easy to resharpen and maintain. The blunt probes can easily be ground into chisel tips and quad points. Awesome for soft matrix. The spear point type are so useful! Cons: The cheapest ones are no better than gasket picks and are soft and prone to bending. Also, very sharp and easy to stab yourself with... Industrial tungsten carbide (tool steel) scribes Pros: A personal favorite for hard matrix and fine detail work. CHEAP. Large variety of styles from a pointy stick, to a retractable pen. Tips can be replaced and are cheap. Cons: Do not strike these with a tapper or hammer- the tip will shatter. Chisels: Pros: Excellent for removing big chunks. Good for small stuff too if you know what you are doing. Great for the field and the bench. Best ones are acquired through art supply stores. Cons: Buy carbide tipped chisels designed for stonework...many cold chisels are designed only for use on mild steel or masonry and are virtually useless for stone due to softer steel used. Heavy and you gonna need a variety of hammers. Also...expensive....but you get what you pay for. Specialty Chisels: There are special tool steel thin chisels designed for splitting shale. If you are a splitter and don't have a few of these, you are doin' it wrong! Pros: Specifically designed for splitting fossiliferous shale. Cons: Can be hard to source. Side note: You can make your own if you have access to a grinder and some "blue" spring steel. General Purpose Hammers: DO NOT USE A CLAW HAMMER. I say again, DO NOT USE A CLAW HAMMER. They are not designed or made to withstand meta on metal impact (like a chisel head). There are tonnes of brands and types, but a good quality ball peen and a few mini sledges will treat you right. Personally, I prefer the "deadblow" style, but wood handle and all steel are good too as you can get really small weights. Mallets: Trust me, having a mallet is really handy. Deadblows are my preferred (pictured above), but I also use a sculptors mallet...which once you learn how to use, will likely be the only hammer you ever use during prep. Don't laugh, but if you need to really wail on something, a bowling pin is awesome. Paint Brushes/chip brushes/wire brushes: Artist paint brushes are useful for all sorts of things, from removing dust to picking up small bits. I use a mix of synthetic and natural bristles Chip brushes are super cheap to the point of being disposable, but don't last very long if used wet. Also, 100% recyclable. a clay sculpting "feather" brush Pin Vise: This is a handy little item for holding, well, pins. For your purposes this can be regular sewing needles, large gauge needles, sharpened nails, etc. DO NOT over tighten the chuck. It will jam and ruin your tool. An Exacto type knife handle can double as a pin vise by changing out the chuck jaws with rotary (dremel) tool chuck jaws. Pros: Inexpensive and Easy to get most anywhere. However as with most tools, you get what you pay for. Often sold with tiny drill bits which are handy for lots of things. Cons: Thou shalt not over tighten thine chuck! Cheaper models have soft aluminum or brass ferrules which can be prone to breakage and thread stripping if over tightened. cheap version expensive version...designed for fine scale modelers...notice the chuck and ferrule are steel and nickle plate, rather than aluminum. Scratch Brushes also known as Wire Brushes including sculpture brushes: Cheap, easy to get, various types available anywhere! You will find lots of uses for these. (Also, old tooth brushes are handy...the kind without the rubber stuff in the bristles!) Pros: Many! Cons: Be careful! Brushes with steel bristles can rust and stain your specimen---stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and nylon are safer if you have humidity around! So, there is a brief overview of basic hand prep tools. Field tools and powered tools are an entirely different subject discussed well in other threads.
  5. Sumake ST-909 air scribe

