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My longest Ammo prep to date.


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My customer/friend, let's just call him X. for now, brought me another large ammonite which he had recently pryed up for prep. He got this one out in 3 pieces, 2 of which he glued back together. The ammonite itself has a diameter of 30cm. Here's what I was faced with to begin with (Well almost. I took the pics after I had started in with the stylus.) The 1st pic shows them side by side, the 2nd in original position and the 3rd the reverse side.

 

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S. first had the wish that I remove it completely from the matrix, but I wasn't so sure about the chances of success there. For one thing, there were a lot of cavities in the phragmocone, and due to the hardness of the matrix, there was a good chance of breakage under way.

There was also a heckuva lot of matrix above and below the fossil, so I knew that this was going to take a loooong time, even with the strong jack stylus. I decided to get started with the larger block and set aside the smaller one for the time being. After a few hours of plugging away with the air pen, it also became obvious that there was no proper separating layer between matrix and fossil, which made for even more time consumption and finesse. Here's how both sides looked at that point.

 

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I then decided that it was time to swap over to the air abrader, since I wasn't quite certain how the lay of the land was. There were a lot of oysters and tube worms clinging to the shell which made it difficult in some places to make a judgement as to where the ammonite shell actually started. As you can see in the next two photos, I continued on with the stylus after the abrading was done.

 

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2nd pic in next post.

 

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Now that I'd worked my way more or less all around the ammonite, thereby ascertaining the position of the venter and inner whorls, it was at this point that I decided to get to work on the smaller piece. This turned out to be quite tricky, as I was expecting, since the shell was quite thin at places, and try as I may, a few pieces broke off on the way which I had to glue back on. Here's how it looked at that stage with the smaller block just layed into place, since it wasn't quite time to glue it back.

 

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Then I went back to abrading both pieces. There are always a few hours between these photos by the way because of the toughness of the matrix. Here's the front showing the shell finally.

 

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I then decided to get in touch with X., since there was still a looooot of matrix to get rid of which would have made for exhorbitant costs for him. So I asked him to get out his trusty angle grinder and trim off as much as he could. You can't really see it in the photos below, but he managed to remove 5-10 cm. thickness from both sides, which made for a big difference. We also decided that we would have just one good side and keep some matrix on the back, since the danger of damaging the ammonite while removing it from there was now becoming obvious.

 

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It's also becoming obvious to you that there's a bit of modelling and filling to do at the end. The next step was done with the stylus, removing the rest of the matrix, which of course also involved a few hours work. I also carved out the very inner whorls.

 

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Then it was back to the air abrader. After the abrading was done, I glued the 2 pieces together.

 

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And then on to the modelling and filling. I use a product called Apoxie Sculpt for this purpose.

 

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I use the white version for ammonites from this site, since it's better for matching the colors, but first I brush on some stone meal from the matrix while the Apoxie is still wet.

 

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2nd photo again in the next post.

 

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After scrubbing off the excess stonemeal after the Apoxie has set, I finally get out my watercolors and try my best to match the colors and then finish off with Rember, a beeswax product.

 

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So there we have it. A Pseudoshirbuirnia oechslei from the ovale zone, Early Bajocian, Middle Jurassic Wedelsandstein Formation from the Wutach area in southwestern Germany. Total prep time 29 hours. X. is needless to say very happy with this one, since it's one of the best samples of this relatively rare species found from this site.

 

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I am just in awe that you could extract such a fine specimen from what looked to me to be an impossible mess. 

 

Don

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1 minute ago, FossilDAWG said:

I am just in awe that you could extract such a fine specimen from what looked to me to be an impossible mess. 

 

Don

To be quite honest, I was thinking the same thing myself at first :P

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Great job and absolutely fascinating to see how you got there.

Thank you. :)

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Unbelievably epic! Given what you started with I'd never have expected such a fine result. Mad skills there. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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1 hour ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

Great job and absolutely fascinating to see how you got there.

Thank you. :)

 

1 hour ago, digit said:

Unbelievably epic! Given what you started with I'd never have expected such a fine result. Mad skills there. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Thank you gentlemen :tiphat:

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Brett Breakin' Rocks

Skilled hands and a wonderful result ... always worth the wait on these prep threads. Great work !

 

Cheers,

Brett

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3 hours ago, Darbi said:

@Ludwigia, well! Looks like you just did the impossible! I'm impressed with the result.

 

3 hours ago, Brett Breakin' Rocks said:

Skilled hands and a wonderful result ... always worth the wait on these prep threads. Great work !

 

Cheers,

Brett

Thanks guys :)

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Hard to believe anybody would want to pick up such a worn specimen let alone hope to prepare it into something so good-looking. Pure magic

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What ridiculously good work! Like the others, I never saw the end result coming. Your prep, sculpting, and paint work are impressive Roger! 

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Fossildude19

True artistry and skill on display in this thread. 
This is the product of years of careful experience and experimentation, to create art from some broken rocks! 

Well done, good sir!  :tiphat:

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Wow Roger, you are indeed a master craftsman! :default_faint:

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In my book, you are now known as AAPWD.   Thats stands for Amazing Ammonite Preparator Whisperer Dude!!! 

 

RB

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23 hours ago, RuMert said:

Hard to believe anybody would want to pick up such a worn specimen let alone hope to prepare it into something so good-looking. Pure magic

X. is presently at the forefront of a very small handful of collectors who systematically collect these zones in the Early Bajocian at a specific site in the area where the layers are extremely hard and tough to extricate. Most collectors shy away from them. His last dig went on several days a week over 3 months. The fossils, mostly ammonites, are seldom and rarely well-preserved, so when he finds one, even though it may not be perfect, it's worth keeping. The finds from these collectors have often been the subject of paleontological papers and serve to expand on the knowledge on these layers, since they make acribic notes of the exact horizon where they have been found. So now you can understand why we did this, as we have done with others in the past and shall continue on into the future.

 

21 hours ago, FossilNerd said:

What ridiculously good work! Like the others, I never saw the end result coming. Your prep, sculpting, and paint work are impressive Roger! 

 

21 hours ago, Fossildude19 said:

True artistry and skill on display in this thread. 
This is the product of years of careful experience and experimentation, to create art from some broken rocks! 

Well done, good sir!  :tiphat:

 

20 hours ago, Ptychodus04 said:

Wow Roger, you are indeed a master craftsman! :default_faint:

 

20 hours ago, RJB said:

In my book, you are now known as AAPWD.   Thats stands for Amazing Ammonite Preparator Whisperer Dude!!! 

 

RB

Aw shucks, you guys. These comments are really an honor coming from you :egypt:

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Djeeezzz, and i’m thinking im dealing with a difficult prep here.....not so much seeing this. Thanx for the restoration tips. Dropping “ steinmehl”  on  glued sections has worked for me. Next step would be dropping it on wet apoxie sculpt. Very helpfull...

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8 hours ago, Everhardus said:

Djeeezzz, and i’m thinking im dealing with a difficult prep here.....not so much seeing this. Thanx for the restoration tips. Dropping “ steinmehl”  on  glued sections has worked for me. Next step would be dropping it on wet apoxie sculpt. Very helpfull...

Yes, it does make a noticeable difference.

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