    So, I just got a "open box" Sumake ST-909 air scribe for 70% off from one of my vendors. It's shipping container and plastic storage box were crushed in transit, and the air line was damaged, but easily replaced. Was curious if any of you are familiar with this this one. I have never heard of them and a quick gander at the Warrior Woman site shows it to be one of the less expensive models on the market. A bit of web stalking and it looks to be a China-based firm that works with Lacme out of France and Shanghai for their pneumatics and compressors. (Odd, I seem to remember Lacme making really good electric fence products...) Anyway, it is a cheapo, probably throw away tool, but I plan to use it to practice my techniques before I get around to tearing up my expensive scribes.
  6. I came across this .pdf guide for the proper and improper use of tools. I thought others may find it useful. We don’t use all these tools in fossil collecting, but some sections seem pertinent, specifically the section on hammers. There is also advice about crowbars, chisels, screwdrivers, and punches, which find their way into my collecting gear from time to time. This is one companies take on how to properly use their tools (and keep them out of trouble), so your mileage may vary, but it seems a good general document on the dos and don’ts of tool use. https://www.ampcosafetytools.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/chart.pdf ToolUse.pdf
  7. Well gang, a month or so and 1500$ USD later, I have upgraded/replaced, and modernized my prep lab. (pictures to follow once the new flooring and dust collector is delivered and installed) Between all the prep I need to do for my hobbies, my job, my degree, and many many vintage VW parts, plus an overall need for new toys when the budget allows... Well, that and my dissertation is coming up next year and I have to get my display ready for that... I managed to finagle some really good deals on scratch and dent, factory returns, and industrial auctions so I got about 5+ grand worth of equipment really, really cheap. (All those years slaving away in factories fixing other people's junk finally paid off!) Anyway, I purchased a slightly used bench top Cyclone Manufacturing media blast cabinet (retail around 300, got it for 50 as the hinges and lid seal were shot and the air inlet valve needed replaced so put 25$ into it). Looking for suggestions for appropriate media to use in with fossil/artifact prep. I'm used to only working with metals for welding repairs and such, not sure if there is a specific media type for rock and stone. Winter is coming and I have years worth of specimens to play with while the weather is awful! If you have a preferred media, nozzle, outlet size, please let me know, I'd like to try it out! To go with it, I installed an Ingersol-Rand 80 gallon 240 volt compressor with a "blown" motor (200$ at auction, 15$ for replacement brushes and a new rotor bearing and a 2$ replacement relay- retails new for around 2 grand) in my garage and then plumbed a feed line and manifold up to my work room. Now I can run my all of my Volkswagen tools in the garage and art and fossil prep stuff upstairs without having to wait for the tank to recharge every 15 minutes. At the same auction, I got them to throw in an Extract-All variable speed collector for free, which I modified to work as both a bench top collector and some rather clever if I do say so myself adapter system for my various woodworking and fossil prep tools. They retail for around 2 grand. Found that the set screws on the squirrel cage were stripped, so retapped them and and did some fill and polish on the shaft to get it working. Set up an old shop-vac as an intermediate for the bigger chunks and flakes. I already owned a number of different air tools, but added a used Fossil Shack air scribe from a certain auction site to my so-old-I-cant-get parts and so-battered-they-do-more-harm-than-good Chicagos. I haven't tried it out yet, but the claim of no more cold fingers lured me in. I suspect I may finally get my Cowboy Pass finds suitable for display... I was also able to get a used dental drill rig with all the goodies from a scientific/medical auction, so I am going to be teaching my self the techniques for really fine control of that toy. That was the most expensive part of all the deals and a knee-jerk purchase at 450$, but I figure it will come in handy for some of the stuff I have to prep in the harder matrixes. I am also converting the water cooling jets over to compressed air cooling venturis as I'm pretty sure the "patients" aren't feeling anything... I was also able to get a new motor for my vacuum pump, and a modern table vibrator for under 200$ as I have dozens of display/teaching casts to make for the Uni (I am also a sculptor/model builder and can finally do limited edition repops of the stuff that sells real well...Warhammer 40k Chaos tanks and weird biologically textured display stuff the art folks are willing to pay far too much for).
  8. Cold Weather Handwear

    Hello Gang, I'm in the market for some serious cold weather overgloves. I wear Arc'teryx Merino wool 'gothic" liners which I wear under standard Mechanix for a general chill or while hammering and digging. I also have some Oakley Trigger 2 hybrid over shells and some Outdoor Research Southback over mitts that I use for the hikes to work and between sites. However the Oakleys are useless on windy days below 0C, and the Southbacks are only good down to about -10C. Neither is very water resistant. I'm in need of some overgloves or mittens that are water resistant and windproof and goon down around -20 to -30C, preferrably with a zippered access for getting the fingers out without having to don and doff all the time. Any suggestions much appreciated. (I have a cold weather, higher altitude trip in the near future, hence the questions!)
  9. Sizing Compressor for Prep Lab

    Looking for some assistance and guidance. I have spent countless hours reading posts about fossil preparation and specifically about fish prep. The knowledge shared here is humbling to say the least. So here goes: If your end goal is to be able to do all the things necessary for 18" layer Green River material, split fish Green River material, Hell Creek material; how big of a compressor should I start thinking is overkill? The smallest capacity I've considered is 20 gallons, the largest 80. I'm just wondering what people are using in terms of capacity and if I'm better off going bigger for future growth of my needs, or for example a 27 gallon is all that I would ever need running 1 tool at a time. I very much appreciate any input!
  10. So I’m just in a bit of a quandary about which scribe to get, as many have been before me. I’ve worked in the local vert. Paleontology lab at the museum as a lab tech and have mainly been using the chicago pneumatic scribes(CP9361-1) as a general tool for removing matrix. However when it comes to working from home I was wondering if perhaps there was something more out there. I have looked up both the Zoicpalaeotech ( ZPT-TR) and the Hardy Winkler (HR-65&HR70). Both look like great tools. I especially like the fact that the ZPT-TR has both course and fine stylus. Would like to know if anyone has done a comparison of the different types/brands and how they stack up against each other?
  11. ME-9100 lost power

    Hi everyone, Hi have an ME-9100 and I’ve had years with no problems. Yesterday I took off the sleeve and cleaned everything and the only difference to my routine was that I directly put oil in where the piston is. now I can get it to start, but there’s no power, seems like the stroke length is almost zero and the stylus is barely vibrating. I took it all apart, including taking the tool off the hose and removing the pin and checking the piston, but it back together. Had slightly more power for a few seconds. But now the same problem. Any ideas? Thanks!
  12. Aloha! Planning a short trip to California before I move further away, I was always fascinated by fossils. Are there any dig sites in California that rent out tools? I would love to find a trilobite or ammonite! Any tips would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!
  13. Fossil hunting tools

    I am always interested in hearing about (and seeing photos of) tools used for fossil hunting. I have used all sorts and I currently received a new device for underwater viewing. It is called a Bathyscope.
  14. Possible tool marks?

    Found on a sandbar with other bison bones in the Kansas river. my question is are these tool marks, they don’t look like normal fractures or fracture points for this bone.
  15. Can anyone confirm if it is fine to use the hammer end of my Estwing Geological pick for striking a small cold chisel when fossil hunting - or is it just for striking rocks/ It actually stipulates that the pick end is for prying only (which is fine) but the that hammer end is only for wooden stakes! Is this an overkill by Estwing to manage their H&S liability or is it common knowledge that you canuse the hammer on cold chisels? Any advice gratefully appreciated! Cheers - Rick
  16. Where do you guys buy your prep supplies? I've looked on line and have mixed feelings about some of the places that do offer this kind of stuff. I'm sure people here have their favorite sellers who won't rip a rookie like me off. Thanks!!!!
  17. Prep intro for a beginner

    Ive always enjoyed fossil hunting in local areas however I've never done any prep. work at all to specimes I've brought home. I've two practice pieces singled out to experiment with. (If it goes horribly wrong nothing lost) One a random chunk of lias clay with some bivalves and the other one a little ammonite just peaking out of another lump of jurassic lias clay. The matrix isn't particularly soft or hard with either. I have no appropriate tools in my possession however I'm willing to buy some basic things which are necessary. Any advice would be appreciated.
  18. Carbide tips for Chicago 9361

    Hey just a quick question so I've been hunting around and it seems like an air scribe is the way to go I found a brand new Chicago 9361 used and picked it up it has lots of carbide chisels and engraving tips but it has nothing with a really sharp tip. Where do you find tips for these? That are more geared for fossil prep? I typically dont grab a tool before I know how to use it but it was 75$ from somone clearing out a shop and it had never been used. Also I'm in Canada if that makes much of a difference for retailers?
  19. Any suggestions on used stereo microscopes? Lens power? Depth of field? Lighting? Cost? Boom assembly? DIY? Thanks
  20. Christmas Gifts

    Here are a couple things that I received from my wife and son for Christmas. A couple nice heavy duty packs- one from 5.11 and the other one from Milwaukee brand. A pair of Blackhawk knee pads. And a few nice new Estwing tools.
  21. Whiskey Bridge tools?

    What should I bring for optimal fossil-hunting? I'd love to find a pocket with some shark teeth, and I'm hoping for (though not expecting) a concretion with something fun inside. I'd like to do a little sifting as well, I think. I'm going to have 2 brothers with me who I suspect would just like to dig for interesting things. I have some of those gold panning sifters, which I plan to bring. I'm also going to bring a couple of trowels, a bucket to put tempting chunks of matrix in for later, and a hammer and small chisel. Add in my tiny crowbar (it's about a foot long, but sturdy), and some fishhook cases and pill bottles for small items, and that sounds like a good setup. Is there any point in bringing a large-mesh fish net to kind of trawl in the water itself, see if I can dredge out some things that have been washed down into it, or am I better off just digging on land?
  22. 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.
  23. Well needed upgrade

    Finally got the well needed upgrade from the original rock pick my dad picked up at an antique store: We had to jam a washer between the shaft and the head of the antique one because it kept shifting up when we would hit harder rocks haha! The new one does seem somewhat short though, not sure if the original is just very long or.... -Em
  24. GMR! Here I come!

    Howdy all! I'm super excited about this and I'm looking for expertise and knowledge from all of you! I'm working in Chapel Hill, NC next week and I've paved out a day to FINALLY visit GMR!!! I'm a total noob to this area and what to expect. I've been doing research but I would humbly ask you all about your experiences, local knowledge, where to park (safely), points of entry, tools to bring (i have an good idea), areas to avoid, concerns, etc... I'm doing this alone unfortunately but that also adds to the adventure! I still haven't found my meg yet and it will be sometime before I'm able to get back out to Brownies Beach or Calvert any time soon... SO! I'm really eager to make this visit a great work out and to find some awesome treasures to share with my little boys! I wish they were old enough to come with me!
  25. Preparation Machinery

    Hello fossil people of the world! I'm desperately looking for an old Paleotools microjack. It doesn't have to be in working condition, but if it is that's a bonus! Anyone out there have an old secondhand one or one they are no longer using? I'm ideally trying to find a 3, but any size will do. I have borrowed a 3 but need to return really soon. So hoping someone out there has a secondhand one to sell! Or any ideas of where a used one can be purchased? I do very fine work on ribs and finger bones like on the picture I've attached, so the larger scribes are a bit too hardcore!
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